Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Why Aren't They Part of Your Supplement Line?
What are Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
Glucosamine, an amino sugar produced by the body, is found in bones, cartilage, intervertebral discs, and around the joints. The body uses it to produce chemicals that are required to generate tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the concentrated fluid found around joints.
Chondroitin, on the other hand, is a constituent of the human connective tissue. A complex carbohydrate that helps the cartilage retain water to keep it spongy and healthy. Chondroitin, also known as glycosaminoglycan (GAG), exists in the form of chondroitin sulfate in our body.
How Did Glucosamine Become Synonymous with Bone and Joint Health?
Glucosamine and chondroitin play an important role in the production of cartilage and are therefore used together as supplements and alternative remedies to protect against health conditions such as osteoarthritis.
During the 1900's it was put forth that since glucosamine is a precursor to GAG, its dosage would support bone and joint health - since GAG is one of the major components found in the cartilage.
The publication of a book titled ‘‘The Arthritis Cure’’ by Theodosakis in 1997 resulted in heightened public interest in glucosamine and chondroitin. This, compounded by optimistic media coverage, led to a hype which labeled it a magical new treatment.
Inevitably, this also led to numerous studies which criticized the hype. The result is that one has to wade through a sea of information to make an informed opinion on glucosamine and chondroitin.
How Can Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements Support Bone and Joint Health?
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and about 27 million adults in the United States suffer from it. It is a common, heterogeneous, and poorly understood age-related physical disability in older people, and in which glucosamine chondroitin shows positive effect:
- Delays the onset of bone and joint health-related ailments: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements protect the joint cartilage and have been shown to delay the onset of osteoarthritis. Pain and functional impairment resulting from symptomatic osteoarthritis also see relief with chondroitin.
- Helps with pain management: Chondroitin interferes with the progression of structural changes in joints and helps osteoarthritis patients with pain management.
- Metabolism: Chondroitin has a positive effect on the metabolism of different cell lines concerned with osteoarthritis.
- Science-backed results: A daily glucosamine dosage of 800-1500 mg can offer joint pain relief within 4-8 weeks.
- Protects and maintains cartilage: Chondroitin helps glucosamine protect the joints by creating a flexible matrix between the connective tissue and the protein filaments of cartilage, which prevents enzymes from damaging the cartilage.
- Nutritional support for health: Used to help manage rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.
- Increases hyaluronic acid: Glucosamine and chondroitin and been shown to increase the production of hyaluronic acid, an essential component of the synovial fluid, which studies have shown lubricates the joints.
- Swelling and pain relief: Chondroitin supplements are known to decrease pain and swelling in the joints.
- Shock absorption: These supplements help maintain the nourishing fluid within the joint cartilage, which provides nutrients and absorbs shock.
Glucosamine for Anti-Inflammation
Research shows that glucosamine exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting activation of neutrophils, chondrocytes, and synoviocytes.
Weight Management with Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
Weight management is inadvertently connected to joint pain. Every pound of excess weight that’s shed takes four pounds of pressure off the knees. Studies reveal that glucosamine negatively influences fat metabolism. So, it can be said that glucosamine and chondroitin can help with weight management.
Studies also reveal that glucosamine inhibits the growth of fat cells, helping in the prevention of fat accumulation.
Glucosamine mitigates obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired glucose tolerance in a high-fat diet. And, it improves body weight gain and insulin response in a normal diet.
Additional Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
- Essential for ligaments and tendons: Chondroitin blends with proteins to make proteoglycans, essential for ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
- Natural Repair Process: Glucosamine and chondroitin enhance the natural repair process of the body.
The Current Trend, Market Opportunities & Future Growth Predictions for Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
According to Grand View Research, the global glucosamine market is expected to reach $757 million by 2022. The growth predictions relate to:
- The growing occurrence of arthritis
- Rising obesity and the related health issues
- The rising geriatric population
- The rise in sedentary working lifestyle, that triggers bone and joint problems
- The expanding demand for bone and joint supplements and pain management solutions
- More science-backed studies that prove glucosamine & chondroitin’s value as pain management solutions
- The increasing demand for vegetarian glucosamine, considered safer for consumption
Stringent regulations by various federal agencies like U.S. FDA, about the components of dietary supplements and food products, make it critical for brand owners and manufacturers to stay within the compliance boundaries, as far as the raw material sources, processes, packaging, labeling, etc. are concerned.
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