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Glucosamine and Chondroitin are naturally present in the human body and contribute to the formation of proteoglycans, essential in normal cartilage. In osteoarthritis and joint damage caused by everyday wear and tear, articular cartilage degenerates and thins, reducing its ability to resist the forces of everyday activity. Research has shown that oral supplementation of proteoglycan precursors leads to articular cartilage repair. This results in significant reductions in pain and stiffness, better than or equal to ibuprofen (NSAID). There is also evidence that Glucosamine maintains an individual's joint space increasing function and flexibility.
Glucosamine has been popular in Europe for years, but it's only recently that its popularity has grown in the U.S. If Glucosamine really works so well, people sometimes ask, why is it only now that Americans are finding out about it? If it's "for real" why didn't we hear sooner?
Glucosamine is a natural substance, so it cannot be patented. But the medical community in the United States has traditionally been very skeptical of "nutriceuticals" - nutritional products that are used for medicinal purposes. While many natural substances have been in wide use in Europe for a long time - Ginko Biloba is another example - the U.S. medical community has held back from recommending them. To a great degree this is because we have a very different type of medical system, a private system in which the drug companies have a great deal of influence over the information that doctors see. They spend billions of dollars each year promoting their drugs, and as products such as Glucosamine are of no use to them - they can't make money from them - then the voices promoting these nutriceuticals are drowned out by drug-company advertising and promotions.
The national-health systems of Europe afford the drug companies less influence, and also have a greater emphasis on cost reduction. Thus an affordable, effective natural treatment is more likely to gain a foothold in Europe.
Sure, America has only recently learned of the benefits of glucosamine. But the scientific studies show that those benefits are real.
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