Cold weather always makes me think about joint pain since flare-ups are especially common during cold, damp days.Though a subject of contention, barometric pressure’s effect on joint comfort isn’t the focus of this post. It can still serve as a reminder that joint health is multifaceted; genetics, acidity, candidiasis, heavy metals and exercise can all contribute to the relative wellness of the joint and surrounding synovial fluids.
This post concerns the differences between two of the most popular joint support supplements available: MSM and Glucosamine. Many joint formulas often include both MSM and Glucosamine in order provide more comprehensive support. But if you’re seeking a single ingredient joint supplement, here’s what you need to know to decide between MSM and Glucosamine.
MSM is an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Methylsufonylmethane, commonly known as MSM is a sulfur compound that’s stored in every one of the body’s cells. It can be produced in a lab or derived from plant and animal sources. As an excellent source of sulfur, MSM promotes the growth of hair, skin and nails and supports joint health by promoting the body’s ability to synthesize collagen for connective tissue health and cell membrane flexibility.
Research indicates that MSM possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties and it has been shown to inhibit NF-kb, a protein that’s responsible for inflammation. MSM may also contribute to increased levels of a glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant produced within the body. As a result, supplementing with MSM can help reduce pain and improve joint function for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis.
MSM isn’t only recommended for people with degenerative joint conditions. In fact, MSM may actually improve athletic performance by reducing muscle soreness that results from exhaustive exercise. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that supplementing with MSM can speed up a post-workout recovery. One study demonstrated that MSM accelerates muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that occurs during intense exercise.
MSM’s benefits may extend beyond joint health as it has been linked to immune system function, increased energy, skin health, hair and nail growth and many other health-building effects.
Glucosamine Combats Age-Related Joint Issues
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that’s naturally found in cartilage, particularly within the fluid surrounding joints. It plays a vital role in building, maintaining and repairing cartilage. Glucosamine can also be produced in a laboratory or harvested from the hard-outer shells of crustaceous animals.
As we age, our bodies gradually produce less Glucosamine, which can lead to a breakdown of cartilage and joints. However, supplementing with Glucosamine can replenish the body’s reserve of glucosamine and support long-term joint health. As a result, Glucosamine can be beneficial for those suffering from degenerative joint conditions.
Glucosamine is the starting point for synthesis of glycosaminoglycans – or GAGs, which are the core of tissues like collagen and the bone matrix. Glucosamine supports joint health by acting as a building block for connective tissue, cushioning joints and maintaining normal thickness of the fluids that sit between and cushion the joints.
While inconclusive, evidence suggests that Glucosamine may provide modest pain relief, improve joint function and reduce soreness in aging muscles and joints. The Mayo Clinic reports that Glucosamine might provide pain relief for individuals with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, Glucosamine has been classified as “likely effective” by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. In many formulas, you’ll find that Glucosamine is paired with chondroitin sulfate, as both are structural components of cartilage.
Whether it’s to reduce joint discomfort or muscle soreness, MSM and Glucosamine are both excellent choices for those seeking a natural way to support joint health.