Does glucosamine help in improving joint health?

I just bought a bottle of vegetarian glucosamine a few days ago as I heard my knee joints pop during fast knee extensions. I remembered I was prescribed glucosamine sulphate by a specialist in NUS when I had a mild knee joint injury about 10 years ago. The debate is does glucosamine really help in joint health? I wouldn’t trust any salesperson in the supplement store definitely, so no point asking them. But if a specialist prescribe glucosamine, while it is shown in so many internet sites included Wikipedia that there are still no conclusive studies (that’s why it is considered a supplement, rather than a medicine), does the specialist know anything at all?

The next question is: What is glucosamine and where does it come from naturally?

From Wikipedia, “Glucosamine (C6H13NO5) is an amino sugar and a prominent precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is part of the structure of the polysaccharides chitosan and chitin, which compose the exoskeletons of crustaceans and other arthropods, cell walls in fungi and many higher organisms. Glucosamine is one of the most abundant monosaccharides.[1] It is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons or, less commonly by fermentation of a grain such as corn or wheat.[2]

Other definitions:

  • Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.
  • Glucosamine sulfate is a normal component of glycoaminoglycans in the matrix of cartilage and in synovial fluid.
  • Glucosamine supplements are manufactured in a laboratory from chitin, a substance found in the shells of shrimp, crab, lobster, and other sea creatures.

So instead of taking supplements, why not just eat the shells? Too hard to bite? Anyway, we have HCl in our stomach.

Not for those who are allergic to shellfish and not for vegetarian though.

Then, what about the source of vegetarian glucosamine?

Eat the fungi? or can we manufacture glucosamine from corn? I dunno. Is this a scam by the large corn producing companies in US?

 

Well, one of the way to know is to try it. See if there is any improvement in the joint after 1 bottle.