Although it did not become popular as a dietary supplement until the 1990’s, clinical trials in the early 1980’s found glucosamine to outperform ibuprofen for reducing pain and rebuilding cartilage in osteoarthritis patients. (Chondroitin sulphate was being used as a supplement to strengthen and repair joints and connective tissue long before that time.) For many arthritis sufferers glucosamine and chondroitin supplements worked miracles, but others who tried it got no relief or not enough relief from their pain. Now, hyaluronic acid (HLA) is becoming more and more popular, and may offer relief from joint pain in those who were disappointed by glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine is a a precursor of HLA which is a major component of the synovial fluid that cushions and lubricates joints. In order to produce HLA, glucosamine must combine with a glucoronic acid molecule. If the body is not able to join these two molecules, production of the much needed HLA is never achieved. Using HLA supplements takes away the risk that this integral process won’t happen. Patients may see results where glucosamine and/ or chondroitin failed.
HLA also improves the cartilage structure of joints, making it much more tough and flexible. Because of its lubricating effect, it acts as a cushion for bones allowing joints to resist compression, bear weight and withstand tension. It also carries nutrients to the cartilage and removes waste products to help keep joints healthy and strong.