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Can you overdose on Glucosamine?

Updated on October 19, 2011

Glucosamine is a medicine that is often used to help treat arthritis and repair joints.

While the effects of Glucosamine in humans is often debated, most studies show that in regular doses, Glucosamine does not pose any major health risks.

Exceeding Recommended Doses(Overdosing)

While in regular doses, glucosamine is generally thought of as being safe, it is common for people to not feel any noticeable effect after taking it. As a result, they end up exceeding the recommended dosage and "overdosing."

This can lead to a number of mild symptoms, such as headaches, diarrhea, rashes, and stomach pains. While these symptoms are not typically life threatening, they can be very discomforting and will vary depending on the individual, amount taken, and duration of treatment.

There has also been at least one small study that showed glucosamine may damage the pancreas when taken in large doses. This could potentially increase the risk of diabetes, however, this has not been independently confirmed.

Other Health Risks of Glucosamine

Some types of Glucosamine is also made with shellfish, so those who are allergic to shellfish could have an allergic reaction if they ingest this type of Glucosamine.

Some have also been worried that Glucosamine may interfere with the way the body processes glucose and insulin, but this has not been substantiated. In fact, several studies on humans, including those who are obese and have diabetes, as well as animals have not shown any increase in glucose intolerance or insulin resistance.

What is Glucosamine

Glucosamine is an amino sugar, often found in fungi, crustaceans, and other types of insects. It is often used to treat arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis, as it is believed to help heal and fix joints, mainly by helping to repair cartilage. Since some types of arthritis are characterized by joint degradation, repairing cartilage can not only help with pain, it could also potentially help reverse, at least partially, the effects of the disease.

It is the most common type of dietary supplement used by adults in the United States, when you exclude vitamins, and minerals.

In the United States, Glucosamine is classified as a diateary suppliemtn, which means that it can not be marketed as a cure or treatment for any disase or condition. Despite that, many doctors, particularly in the vetrinary community, feel strongly about its affects on the joints and healing process.

Debating the Effectivness of Glucosamine

Whether or not Glucosamine is any more effective than a placebo is something that is often debated.

There have been many conflicting studies as to whether it is effective at all.

During the eighties, for instance, several studies were produced by a group that held an interest in Glucosamine. These studies found that it was very effective at treating joints and offered many benefits to those with arthritis.

However due to the conflict of interest and the questionable methods used, these studies are now largely discredited.The same group later produced another larger study, with better methods, which also showed positive benefits from using Glucosamine in both treating symptoms and helping to repair joints.

There have also been several other independent studies that have shown that Glucosamine is more effective than a placebo and many doctors feel that it is effective at treating arthritis.

However, there have also been several studies that show that Glucosamine is not effective and offers the same benefits as a placebo, which is to say essentially none.

Due to these conflicting reports and the questionable intial studies, whether Glucosamine is effective at treating arthritis is something that many people disagree about.


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