Glucosamine Benefits for Bodybuilders

Joint and tendon pain is a common ailment with bodybuilders, Olympic lifters and strength athletes. The problem is ligaments; tendons, joints, and cartilage aren't on the priority list when it comes to most of our supplement shopping and diet planning, yet all of them depend on specific nutrients for repair and support.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar. A molecule made from an amino acid and a simple sugar. Our bodies use approximately 20 amino sugars. They are burned for energy and are essential to the manufacture of tissue components. Amino sugars are the basis of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in the body. Amino sugars are also the building blocks of giant molecules called glycosaminoglycans. Glycosaminoglycans (or GAG's) are "spongy" water holding molecules that form the gel-like matrix in all connective tissue and mucous membranes. Glucosamine supplementation has been shown to support your body's production of cartilage. Studies have also shown that the administration of adequate amounts of glucosamine by mouth during the first few days after surgery or trauma can be expected to enhance hyaluronic acid production in wounds, promoting swifter healing and possibly diminishing complications related to scarring.

When stress is applied in during weight training sessions, connective tissue is constantly being broken down and replaced. This creates a higher demand for glucosamine, than you'd normally find a sedentary individual would require. Dietary intake of glucosamine is usually quite low, so our bodies synthesize it from glucose and glutamine. The average non-weight trained individual's body is able to meet this demand quite easily, however due to our increased demand for glutamine; most athletes are glucosamine deprived. This results in sore joints and weaker tendons.

Supplementation of glucosamine has shown in numerous studies to increase both range of joint movement and comfort in patients. In fact in almost all studies done, almost 95% percent of the showed good or sufficient clinical response. In some studies, the positive results continued for up to three months after supplementation stopped!

There are no known side effects to supplementation of glucosamine, and the only drawback is that some glucosamine sulfate is processed with sodium chloride (table salt), which is restricted in some diets.

Glucosamine Sulfate is the best and easiest form of this supplement to obtain. Dosages will vary from individual to individual. Patients with osteoarthritis usually ingest 1.5g per day. (500mg, three times a day)

In my opinion glucosamine is not an essential supplement if your glutamine consumption is adequate. It won't increase your muscle growth rate or protein synthesis or any of what typical sports supplements do. However for those of you who aren't supplementing L-gluatmine, or suffer from chronic joint pain, this supplement could help you increase the volume and amount of weight you are able to do during your training sessions without pain, and decrease the odds of joint injury for all lifters.


Med Hypotheses, 48(3): 245-51 1997 Mar

Drovanti A, Bignamini AA, Rovati AL. Therapeutic activity of oral glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis: a placebo­controlled double­blind investigation. Clinical Therapeutics 1980; 3(4): 260-72.

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