Glucosamine is not a drug, as many may assume, but in fact a dietary supplement. For this reason glucosamine is presumed to be a safer method of treatment than the COX-2 inhibitors or NSAIDS that can be found in medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin. This is because the latter variants have enough toxicity to cause adverse effects over the course of time. This compound is also naturally found in the human body. Formed from the combination of glucose and the amino acid glutamine, this compound glucosamine is required by the body to produce the compound glycosaminoglycan. This specific compound contributes to the repair and cell-building process of cartilage and other bone-tissues. Therefore glucosamine is a dietary supplement for patients of osteoarthritis and such.
However, many studies suggest that glucosamine comes with side effects. Among short term side effects, the victim may experience headache, drowsiness, insomnia, abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, nausea, chest pain, constipation and diarrhea. Certain cases also bear evidence of hypertension. While these effects are considered short term, the side effects like hypertension can cause severe health hazards, which would require a doctor’s advice.
In many cases, glucosamine has also been proven a health hazard to patients of shellfish allergies. The glucosamine is made using carbohydrate substance called Chitin found in shellfish. However the allergic reactions almost always occur due to the presence of shellfish proteins and antigens, which are usually removed during the manufacturing process. Remnants will cause allergies; therefore a doctor’s consultation is advised on choosing brands and names.
Some cases also verify a worsened state of blood sugar and insulin levels. This is especially true for diabetic patients who intake glucosamine doses for the treatment of osteoarthritis. The fluctuations can also extend to the levels of hemoglobin A1c, which is a measure of the extent of control of blood sugar levels during a three month period of the past. However unlike many misconceptions, Glucosamine is a carbohydrate which cannot directly form glucose, thus the fluctuations in blood sugar level is caused due to other reasons- not from increased glucose levels. Therefore the diabetic patient should always be under the surveillance of a doctor while on a program of glucosamine intake.
Glucosamine has also been proven detrimental for victims of bleeding disorders because it makes the risk factors of bleeding more pronounced. This is also applicable for patients who are undergoing routines of intake of anti clotting and anti platelet medications such as clopidogrel, ticlid and warfarin. Other dietary supplements too, raise the risk of bleeding. These include substances like garlic, ginkgo, vitamin E and red clover. In all these case a physician’s supervision is recommended.
Glucosamine is a rather unpredictable factor when it comes to pregnant women. There is no fool-proof verification of the effects of glucosamine on the developing fetus; thereby the safety can be put into question.
Many cases have shown that an overdose of glucosamine causes problems regarding side effects even in those patients who react completely normally to this supplement. These side-effects consist of gastric and digestive complaints and complications. Such cases reported the occurrence of softened stool production, diarrhea, loss of appetite and nausea. For many cautionary safety reasons regarding doses, it is always best to intake glucosamine mixed with fluids, rather than with meals.
Glucosamine, when taken under safe conditions, is a perfectly healthy, reliable and effective dietary supplement. Medications like ibuprofen and aspirin, which contain COX-2 inhibitors and NSAIDS are not only toxic, but is actually not even a cure for pain. These substances simply eliminate the feeling of pain, which returns once the effect of the drugs wear off.