Give Glucosamine Sulfate Another Look
Approximately 30 years ago, Glucosamine Sulfate (also referred to as GLS) became the mainstream supplement for arthritis. When it first started showing up in health stores, it was one of the most sought-after supplements. It continued to gain in popularity but as years went by, other supplements began to take its place. However, glucosamine wasn’t actually discovered 30 years ago, it was first discovered in the 1960s by a pharmacologist that specializes in osteoarthritis.
Today, glucosamine can still be found in supplements for joint health, usually in combination with other supplements such as Chondroitin, MSM and Curcumin. But it has also started to emerge as a supplement for heart health. To see the connection, you need to better understand what glucosamine is and how it works in the body. Glucosamine is a polysaccharide that naturally occurs in joint tissues, skin, nails, bones and ligaments. The fluid that occupies the space in your joints is called “synovial fluid,” and glucosamine is found there as well. You may better associate GLS with its support for building cartilage. Cartilage is that flexible, connective tissue that functions as the padding at the end of your bones where your joints meet. As you age, your body’s glucosamine levels start to fall, your cartilage becomes less flexible and your synovial fluid is not as fluid, which all leads to the break down of joints. The evidence-based benefits of GLS for joint health is all over the map, with some research speaking favourably about the product, while others are inconclusive or flat out unfavourable. Some common threads in the research is the belief that naturally occurring sulphur found in GLS is the key to joint health because sulphur must be present in cartilage to maintain and repair it. GLS also helps to build hyaluronic acid levels. You may recognize this as a skin supplement, but it provides strength and elasticity to your joints and ligaments as well as your skin. The other common conception recognized in studies is that GLS helps to reduce inflammation, which results in the reduction of pain. This is the reason GLS is still used today as a natural remedy for arthritis conditions.
GLS beyond Joint Relief
So how does all of this relate to heart health? A new study in the British Medical Journal has reignited interest in GLS and heart disease, specifically Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is considered a chronic inflammatory disease, and GLS provides anti-inflammatory results, which protects your heart by enhancing the repair of damaged tissue and reducing inflammation. The results of the new studies were all based on long-term use of GLS. There is still more research needed and GLS will not eliminate your risk for heart disease. It is a factor to consider and a new way to look at Glucosamine
supplements, not only as a means to support healthy joints but also to reduce overall inflammation. You can still find GLS in a stand-alone supplement. Natural Factors Flexible Glucosamine is made with shellfish and potassium rather than sodium, which is a better option for people that are on a restrictive sodium diet and for those with heart disease and high blood pressure. GLS, as a stand-alone supplement, is a good choice if you want to take a preventative approach to joint health with the added benefits of heart and skin health. If you are suffering from joint conditions, consider a combination product such as Natural Factors Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate. When glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates are combined, they provide double action support to relieve the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis symptoms. Glucosamine sulphate is used to make the cartilage needed for repairing joints, while chondroitin actively fights the enzymes that breakdown joint tissue. Natural Factors MSM & Glucosamine Sulfate provides the same benefits relative to GLS but MSM helps maintain the nutrients and fluid within joints that allows for smooth and cushioned movement. If you have an allergy to shellfish, you must take a GLS supplement that is not made from shellfish. There are other options. The only significant drug interaction with GLS supplements reported is with blood thinners. However, there are some reported contraindications with people who have glaucoma (increased eye pressure) or uncontrolled diabetes.
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