Why pairing glucosamine with other products could benefit your joints

13th March 2013

By Rick Lyons, with expert comment from nutritional therapist, Sarah Barber

Find the perfect supplement partner and help relieve joint pains and inflammation

It's well known joint pain and inflammation could be eased by taking glucosamine. But did you know pairing supplements of this amino sugar with other natural products could further help reduce aching joints? It could also increase motion and help repair ageing and damaged joints.

Why pair glucosamine with other products?

On its own glucosamine has been shown to be effective in helping people with joint problems, specifically osteoarthritis. Using it with different herbal products could be effective in tackling other kinds of joint pain.

"Glucosamine is believed to reduce pain and inflammation in around 50% of arthritis sufferers," explains nutritional therapist Sarah Barber. "It works in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, at reducing symptoms but it doesn't have the associated side-effects."

Glucosamine and osteoarthritis

There are a number of supplements which could be beneficial to osteoarthritis sufferers if paired with glucosamine. Sufferers should try to find which combination works best for them.

Combining glucosamine with marine chondroitin could be more effective for sufferers than taking glucosamine on its own. Marine chondroitin comes from fish sources of the naturally occurring substance, chondroitin sulphate. This helps make up joint cartilage and provides much of its resistance to stress.

The World Health Organization noted there is "compelling evidence" glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate may interfere with the progression of osteoarthritis. "Marine chondroitin is thought to attract fluid into the cartilage, thereby enhancing its elasticity," Sarah says. "It is also thought to slow cartilage breakdown and possibly spur cartilage formation."

Bromelain is a supplement made from the stems of pineapple and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Taken with glucosamine it could help osteoarthritis sufferers. A 2004 review of clinical trials of bromelain published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found it had the potential to treat osteoarthritis. It concluded it could be used as either a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with others.

Glucosamine and joint inflammation

Joint pain could be lessened by pairing glucosamine with a number of other natural products.

Celadrin Cream is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties which could help boost the body's immune system. A 2005 study involving 28 people with varying levels of joint pain supported the use of Celadrin Cream to reduce pain levels.

Alterntaively there is green-lipped mussel which is available in supplement form. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Inflammopharmacology found green-lipped mussels, which can be safely taken together with glucosamine, "significantly improved knee joint pain, stiffness and mobility."

Glucosamine and cartilage pain

For pain caused by cartilage breakdown there is hyaluronic acid - a naturally occurring component of the lubricating fluid around our joints. "It provides a mechanism for the delivery of nutrients to the joint tissue," Sarah says. "It also acts as a lubricant and shock absorber."