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How effective is glucosamine for arthritis?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, information regarding the effectiveness of glucosamine is conflicting, according to WebMD. While previous studies have shown that glucosamine has a positive effect on osteoarthritis pain, more recent studies have shown no such benefit, either in pain reduction or in slowing the loss of cartilage.

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Full Answer

Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound found in the body, states WebMD. It is one of the two basic building blocks of cartilage, along with chondroitin. Some believe that taking supplements with these two chemicals not only relieves arthritis pain, but also encourages the body to produce more cartilage.

The supplements are available at a number of pharmacies and do not require a prescription, according to WebMD. Both glucosamine and chondroitin appear to be safe and well-tolerated. However, as of 2015, there have been no studies done on any long-term effects the chemicals have, if any. If one wishes to start taking the supplements, it is important to first speak to a doctor. Many physicians issue a trial period of use for about three months. After which, if there has been no improvement, the patient is advised to stop taking it.

Side effects with glucosamine were generally mild and similar to the side effects reported by people taking a placebo, states WebMD. Common side effects reported include heartburn, upset stomach, drowsiness and headache.

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