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Can Glucosamine Be Used for Sports Performance?

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 24 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Glucosamine Sport Supplements Muscle

Glucosamine enjoys a well-deserved reputation as the most popular joint supplement on the market today. Scores of people take it to deal with joint problems such as arthritis, as well as age-related problems that impact the joints.

Because of its positive effects on flexibility and dealing with joint pain, it is fast gaining a reputation as a sports supplement as well. Whether to keep our joints in good health, ease joint pain or prevent sports injuries, it seems to work as a way to keep us active for longer.

Why Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is perhaps the most popular joint supplement on the market today. A compound found in the human body that produces glycosaminogly can, a molecule that helps repair cartilage and other tissues, it is made from glucose and then combined with an amino acid called glutamine.

The reason so many people are interested in taking glucosamine is because the production of it in our bodies tends to slow down as we get older, and many of us also get joint problems such as osteroarthritis associated with age. It is believed that glucosamine supplements help cushion the joints, repair them, help stop them from deteriorating further, and produce more of the fluid that lubricates them.

Glucosamine for Sports

Glucosamine as a sports supplement is used to improve sports performance and help keep up regular exercise. Many people also take it to help them recover from sports injuries, or even help prevent them. It is particularly effective in helping injuries caused by overuse or wear and tear, whether caused by competition, exercise or regular training.

As we get older we lose movement and flexibility in our joints, and obviously that can have a tremendous impact on the way we exercise, and thus our overall fitness levels. Reported benefits of taking glucosamine to improve sports performance is that it can help with the cartilage in weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hands, hips and knees. Often that cartilage is the first to show signs of wear and tear.

Glucosamine has been shown to:

  • Reduce inflammation in the joints
  • Keep cartilage from breaking down
  • May help increase the production of cartilage

Topical glucosamine creams to help reduce inflammation in muscles and joints is also available, although it is debatable whether glucosamine can help with any muscular problems. In this case, it is usually combined with other supplements that claim to help with muscular fitness, such as ATP. Usually it is combined with other similar supplements such as chondroitin, which also has been shown to be beneficial to cartilage.

Words of Caution

Glucosamine sports supplements are usually manufactured from chitin, which is found in many shellfish such as lobsters, crab and shrimp, as well as in other sea creatures. People with allergies to shellfish should avoid them at all costs, although these days a vegan variety is often available. Side effects can include drowsiness, headache and upset tummy. Ask your doctor before taking any sports supplements to improve your physical performance, as they can interact with other medications and other supplements, including herbal ones.

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