What is the purpose of glucosamine?


Quick Answer

Glucosamine helps to build cartilage, which cushions the space between joints, explains Medical News Today. It is found in the bone and marrow of animals and fungi. Glucosamine in the form of glucosamine sulfate is derived from shellfish or created in a lab and made into supplements.

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Full Answer

Because of its role in building cartilage, glucosamine sulfate supplements are often taken by people who suffer from arthritis, notes Medical News Today. The pain of arthritis is caused by the cartilage between the joints wearing down. Glucosamine can also come in the form of N-acetyl-glucosamine and glucosamine hydrochloride. Experts support the use of glucosamine sulfate for relieving osteoarthritis, as the sulfur in the molecule is needed to create cartilage, according to Mayo Clinic.

Glucosamine supplements also help cartilage retain water and lubricate the joints, states the Arthritis Foundation. Most people take 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine per day. It may take about a month for the user to see results.

Some people also take glucosamine with chondroitin, a substance derived from cartilage, explains Mayo Clinic. This combination may help reduce the need for pain killers such as NSAIDs. There is also some evidence glucosamine is helpful in easing skin disorders such as psoriasis and in preventing migraine headaches. Glucosamine may also play a part in healing wounds.

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