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Glucosamine and chondroitin - researched?

  1. Jun 18, 2005 #1

    Ouabache

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    I read Astronuc's note and also recall hearing glucosamine is supposed to be a building block of bone joint cartilage and chondroitin is supposed to reduce the normal degradation of cartilage. I wonder if these claims have been scientifically proven? Or are they just another snake oil treatment.

    If they are both ingested (pill form), how do they arrive at the point of need (bone joints)? Wouldn't molecules of their size be broken down? If they do make it into the circulatory system, are they in sufficient concentration to be of benefit? :uhh:
     
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  3. Jun 18, 2005 #2

    iansmith

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    Pubmed is always a good source of research information

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15846645&query_hl=4


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15641100&query_hl=6
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14960396&query_hl=8
     
  4. Jun 18, 2005 #3

    brewnog

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    I can't give a scientific evaluation, but I'm definitely a sceptic when it comes to 'snake oil' treatments.

    I took glucosamine and chondroitin supplements a few years ago when I had horrific knees (physio suspected a touch of OA), and rode mountain bikes a lot. It definitely reduced the pain after having taken them (relatively high doses, I recall) for a few months. Whether or not this was coincidence, or some kind of placebo effect going on I don't know (or care). The pain was definitely reduced, to the point where after about 6 months, I was able to go skiing for a fortnight with no pain whatsoever, something which would not have been possible previously.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2005 #4
    I would not take glucosamine.

    Boosting glucosamine will screw up cell signaling. I used to do research in this area (effects of N-acetylglucosamine on cell signaling related to diabetes and cancer).

    Also, we have observed that the kidneys of animals fed glucosamine become screwed up.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2005 #5

    Ouabache

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    Thanks iansmith for mentioning PubMed.
    They do have some compelling research on both compounds. :rolleyes:

    They say there was no appreciable joint-space loss (where cartilage resides) after three years, in those taking glucosamine compared to those on placebo (who lost of 0.31 mm). ref1
    Here's another that look at long term clinical studies (minimun 1 year) with benefits of glucosamine ref2
    This study point's to beneficial effects of chondroitin; including reducing inflammation, increasing viscosity of synovial liquid (lubrication between bone joints) ref3
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
  7. Jun 20, 2005 #6
    Is MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) somehow related to glucosamine and chondroitin? Because manufacturer claims on improving OA seem similar..
     
  8. Jun 20, 2005 #7

    Ouabache

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    brewnog, you've had some great results using both supplements.
    I have two family members who also report positive results (reduction of joint pain, increased range of motion). When I packpack on steep trails, especially downhill, I invariably will feel pain in the knees. They say shock-absorbing hiking sticks are helpful in transferring the weight off the knees. I will try that and also do my own clinical trial with these supplements.

    Perhaps there are some others who can describe their experiences.

    quetzalcoatl9, i'll bear in mind your thoughts on adverse effects of n-acetyl glucosamine. But that is a different molecule compared with glucosamine-HCl or glucosamine-sulfate. As I recall from mycology and entomology; the n-acetylated form is also a building block of chitin, synthesized in the cell walls of fungi and exoskeletons of insects and shellfish. So n-acetylglucosamine is rather ubiquitous.

    ref
     
  9. Jun 20, 2005 #8

    Ouabache

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    It is a different molecule but as you found, but is also taken for treating pain associated with OA. Here is a page giving an overview of all three.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2005 #9
    glucosamine will increase flux through the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, thereby boosting levels of the n-acetylglucosamine protein modification. this has significant effects on cell signaling. we did our work on human brain cells.

    here is a good review article:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14568619&query_hl=1

    Hart could possibly win a nobel prize for this work. This modification is an intense area of study now.

    Some of the older researchers stopped taking their glucosamine supplements after seeing the effects of treating our cell cultures with glucosamine, and also after seeing the kidneys turn to mush upon surgery of animals being fed glucosamine.

    so, whatever floats your boat, just thought i'd toss this out there. just because it's ubiquitous doesn't mean it's harmless.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
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