Does Glucosamine Work for Knee Pain?

Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally present in the body that plays a vital role in building cartilage, connective tissue, and other body structures [R] [R].

Glucosamine is recommended by the European League Against Rheumatism as an osteoarthritis supplement because it promotes joint strength and lubrication to provide an easier movement. Osteoarthritis is the top-ranking joint condition in the older population [R].

Glucosamine boosts the production of compounds that are responsible for connective tissue repair and acts as a precursor of larger elastic molecules that pass into the joints, ligaments, and skin [R].

Glucosamine builds essential complex molecules called glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid, that make our skin, ligaments, and joints strong and elastic [R] [R] [R].

In 2003, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that glucosamine cream relieved knee pain in 63 patients with osteoarthritis. The camphor and chondroitin components of the cream may have also contributed to the pain relief [R].

Meta-analyses of over 50 clinical trials and over 3,000 individuals show a variety of results. According to these comprehensive reviews, glucosamine was more effective in alleviating knee pain than the placebo, but it was not able to relieve joint stiffness and improve joint movement [R] [R] [R].

In clinical trials, glucosamine supplements do not show any major adverse reactions. However, for some people, it can cause digestive problems, such as heartburn, nausea, bloating, and diarrhea [R] [R] [R].

We strongly advise you to have regular check-ups with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least once every six months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplements for long-term.

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