The intense joint pain in arthritis could be treated naturally with certain dietary supplements. Sold under various brand names, dietary supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin and methyl sulfonylmethane (MSM) are touted to be the best supplements for healing symptoms of arthritis and preventing destruction of the affected joints.
Glucosamine is a popular dietary supplement used for treating arthritis. This is an amino sugar, made from glucose and amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body. It is required for the production of a molecule, known as glycosaminoglycan, a molecule that repairs damaged cartilages. As we age, glucosamine production gradually ceases, resulting in accelerating destruction of the cartilages in the joints. Intake of glucosamine supplements helps to build the glucosamine reserve in the body. In nature, the shells of crustaceans are rich sources of glucosamine. Glucosamine supplements are largely available in the form of glucosamine sulfate. For best results, glucosamine is blended with chondroitin.
Just like glucosamine, chondroitin is also present in the human body. By shielding the cartilages from destructive enzymes, chondroitin prevents cartilage damage. It restores the health of the cartilages by absorbing water and fluid into the cartilages. Chondroitin supplements are believed to prevent breakdown of cartilages in arthritis-ridden joints. Moreover, chondroitin along with glucosamine could stimulate production of cartilage cells.
Methyl sulfonylmethane or MSM promotes formation of cartilages. It is an important component in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body. MSM supplements can alleviate joint inflammation.
Side effects of arthritis supplements
The glucose component in glucosamine supplements could push up your blood sugar level. Although, this dietary supplement is safe for non-diabetics, diabetics should consult their physician before taking glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements might interfere with anticoagulant medications. People taking blood-thinning drugs should ask for their physicians’ advice before taking these supplements. Arthritis supplements extracted from shellfish should be avoided by people prone to shellfish allergy.
Pregnant and lactating women and children should stay away from dietary supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements might cause diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and heartburn. MSM supplements are usually safe. Nonetheless, rarely they can cause skin rash, diarrhea, fatigue and headache.