If you are one of the millions of people who suffer with a ‘bad back’, you must first obtain an accurate diagnosis from your chosen practitioner. Your pain may be the result of injury, arthritis, or simply due to the ageing process, whereby joint function may become impaired when cartilage begins to break down.
The discs in our spine contain fibro cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber between the vertebrae, preventing impact damage and providing structure, support, lubrication, flexibility and pain free movement.
In maintaining healthy cartilage, the body uses glucosamine. A naturally occurring substance, it is produced by the body from the reaction of a sugar (glucose) and an amino acid glutamine. If cartilage is breaking down or is damaged, glucosamine plays a vital role in rebuilding and restoring it and in fact becomes a major constituent of it. This suggests that supplementing the body with glucosamine may have many benefits. However, it must be emphasized that if cartilage has completely broken down and is suffering a ‘bone on bone’ syndrome, glucosamine may not be of much benefit to that specific area of the body.
For many people, glucosamine may alleviate the need for anti-inflammatory drugs and help improve the symptoms of arthritis, inflammation, restricted movement, swelling and pain.
Commercially it is available primarily as a sulphate and as a hydrochloride. There has been much debate as to which form is most effective. Studies have shown that both effectively deliver glucosamine to joint cartilage. However, there has been more clinical testing on glucosamine sulphate than hydrochloride. Based on clinical trials, the recommended daily allowance is between 1500 mg and 2000mg. It may take up to 3 months before you notice any change in symptoms because the rebuilding of cartilage is a slow process. However studies have indicated that improvement in mobility and pain relief may occur within 4 to 6 weeks.
There are no known side effects in taking glucosamine. However, if you are a diabetic and you are concerned about the glucose element, consult your doctor and /or monitor your blood sugar level daily.
WARNING: Glucosamine is derived from seafood and is not recommended for people with any kind of shellfish allergy. Also not recommended during pregnancy or breast feeding.