Saturday, June 30, 2007

A note on glucosamine I just found...

"Sun Damage Reduced with Glucosamine...
New research indicates that glucosamine - a compound best known for treating arthritis -- can actually help stop the formation of new age spots, and help fade existing ones. "

I just picked this up from

For many women, accumulated sun exposure has already permanently damaged their skin cells, causing them to overproduce pigment that shows up as unsightly dark splotches and uneven skin tone over time. But new research indicates that glucosamine -- a compound best known for treating arthritis -- can actually help stop the formation of new age spots, and help fade existing ones.

"These findings on glucosamine may impact the way dermatologists treat UV- related skin damage in the future. Right now we have prescription and surgical options, which some people aren't willing to try," says Alexa Kimball, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School and lead researcher on one of the studies testing glucosamine.

"It's exciting to see this level of research being done on topical cosmetic applications of glucosamine, and the promising results."

An International Consensus on Glucosamine Skin Benefits In early 2006, a group of leading dermatologists from around the world and Procter & Gamble Beauty scientists convened in Rome to review and discuss the glucosamine data.

The panel determined that n-acetyl glucosamine, a more stable form of glucosamine, reduced the amount of melanin in skin cells, meaning there was less excess pigment in the skin to cause age spots. Additionally, the panel concluded that a formulation of n-acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide, a vitamin B derivative, significantly reduced the amount and appearance of hyperpigmentation, age spots and uneven melanin distribution.

The panel reviewed data from three studies involving the n-acetyl glucosamine /niacinamide formulation. Tissue studies showed a reduction in melanin and an increase in collagen -- a key structural protein in skin. Three double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical studies involving more than 200 subjects, including a study supervised by Dr. Kimball, showed improvement in hyperpigmentation and skin tone and a decrease in the size of age spots.

I forgot to write about the role of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

This is a non science post.

I didn't want to tell you the in depth science of how chondroitin or glucosamine molecules help your cartilage. I mean, you can read about that elsewhere and see the results of all the trials on it at medline.

So what am I writing about here?

Well, the last post talked about joint problems and osteoarthritis in sports people and that many of us should perhaps take care of our joints more.

I've written on some of the ways to do this but I thought I'd just add a note.

Taking glucosamine and chondroitin etc as a preventive measure is 100% passive! Why the hell isn't every sports person doing it?!

I mean, you don't even need to move. You just sit there and swallow the capsule.

It's just a word of encouragement for anyone who knows they need it but isnt taking it.

Osteoarthritis in Athletes and the role of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Athletes for the most part have two things in common with most other athletes.

I'm an athlete myself so I am fairly familiar with this. Also, many of my friends are the same.

Firstly we put our joints through far greater stress and wear than most non-athletes put their joints through and secondly we all think we're built better than everyone else - ie that we're not going to get health problems as a result of the sport which keeps us fit and strong.

See, this is why most athletes DO end up with joint problems.

I'm writing this as a kind of note to myself.

I need to realise that I'm a human too - that I'm putting my joints through hell, and I really should look after them.

I don't want osteoarthritis!

Osteoarthritis - Are You Preventing It?

Prevention is extremely important with osteoarthritis.

It's much easier to prevent osteoarthritis than it is to treat it.

In my opinion, here is the biggest problem. As long as people are pain free they will see no reason to take preventive measures against it.

For example, how many times have you had back pain, and only once you get the back pain do you start to take notice of your posture.

It's the same with your joints. They get damaged before you feel it. Cartilage can be wearing away before you even get the slightest symptoms.

So, lets assume you're fairly active and you know your joints are being worked each day. You're aware that they are in need of protection so what can you do?

There are a number of things but by far the most important two are these:

1. Pacing Your Activity. I'll write a whole article on this soon.

2. Nutrition. This one is really important. Without specific nutrition, the cartilage and other tissues in your joints will not be as healthy as they should be to start off with. For instance they will not be holding as much water in as they should for cushioning and they may not be as thick as they could be.

Secondly, the cartilage will not be repaired as well as it should be after wear or injury if the nutrients that provide the building blocks for it are not present in the body in large enough amounts.

And what are the most important nutrients? Glucosamine and chondroitin - no surprise there!

See you soon.

PS. Check out the other posts and the link to info on other ingredients to look for in glucosamine supplements.

Arthritis and Glucosamine - Why it Might Not Help

Here's a little fact about glucosamine and arthritis that isn't always made clear.

There are many types of arthritis, but the main types are called Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Although they both have similar names they are infact completely different. The pathologies are different.

The word 'arthritis' literally means 'joint inflammation' and does not describe a specific disease process. So it's no surprise that osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be so different.

Glucosamine works by giving the body the nutrients it needs to rebuild cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is where cartilage has become worn away, so in this case you can see how glucosamine and other molecules will directly help.

However, rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disease process... something which glucosamine doesn't have anything to do with.

So if you have arthritis, make sure you know which sort you have before you start taking glucosamine!

Why is Glucosamine Needed?

Hi, how's it going?

Today I thought I'd write a little on how glucosamine, chondroitin and other joint supplements fit into a complete joint care plan.

Joints can go wrong for many different reasons. Osteoarthritis for example, can come about for a number of different reasons - or a combination of them.

So, in order to protect joints and help damaged or osteoarthritic joints to heal, it's a good idea to address all these areas.

Sadly, most treatments only address one or a couple of possible causes.

Here are the four main areas that need addressing:

1. Pacing and Use of the Joints

Are you abusing your joints through over-use? or abusing them with bad running shoes? Maybe you don't give your body enough rest during strenuous activities, or between training sessions.

These daily factors all play a major role in causing and healing joint pain.

2. Muscle Balance and Joint Mechanics

If the muscles surrounding a joint are not in balance (ie one side is tighter than it should be, or one side is weaker etc) then the joint will not move as it was designed to. This places a much greater stress on the joint.

Or, sometimes, people will move joints in a way that puts them under greater stress because they are not aware of how the joint should move.

This frequently happens with bending the knees and using the shoulder.

3. Inflammation.

A damaged, osteoarthritic joint will get inflammed. This is a natural response by the body as it attempts to heal.

Sadly, the body is most often not able to heal fast enough and chronic inflammation can be a source of further damage and pain.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to minimise inflammation. Although this is beneficial in helping the symptoms, it does not address the cause of the inflammation. Some anti-inflammatories also come with negative side effects.

Having said this, it is important to minimise inflammation. Other ways include ice packs, and taking rest when needed, as well as avoiding aggravating activities.

4. Nutrition, Glucosamine and Chondroitin etc

In order for cartilage in joints to remain healthy, we must take in the nutrients that go to build cartilage. This makes sense.

As the body needs to repair cartilage it needs more of these nutrients. If they are not present in sufficient quantity, your cartilage will either get damaged, or be unable to repair.

The main necessary nutrients are glucosamine and chondroitin.

Note - It was previously thought that damaged cartilage was unable to heal but now studies show that with correct nutrition, worn down cartilage can be repaired. What great capacity our bodies have when we give them the chance!

Glucosamine Supplement Ingredients

Here's an addition to the blog post below.

I wrote that post without thinking that people would probably want to know "what are all these other ingredients I should be looking for?"

Follow this link for glucosamine and chondroitin ingredients.