Until the last few years most people, let along runners, had never heard of Glucosamine. Now, however, it is widely talked about as being of benefit to runners, but is this the case?
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a substance which is a mixture of a sugar and a protein. It is a component of connective tissue structures within the body, including tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It is often taken in supplements in conjunction with chrondoitin sulphate, which is a component of cartilage.
There haven't yet been a lot of studies done into the efficacy of Glucosamine as a supplement. The ones that have been done are often small and therefore not entirely conclusive.
The theory behind taking glucosamine is that as the body isn't very good at producing it, having a supply available to the body for use in repair will help the connective tissues to repair and recover more quickly. To date there isn't conclusive evidence available to say that this works, but this won't stop advocates from extolling it's virtues. It doesn't mean it isn't useful, but there is a danger that all you'll be doing by taking it is burning a whole in your wallet!
On the plus side, it may have some benefits, and there aren't current any significant side effects known, unless you are diabetic when it may worsen insulin resistance so advice should be sought if you are a suffer. As with most substances you put in your body - you should seek advice from you doctor if you are at all concerned about their impact.
One group of people who do seem to gain significantly from taking glucosamine as a supplement are those with osteoarthritis. It seems to make a difference in relieving the symptoms of this condition, particularly those whose symptoms are more severe - although, again, the results aren't 100% conclusive.
The information here is written by an athletics coach who has read widely into the subject and not a sports nutritionist, so is about gearing your food and drink to the practicalities of running.
- When to Eat
- How to Prepare for Races
- Calorie Requirements
- Losing Weight when Running
- Gaining Muscle Nutrition Advice
- Fluid Intake
- Energy Drinks
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Fish Oils
- Bicarbonate of Soda