Glucosamine, often in a combination with chondroitin sulfate and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), is a popular over-the-counter supplement for joint pain. Glucosamine is a precursor to key components in the cartilage, therefore helps to maintain the integrity of joint cartilage. Numerous studies have documented the efficacy of glucosamine in the treatment of Osteoarthritis. Several studies also show that glucosamine is superior to ibuprofen in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
However, if you have inflammatory arthritis caused by autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, glucosamine won’t be an effective treatment. Inflammatory arthritis is inflammation in the joint caused by abnormal immune activities. This is very different from the degenerative process that contributes osteoarthritis. The goal of treatment for inflammatory arthritis is to regulate the immune system and decrease the inflammation. Please check out my website for more in-depth discussion on treatment of autoimmune diseases. I would encourage you to consult with me if you are not sure what is causing your joint pain and whether glucosamine is appropriate for you.
One last word of caution with glucosamine, the most common source of glucosamine is the shell of shellfish. If you are allergic to shellfish, you should be looking for glucosamine made from vegetable sources.