What Is Glucosamine Powder?

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  • Written By: B. Chisholm
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Glucosamine powder is a complementary medicine most often used in patients with osteoarthritis, especially of the knee. It may be used alone but is often used in combination with chondroitin and MSM. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance normally found in the cartilage. Glucosamine powder can be bought in most countries over-the-counter in pharmacies or health stores and is known by different trade names, according to the manufacturer. When buying complementary products, it is advisable to buy from a reputable company.

Osteoarthritis is a common clinical condition which usually only develops in people over the age of 50. It causes inflammation in the tissue around the joints, damages cartilage and causes bony growths around the joints, making movement of the joints difficult and often painful. The disease is usually progressive and differs from person to person. People experience different levels of symptoms and restriction of movement.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis although non-drug measures such as gentle exercise and physiotherapy may decrease symptoms. Weight loss is also often recommended as part of the treatment plan for osteoarthritis. Medical treatment is purely symptomatic and may include analgesics and anti-inflammatories and, in some severe cases, surgery may be recommended.


While the exact mechanism of action of glucosamine powder has not yet been established, it is thought to help stimulate repair and formation of cartilage. Glycoaminoglycans form part of the synovial fluid and cartilage. Glucosamine is a constituent of glycoaminoglycans. By taking supplemental glucosamine powder these processes are thought to be enhanced. Patients using glucosamine powder may be able to lower the dose of their pain medication, or stop completely.

As with any medication, glucosamine powder may be contraindicated in some people with other clinical conditions. It may also interact with other medications, including prescription, over-the-counter, homeopathic and complementary medicines. All of these factors should be discussed with the doctor or pharmacist before starting therapy with glucosamine.

The use of glucosamine powder may result in some unwanted side effects. The most commonly reported adverse effects include nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and headache. Should the side effects be severe, the medication should be stopped and medical advice sought. The affects if using glucosamine during pregnancy and while breastfeeding has not been studied. As with all medication, glucosamine powder should be kept in a safely locked place, out of reach of children.



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