Know the risks of Glucosamine
Dr. Phil Maffetone - www.mafgroup.com
A recent study showing a positive association with reduced knee pain and glucosamine will likely cause many more athletes to seek out this supplement. However, they should be aware this popular remedy is not without risks.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that 88 percent of subjects with regular knee pain, which may be caused by prior cartilage injury and/or osteoarthritis, experienced pain relief and improved function after taking glucosamine. It's important to note however that these subjects were given a dose of 2,000 mg and that the majority of improvements were seen after eight weeks - that's a high dose over a relatively long period of time.
Before anyone decides to take glucosamine it should be taken into consideration that this supplement is also accompanied by significant risk of side effects, including increased carbohydrate intolerance (i.e., insulin resistance) and reduced energy production.
Glucosamine can impair insulin receptors on the cell, making the cell less responsive to insulin. This in turn can reduce the production of energy and directly and rapidly reduce the generation of ATP by the cells. In addition, some studies show that glucosamine can interfere with normal blood flow into muscles.
Before considering glucosamine supplementation, athletes should assess whether their problem might be related to overtraining, as discussed on this website and in my book, Training for . Likewise, they should also rule out inflammation, as also discussed on this website and in Eating for .
If your body needs those sulfur-containing compounds that are contained in glusosamine, this supplement may be very beneficial for your joints. However, you can also get sulfer compounds without the risk of side effects from certain foods, including egg yolks, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and the trio of garlic, onions, and the spice turmeric. In addition to sulfur, there are many other nutrients just as important for joints; included among them are vitamins B6, B12, folate, , and the minerals magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Another popular supplement for joint pain relief is chondroitin sulfate. Some helpful compounds found in this substance can also be found in real chicken soup made by boiling the bones and cartilage. Another potentially therapeutic food is a sugar-free gelatin dessert made by adding fruit juice and real fruit instead of water and sugar to plain gelatin.