The Science Behind Glucosamine Sulfate
In 1826, when Dr. George Lederhosen discovered the existence of Glucosamine sulfate in animal tissues, it was merely a new compound to the world. 124 years later, Glucosamine sulfate turned out to be one of the first supplements prescribed by Rheumatologists when treating Arthritis, specifically Osteoarthritis. So how did this transformation take place? To get a clear picture, you will have to understand the basic science behind using glucosamine.
Glucosamine is a monosaccharide with an amino group. It is soluble in water and gets absorbed well in the intestines. In humans, glucosamine sulfate is naturally produced by a set of cells named chondrocytes. When these glucosamine and chondroitin molecules react with one another, they form a polysaccharide called Glucosaminoglycans (GAG). GAG is the major component of proteoglycans. Together with collagen and chondrocytes, they make up the cartilage in joints.
A cartilage acts as padding between two bones in a joint. Since proteoglycans contribute towards the formation of cartilage, the properties of proteoglycans are directly involved with the properties of cartilage as well. The sulfate component of a proteoglycans is negatively charged and attracts water molecules. This gives the proteoglycans a highly viscose consistency, similar to that of a gel. Hence it helps the cartilage lubricate the joints and provides a smooth surface for the bones to glide on movement. Aging can cause the production of proteoglycans to slow down. If the synthesis of proteoglycans does not take place properly, the cartilage will not be able to function normally.
The cartilage is the main area that gets affected when a person is down with osteoarthritis. The disease causes the cartilage cells to breakdown and degenerate. In such patients, if proteoglycans are not synthesized adequately, the degeneration shall accelerate as well.
It is a well known fact that conventional medicines treat the cause of the symptoms. Scientists believed that if more proteoglycans were produced in the body to match the amount that degenerates, Osteoarthritis can be brought under control. In order to do this, chondrocytes need to produce more GAGs.
A chondrocyte can produce GAGs in two methods. One is through an internal production of glucosamine MSM supplement and the other is exogenous. Exogenous refers to the use of preformed glucosamine molecules obtained from external sources such as dietary supplements.
The second mechanism was taken into account and Doctors started prescribing Glucosamine Sulfate supplements as part of their treatment strategies. The results were satisfactory. Many patients, who were under this treatment, experienced a great deal of relief through alleviated pain and improvements in motion. So do not let a few negative rumors keep you from trying a glucosamine supplement because Glucosamine is associated with one of the safest mechanisms to treat osteoarthritis.