There's an increasing demand for glucosamine — a supplement that has contributed to alleviating joint pain and strengthening cartilage. Researchers are now predicting that the demand for the supplement is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2022. That demand has been attributed to a growing number of Americans who are dealing with arthritis, and other related conditions. Here are some things that consumers should know about glucosamine:
- The human body naturally makes glucosamine, which helps create the molecules that form cartilage.
- Some studies indicate that glucosamine can be effective in treating osteoarthritis, which typically occurs when cartilage breaks down as a result of injury or normal wear and tear.
- Studies also show that glucosamine sulfate can be effective in treating knee osteoarthritis by strengthening cartilage.
- When used to treat osteoarthritis, glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin, which comes from cartilage.
- The use of glucosamine, in combination with chondroitin, can help reduce the need for other drug treatments, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs).
- In addition to treating osteoarthritis, glucosamine has shown promise (in research) for treating inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers.
- Glucosamine is not found in major food sources, so many people take it in the form of supplements. These supplements are generally made from chitin, which can be found in the outer shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimp. However, some forms are available for people with food allergies to shellfish.