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Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in tendons, ligaments, cartilage, synovial fluid, mucous membranes, structures in the eye, blood vessels, and heart valves.

Glucosamine stops or slows the progression of osteoarthritis probably by inhibiting protein N-glycosylation and cytokine-stimulated production of mediators of inflammation and cartilage degradation. Taking glucosamine significantly improves symptoms of pain (~40%) and functionality (~40%) in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee in studies lasting up to 3 years Glucosamine will help the hip and spine as well. Glucosamine may not work well in severe osteoarthritis, especially in older and heavier patients.

For osteoarthritis, the typical dose is 1500 mg once daily or in 3 divided doses. For temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteoarthritis, 500 mg 3 times daily has been used. Glucosamine at 1500mg daily is comparable in efficacy to 1200mg daily ibuprofen or 3000mg acetaminophen.

Side effects: Nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, drowsiness.

Diabetes: Clinical research in people with type 2 diabetes suggests glucosamine doesn't affect blood glucose or lipid levels in 3 years.

Asthmas: Glucosamine might exacerbate asthma by an unidentified allergic mechanism. Use cautiously in patients with asthma.

INR: High-dose glucosamine (3000 mg per day), combined with high-dose chondroitin sulfate (2400 mg per day) may increase INR and bleeding in patients on warfarin