Supplements Made Simple - Glucosamine

What is it - and does a runner need it?

Posted: 5 June 2000
by Liz Applegate

This is adapted from the book, Eat Smart, Play Hard, by RW USA Nutrition Editor Liz Applegate.

Glucosamine is an amino acid sugar that acts as the structural component of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Chondroitin is a component of cartilage. According to the manufacturers’ claims, when taken together, these two supplements protect joints and tendons and relieve osteoarthritis pain.

In the past few years, orthopedists and other physicians have increasingly advised patients to take both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to ease the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition caused by overuse, traumatic injury, or old age. One of the hallmarks of osteoarthritis is an erosion of the cartilage that cushions your joints. Chondrocytes – the cells in your joints that make cartilage – need glucosamine to function optimally. According to several studies, about 1,500 milligrams each of supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin daily helps soothe pain, possibly by stimulating cartilage growth. Animal studies also suggest that supplemental glucosamine may speed the repair of injured joints.

Glucosamine also helps produce substances in ligaments, tendons, and joint fluids called glycoproteins, so it may speed healing in those areas as well. Research has yet to test that theory, however.

My recommendation: Consult your physician if you want to give glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate a try. Few studies have looked at the safety of this supplement. In one small study, a group of people with diabetes who took glucosamine experienced lower insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, so if you have diabetes, I strongly urge you to talk with your doctor before taking this supplement. These pills come with a hefty price tag, and you may have to take them three times a day. If you decide to take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, take 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of each per day.

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Chondroitin, Glucosamine

Discuss this article

I have been organising the Goody bags for the Marlow Half Marathon, and have come across a company who agreed to give away a bottle of Glucosamine Sulphate and Omega three fish oils if the runners pay the postage and packing.
They then went on to say that they would give the same deal to anyone who rings them on 0870 8877043 between 9.00am to 9.00 pm(m-f) Sat 10.00am to 4pm. Quote the following Product code #1300. ID 312226 and media code CP4A
Postage and packing is £5.85
I have used the product as I tend to be injury prone around the knees and have found it to be very good.

Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:01

PS they will also send a copy of the Cambridge Institute for health report on Glucosamine and fish oil
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:05

Sounds a lot of money for postage and packing. Then again I was born cynical
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:24

you can get them cheaper than that in Holland & Barretts' sale.
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:29

They'll also include a can of spam - absolutely free!
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:44

Spam. Great. Now that's a real bargain
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 21:59

Spam fritters
Briught up on those at school
Posted: 02/11/2002 at 22:59

I just brought them up at school...

Have to agree - the P&P is exhorbitant, I can go down the road and get a bottle for that price!
Posted: 03/11/2002 at 11:18

you could run down the road:)
Posted: 03/11/2002 at 11:19

Caustic comments about this glucosamine nonsense notwithstanding, I must say that the Marlow Half goody bag is well worth having: a quality T-shirt, lollipop, Mars Bar, pen, Compeed blister, Adidas shower gel, an apple, probably forgotten something as well. Given I paid seven or eight quid to enter, I'm impressed.

A (virtual) round of applause from me to the Marlow Striders. Cheers, chaps! See you next year.
Posted: 03/11/2002 at 14:46

Glad you like the goody bags Muttley, its very pleasing to get feedback like this. I'LL pass on your comments. We had 1,178 runners this year our biggest ever field.

With regard to the other comments all I will say is.
"The bitter taste of poor quality lingers far longer than the sweetness of low price"

I have no axe to grind other than the company were generous enough to make the offer....why not give it a go

Posted: 03/11/2002 at 16:04

Made some enquiries about price of Postage etc..... The product comes in from the USA so thats why the p&p is the price it is.
Posted: 03/11/2002 at 16:07

A friend of mine who has sufferd a heart attack recently has been told by his rehab clinic not to take glucosomine due to the fact that it raises the blood presure,and increases the suger be awear and check with your G.p.before taking any supplements.
Posted: 04/11/2002 at 08:26

ooh sounds a great goody bag
Well don to all who ran
Posted: 04/11/2002 at 21:38

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