Glucosamine, Chondroitin & MSM

These substances used to be a bigger part of our diets, however moving into a more typical Western diet our consumption of on-the-bone meats and more old fashioned ‘waste not want not’ practises such as making our own bone broths and stocks have missed the last few generations. Chicken skin is something we have shied away from due to fears about animal fat, however this is great source of collagen which also forms parts of our tendons, bones and ligaments.

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is an amino sugar meaning it is made up of a protein and sugar component and is naturally produced by the body using proteins as the raw materials. It is possible to consume ‘ready-made’ glucosamine in the form of supplements or foods, as well as making sure your diet includes sufficient protein (around 1g/KG of body weight). Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage, tendons, bones and connective tissues including the gut and helps impart strength and flexibility to joint tissue. Glucosamine also forms part of synovial fluid that lies between joints to lubricate them and protect the bone.

Glucosamine comes in three forms: glucosamine sulphate (most commonly), n-acetylglucosamine (NAG) and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine hydrochloride is an alternative to the sulphate form delivering a high concentration of absorbable glucosamine and is generally considered the safer form to take alongside medication. Glucosamine supplements are usually made from the shells of seafood. They are not considered appropriate for anyone with a seafood allergy; however vegan supplement forms can be used in these cases (Higher Nature) which are derived from corn.

Good brands that use the glucosamine hydrochloride or NAG forms to look out for online or at a good quality independent health food stores include Biocare or Higher Nature. The recommended daily dose is 1500mg. Do not use if taking blood thinning medication (i.e. Warfarin). Not suitable during chemotherapy.

Good dietary sources include: Outer shell of shell fish & bones made into homemade broths, cartilage (on the bone meats, chorizo, offal) and prawn skin e.g. leave the tails on.

What is chondroitin?

Chondroitin is found within the extracellular matrix of the cartilage and other connective tissue. Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body. Chondroitin is available as chondroitin sulphate supplements, which are made from bovine (cow), fish or shark cartilage. The above brands use sustainable and responsible sources.

The recommended daily dose is 1000mg. Do not taking if taking blood thinning medication (i.e. Warfarin). Not suitable during chemotherapy. Chondroitin sulphate is the preferred form.

What is MSM?

Methyl sulphonyl methane (MSM) is a natural substance that is found in sulphur bearing foods such as eggs, poultry, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions and garlic; and naturally occurs in the human body. Sulphur is a structural component of connective tissue and helps protect tissues. The recommended daily dose is 1000mg.