Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM─In a Nutshell
By now, chances are you’ve heard of this powerful trio, which has been shown to help promote healthy muscles, joints and ligaments. Did you ever wonder how they work and when they might benefit you? If so, this may help:
Glucosamine operates as a precursor in the synthesis of certain proteins and lipids which are components of healthy cartilage. Over time, as cartilage wears down, your body works to repair it–but this process is hindered by low glucosamine levels. Taking glucosamine can help repair damaged cartilage by augmenting the body’s existing supply. In fact, glucosamine is one of the most common non–vitamin/non-mineral dietary supplements used by adults in the U.S.1
Chondroitin is a component of connective tissue in our joints, cartilage and bones, which helps enhance collagen function and protect against cartilage break down. According to the Arthritis Foundation, chondroitin provides natural building blocks for growth, repair and maintenance of cartilage, and also helps to keep joints lubricated. It appears that–when combined with glucosamine–chondroitin may have "moderate to large effects" in helping to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.2
Methyl sulphynol methane (MSM) is a natural sulphur compound which may improve joint flexibility while minimizing arthritis–related pain. The mineral sulphur is used by the body in numerous ways: maintaining the immune system, balancing hormones, and promoting healthy joints. MSM has been used to help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis–the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your bones. One study specified that MSM at 3 g/twice daily improved symptoms of pain and physical function.3
For optimal results–not to mention the best value–choose a combination formula as opposed to purchasing glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM separately.
1 "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007". National Center for Health Statistics. December 10, 2008. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/2008/nhsr12.pdf.
2 JAMA. 2000 Mar 15;283(11):1469-75
3 Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Mar;14(3):286-94. Epub 2005 Nov 23