The Importance of Bone Health
Bones provide stability and strength to the body, they support the muscles and protect the internal organs. Bones help with all movement and have an important effect on athletic performance. Exercise, in turn, strengthens the bones. Most people’s bones reach peak bone mass by about age 30. This is the maximum bone density, size and strength that your bones will achieve in your lifetime. Many factors contribute to bone mass including genetics, exercise, nutritional status, alcohol consumption and smoking.
The Importance of Joint Health
Most people, particularly those over 50 or anyone who engages in physical activity, are likely to experience joint pain at some point. This is often a sign of wear and tear, which may ultimately result in osteoarthritis if left untreated. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, with one one of the most affected tissues being cartilage. Cartilage provides a protective padding to joints. It is made up of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, collagen and elastin. The cartilage covering bones may gradually thin and eventually wear away completely, resulting in bone rubbing against bone within the joint, leading to pain, inflammation and reduced range of motion.
The most common treatment for joint pain and osteoarthritis is with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen. However, long term use does not solve the problem and carries side effects. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that certain nutrients can reduce joint pain and osteoarthritic symptoms, with less likelihood of adverse side effects than NSAIDs.
Here we’ll look at the role that Glucosamine and MSM can play in joint and bone health.
Glucosamine for Joint and Bone Health
Glucosamine is synthesised in almost every human tissue and is most abundant in connective tissue and cartilage. As we get older wear and tear means that more raw materials are needed to maintain the joints and surrounding structures. The production of glucosamine may decrease with age, thus limiting the body’s ability to make cartilage. As a building block of the cartilage matrix glucosamine has multifaceted roles in promoting joint health:
- Glucosamine has a stimulating effect on cartilage synthesis which may help to regenerate the joint structure, leading to reduced pain and swelling and increased mobility (1).
- Glucosamine has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which inhibit cartilage degeneration (1,2). It relieves pain and disability in those with knee osteoarthritis (3,4).
- Glucosamine may mitigate the changes in bone turnover, structure and mineralisation that are altered in osteoarthritis (5).
- Glucosamine suppresses bone loss by inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and activity and increases bone mineral density in a non-oestrogenic manner (6).
- Glucosamine may have potential benefits in the treatment of osteopenia, osteoporosis and general bone maintenance (7).
To sum up long term treatment with glucosamine:
- reduces pain
- improves function and mobility of the joint
- reduces the progression of osteoarthritis
- reduces the risk of joint replacement becoming necessary (1).
- Improves bone mineral density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
In most trials, dosages of 1500 mg/day were used; this dose was as safe as placebo and was tolerated better than NSAIDs (1).
Nutrients rarely work alone and vitamin C enhances the beneficial effects of many other nutrients. Tom Oliver Nutrition’s Glucosamine Hydrocloride is blended with vitamin C because:
- Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Vitamin C is associated with a decreased risk of cartilage loss and osteoarthritis.
- Vitamin C may reduce the use of painkillers and improve quality of life.
Vitamin C is safe and effective to use in combination with other nutrients for acute and chronic pain relief and in the prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis (8).
Tom Oliver’s Glucosamine with Vitamin C
Many glucosamine supplements are sourced from the shells of crustaceans, and therefore are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, or those with shellfish allergy. Tom Oliver Nutrition’s Glucosamine HCl is derived from a sustainable corn-based source making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as well as anyone avoiding shellfish.
MSM for Joint and Bone Health
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a popular supplement amongst sports people. It contains sulphur which is one of the major building blocks of glucosamine, as well as other compounds that are needed for the production of cartilage. The effects of MSM include reduced inflammation, reduced joint and muscle pain, reduced oxidative stress, and increased antioxidant capacity (9).
MSM is used for joint health, recovery from exercise, inflammatory conditions and immune function, and is gaining popularity in the beauty industry for its benefits to hair, skin and nails.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of MSM to the joints and bones:
Exercise - Prolonged exercise can result in muscle soreness caused by micro trauma to muscles and surrounding connective tissue leading to a local inflammatory response. MSM is effective against muscle damage and muscle soreness as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Taking MSM before or after exercise may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, muscle soreness and joint pain (9,10).
Joint Pain and Range of Movement - MSM improves range of motion and physical function due to its beneficial effects on cartilage preservation and inflammation. It has been shown to improve joint function and quality of life in aging populations (11).
Bone Health - Osteoblasts are cells that develop new bone. Growth hormone is a regulator of bone growth and bone metabolism. MSM increases the expression of growth hormone related proteins in osteoblasts (12).
The following can be used alongside Glucosamine and MSM to support bone and joint health:
- Tom Oliver’s Vitamin D with K2
- Tom Oliver’s Magnesium
- Tom Oliver’s Glucosamine with Vitamin C
- Tom Oliver’s Omega 3
- Tom Oliver’s Curcumin
- Int J Rheumatol. 2011; 2011: 969012. Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Jorg Jerosch.
- Spine J. Sep-Oct 2007;7(5):601-8. Glucosamine HCl alters production of inflammatory mediators by rat intervertebral disc cells in vitro. Walsh AJL et al.
- J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Jan;3(1):48-54. A randomized comparative study of safety and efficacy of immediate release glucosamine HCL and glucosamine HCL sustained release formulation in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: A proof of concept study. Kulkarni C et al.
- Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(4):599-604. Glucosamine hydrochloride for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms. Fox BA, Stephens MM.
- Arthritis Rheum. 2007 May;56(5):1537-48. The effects of glucosamine hydrochloride on subchondral bone changes in an animal model of osteoarthritis. Wang SX et al.
- Biol Pharm Bull. 2016;39(6):1035-41. Glucosamines Attenuate Bone Loss Due to Menopause by Regulating Osteoclast Function in Ovariectomized Mice. Asai H et al.
- Int J Mol Med. 2021 Apr;47(4):57. Human osteoclasts/osteoblasts 3D dynamic co‑culture system to study the beneficial effects of glucosamine on bone microenvironment. Lambertini E et al.
- Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec; 22(23): 12920. Nutraceutical Approach to Chronic Osteoarthritis: From Molecular Research to Clinical Evidence. Colletti A, Cicero AFG.
- 2017 Mar 16;9(3):290. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Butawan M et al.
- J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jul 21;14:24. Effects of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) on exercise-induced oxidative stress, muscle damage, and pain following a half-marathon: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Withee ED et al.
- Int J Biomed Sci. 2015 Jun;11(2):54-60. Evaluation of the Effect of Mega MSM on Improving Joint Function in Populations Experiencing Joint Degeneration. Xu G et al.
- PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47477.MSM enhances GH signaling via the Jak2/STAT5b pathway in osteoblast-like cells and osteoblast differentiation through the activation of STAT5b in MSCs. Youn Hee Joung et al.