Glucosamine with Gymnema*
By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt
Clinical studies of the supplement, Glucosamine, continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of this amino sugar in helping with symptoms as well as causative factors linked to joint and muscle pain.
Gymnema Sylvestre – Mother Nature’s Sugar Buster
Glucosamine is naturally found in the body, highly concentrated in the joints. It is the “building block” of proteoglycans, the cells found within cartilage that absorb water and make cartilage resistant to shock. Glucosamine also increases the formation of lubrication materials inside the joints and slows the activity of enzymes that cause joint destruction. As people age, glucosamine levels decrease, leading to increased joint breakdown and slower repair. Oral glucosamine supplements are made from chitin, a material extracted from exoskeletons of shellfish. Scientific studies have shown that glucosamine supplements increase glucosamine levels and improve cartilage status within the joints. This leads to marked pain relief. Scientists believe that glucosamine stimulates the formation of cartilage, which is essential for joint repair. Compared to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which offers only symptomatic pain and swelling relief, glucosamine goes to the cause. This amino sugar not only reduces the pain and related symptoms, but also helps the body repair damaged joints.
Several double-blind studies have shown that glucosamine produces as good or even better results than NSAIDs in relieving pain and inflammation. A study presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Scientific Meeting (Nov. 13-17, 1999) is a good example of research that illustrates the effectiveness of glucosamine on muscles and joints. Two hundred and twelve osteoarthritis patients who received a daily dose of 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine (over a three year time period) experienced a marked decrease in pain and stiffness coupled with an improvement in overall physical function. These same factors worsened in the placebo group.
Glucosamine may need to be used consistently for a month to 6 weeks to begin to feel pain relief. It has no known toxicity. However, there are a few noted possible adverse secondary effects. Some individuals may experience slight gastro-intestinal upset, which can be helped by taking glucosamine with food. Phillip Harvey, Ph.D. at the 2000 meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, reported another possible downside. He discovered that glucosamine might increase insulin resistance, leading to additional health problems, especially for people with diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Glucosamine may cause this effect by impairing the transport of glucose across the cell membrane.
Gymnema is a vine that grows in India. It has been used by Ayurvedic Physicians for thousands of years for what they referred to as “sweet urine”, similar to our modern understanding of a high reading of glucose in the urine, as may be seen with diabetes.
Hypoglycemia is another condition related to blood sugar imbalance. Gurmar, the Indian name for gymnema, translates to "sugar destroyer." Modern scientific studies are now corroborating what natural doctors from ancient times have always known -- that the use of gymnema sylvestre can be an effective natural therapy to balance blood sugar. Research has shown that gymnema has several positive effects which include improving glucose tolerance, reducing blood concentrations of fats, decreasing the desire to eat sweets and helping to regenerate damaged cells of the pancreas.
Nature’s Answer® is pleased to be able to offer a cutting-edge combination formula that features both these ingredients in one convenient capsule, Glucosamine Plus Gymnema, specifically formulated to deliver the highest quality of Glucosamine available while simultaneously offsetting possible adverse effects on blood sugar. Our newest formula for muscle and joint wellness compliments a family of glucosamine products already available from Nature’s Answer® including Glucosamine with Herbs (alcohol-free liquid herbal extract), Glucosamine Plus Chondroitin (capsule) and Joint PhytoNutrition (food medicament); all unconditionally guaranteed, all backed by the outstanding quality and performance that has become synonymous with the Nature’s Answer® name.
References for educational information
Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. Jan2001;357(9252):251-6
Baron, A. D.; Zhu, J. S.; Zhu, J. H.; et. al. Glucosamine induces insulin resistance in vivo by affecting GLUT 4 translocation in skeletal muscle. Implications for glucose toxicity. J Clin Invest, 1995, 96:6, 2792-801
Okabayashi, Y.; Tani, S.; Fujisawa, T.;et. al., Effect of Gymnema sylvestre, R.Br. on glucose homeostasis in rats. Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 9:2, May-June, 143-8
Baskaran K, et al. Antidiabetic Effect of a Leaf Extract from Gymnema Sylvestre in Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus Patients. J Ethnopharmacol. Oct1990;30(3):295-300
Kamei K, et al. Amino Acid Sequence of Sweet-taste-suppressing Peptide (Gurmarin) from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. J Biochem. (Tokyo). Jan1992; 111(1): 109-12
Shanmugasundaram, E. R.; et. al.,Possible regeneration of the islets of Langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol , 30:3, Oct 1990, 265-79