Connect with us

Health & Wellness

2019 Definitive Nutraceuticals Guide: Functional Food Healing And Health Supplements




2019 Definitive Nutraceuticals Guide

In 1989, the founder of the Foundation of Innovation in Medicine, Stephen DeFelice, coined the term “nutraceutical.” It was a concept that combined the goodness of healthy nutrition with the disease-fighting power of pharmaceuticals. Over 25 years later, the concept is gaining ground as patients and healthy citizens alike look for safer and more effective ways to take charge over their own health.

What Are Nutraceuticals?

Take a stroll down the supplements aisle of your local grocery store. Every bottle lined up on those shelves, whether in a pill, capsule, or tablet form, is a nutraceutical. Head over to the produce section; every fruit and vegetable there also is considered a nutraceutical, in the strictest sense of the word. Even the Italian seasonings you sprinkle over your pasta, as well as the vitamins and minerals added to the enriched flour in your bread, are nutraceuticals.

Nutraceuticals can be classified in different ways, but there are three basic categories:

  • Functional food, which includes medicinal foods
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal supplements

Functional Food

Humans need food to survive; it's how our physiology works. When you eat a fresh green salad, for example, your body uses the calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium found in the lettuce and other greens. You also gain essential vitamins, such as vitamins E and A and several B vitamins. On top of all that, your salad greens give you an abundance of phytochemicals that help to ward off bacteria, fight infection, aid in digestion, and prevent cancer, among other things.

In a way, food is medicine. You use it to keep your body healthy, to gain energy, to prevent disorders, and even to treat them – often without even realizing it. When you choose to saute your vegetables in olive oil instead of butter because olive oil is better for your heart, you are using your food as preventative medicine. Medicinal foods, such as some herbal teas, provide the same benefits.

(Note: Functional food and medicinal foods are sometimes considered separate categories of nutraceuticals, but for this article they will both be referred to as functional food.)

Vitamin And Mineral Supplements

While it is tempting to lump vitamins and minerals in the same category as herbal supplements, they in fact work quite differently. Vitamins and minerals are specifically designed to address a deficiency. The body had everything it needed to remain healthy, and now it doesn't – what is missing?

Disorders that are not caused by bacteria or viruses, including degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, and possibly even some cancers, could be due in part to deficiencies of certain vitamins or minerals. More studies are needed to confirm which deficiencies cause which disorders, but the evidence shows that vitamin and mineral supplementation can be effective for treating certain conditions.

Herbal Supplements

While vitamin and mineral supplements are readily metabolized by the body to address a specific deficiency, herbal supplements work more like conventional pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical drugs, from your standard antibiotics to mind-altering Schedule II narcotics, are synthesized versions of herbal extracts. Scientists take the chemical compounds found in plants (and some animals) and create synthetic versions of those compounds and then name them, patent them, and charge a fortune for them.

Herbal supplements, on the other hand, include those compounds in their natural state, rather than a man-made version of them. They work in essentially the same way, but because they are extracted straight from the plant, the integrity of the molecular structure of these compounds remains intact, and there are fewer side effects as a result.

Nutraceuticals Vs Pharmaceuticals: What's The Difference?

A common belief is that pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals are radically different. The truth, however, is more complex: functional foods and vitamin/mineral supplements work with your body's metabolic processes, while herbal supplements and pharmaceuticals both effect changes within your body's metabolic processes, while overriding these processes.

Working With Metabolism

The chemical compounds within food and medicinal herbs as they are found in nature are absorbed through your body's digestive system, make their way into your bloodstream, and are delivered from there to the various parts of your body that need them. These phytochemicals work with the vitamins and minerals that you consume to keep you healthy.

One of the biggest reasons that doctors and scientists are hesitant to think of functional food as a form of medicine is that it is so difficult to determine exactly how much of what kind of food you need to address a specific problem, and almost impossible to precisely measure the effects. Because your body only absorbs and uses a percentage of the medicinal chemicals in your food, and their absorption depends in some measure on the vitamins and minerals you consume, doctors are hesitant to do any more than recommend foods for general health.

The case is more clear cut with vitamin and mineral supplements. Like functional foods, these supplements are absorbed through the digestive system, then delivered throughout your body via the bloodstream. While even these supplements interact with nutrients in your body to some degree, they contain higher concentrations of the vitamins and minerals found in your food, and can more quickly resolve a nutrient deficiency. A patient suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, can supplement his diet with the B vitamin inositol, as studies suggest that OCD is related to a deficiency in this vitamin.

So what does all this have to do with metabolism? Food metabolism is the process by which the fats and carbohydrates from your food are converted into energy, protein becomes new cells, and the biologically unavailable components are broken down so they can safely leave your body. Functional foods and vitamin/mineral supplements are mostly metabolized in the liver, which is responsible for recognizing toxins and safely removing them before sending the nutrients into your bloodstream. This process happens smoothly and with minimal negative effect on your liver.

Operating Outside Metabolism

When you take a pharmaceutical or an herbal supplement, it passes through the liver before entering the bloodstream, just like the nutrients from your food. However, because these substances contain only medicinal chemical compounds and none of the accompanying nutrients that would be found in food, your body has difficulty knowing how to metabolize them or where to send the chemical compounds. When they end up in the wrong areas, adverse reactions (side effects) occur.

As lab-synthesized molecules, your body can't quite sort out the useful medicinal parts of a pharmaceutical drug from the inactive ingredients that were added to speed up absorption, increase bioavailability of the compound, or create a time-release effect. It treats the entire drug as a poison, so pharmacologists often have to add ingredients that will override the body's attempt to get rid of the drug.

In essence, these drugs affect the metabolic process, namely by wreaking havoc on your liver, without abiding by the rules that would normally cause your liver to prevent any part of the drug from entering your bloodstream.

Herbal supplements aren't viewed by your body as entirely foreign toxic substances, but they still work outside the normal metabolic process because they don't include any nutrients that aid in their digestion and absorption. And while the chances of side effects with herbal supplements are much lower, as your body is more capable of recognizing the natural compounds and sending them to the right places, your liver may still treat some of these compounds as toxins that it is unable to process.

Who Should Use Nutraceuticals?

Functional foods should be the first line of defense for the prevention and even treatment of numerous diseases. Everything from cardiovascular disorders to diabetes to influenza can be effectively treated with a healthy diet, or a healthy diet in tandem with proper supplementation.

While a diet that consists largely of functional food is essential for your health, other nutraceuticals can be taken by the right people for specific conditions:

Medicinal Foods:

Such as raw, fresh garlic, onion, and ginger; herbal teas; medicinal honeys; probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and mushrooms; and fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, and saurkraut, are safe for most healthy people as a method of prevention. They can also be safe for the treatment of some conditions in people who don't have any chronic disorders, and they are among the safest options for normally healthy children as well.

Supplemental Vitamins And Minerals:

Should be used to address deficiencies. They can be used for prevention in certain cases, such as the use of folic acid during pregnancy or vitamin D for those at risk of developing osteoporosis; but keep in mind that too much of a vitamin can prevent the absorption of other vital nutrients from your diet, so make sure you research the vitamin you plan on using to fully understand its uses and effects.

Herbal Supplements:

Contain some of the same chemical compounds that the herbs themselves contain; however, they lack some of the compounds and nutrients that make them safely digestible by the body, and supplements contain much higher concentrations of the compounds that are present. You can experience drug interactions with any pharmaceuticals you may be on, interactions with other nutraceutical supplements you are taking, or problems with any chronic conditions you might have. Herbal supplements can be a safer alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, and are just as effective when you use high-quality brands, but they should be used under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor.

Common Nutraceuticals And Their Uses

Currently in the United States, federal regulation of nutraceuticals is extremely low. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expects manufacturers of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements to truthfully label their products, and include a disclaimer that the FDA has not approved the prevention or treatment of any medical condition with supplements. The consequences, if enough people complain about problems that could be related to mislabeling, are mild.

There is almost no enforcement of the honest labeling requirement, which means that many supplement brands are dishonestly stuffed with fillers like wheat, rice, or soy. This has led to a mainstream belief that herbal supplements are ineffective or harmless. They are neither, and this theory could lead people to use them without considering the possible drug interactions or the consequences of over-using them. When they are used with care, nutraceuticals are safe and effective.

Some of the most commonly used nutraceutical medicines include:

  • Vitamin B complex for anxiety disorders
  • St. John's Wort for depression
  • Turmeric and/or ginger for circulation
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular health
  • Valerian root for insomnia and depression
  • Echinacea for immune health
  • Calcium and vitamin D for bone health
  • Milk thistle for liver support

Functional foods can also be used for the treatment and prevention of common health concerns:

  • Oats and fish for heart health
  • Nuts and seeds for heart health
  • Fermented foods, such as miso, tempeh, yogurt, and cheese, for digestive health
  • Greens and beans for fiber
  • Ginger ale and chicken broth for colds and stomach viruses
  • Local honey for seasonal allergies
  • Kombucha for detoxification and cancer prevention

Make sure to do your research before trying a natural remedy, and if possible, consult a naturopathic doctor or herbalist to make sure that you are making the safest choice possible for your health.

The Power Of Natural Healing With Nutraceuticals

Unfortunately, neither the FDA nor major pharmaceutical companies are willing to fund the research needed to improve our understanding of nutraceuticals. Many of these popular natural remedies are based on thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, yet consumers are still told that there is no scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness, largely because there is a lack of scientific research in this area. But as we strive to gain more control over our own health, more organizations are working to unlock the potential of nutraceuticals through quality scientific research. The power of natural healing is making a comeback in healthcare – and in the lives of millions of informed consumers across the world.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fitness & Exercise

Billy Blank’s BoomBoxing Board: Air-Spring Exercise Workout Board




billy blanks boomboxing board

If you’re looking for a way to ramp up your workout, then the world’s first air-spring exercise board could be really rewarding. Billy Blank’s BoomBoxing Board is a multi-use step board with air springs attached. It acts as a mini trampoline to help maximize your exercises. The board sits six inches off the ground on top of four air-springed legs. While your workout is sure to be more fun and versatile, the greatest benefit is that it reduces the impact on your joints. It is growing in popularity with fitness class students, MMA fighters, boxers, and kickboxers. In addition to physical fitness, it could also be used while working at a standing desk or counter top. Because it has a balance aspect, it makes a great tool for physical therapy as well.

The BoomBoxing Board is designed for all ages and fitness levels making it accessible to everyone. Billy is so excited about the board that he will be using it during a worldwide rollout of the BoomBoxing workout series. Exercises suited to the board include, but are not limited to; jumping jacks, jump squats, push-ups, sit-ups, pistol squats, running in place, and step aerobics. It is constructed with a stepper/rebounder hybrid design with a durable square-shape frame. It offers a non-slip surface and air-cushioned legs. It is the air-springed legs that make the product unique as it reduces the impact on your body versus working out on a surface that doesn’t have any give. Further, because they are springs, they help propel your body into the air for an improved workout.

Rather than having to purchase and store a variety of equipment such as a traditional step platform, mini trampoline or rebounder, and a balance ball trainer, you can get the benefits of all of these in the Billy Blank BoomBoxing board. It has been scientifically tested and approved at the Institute of Sport and Sport Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Through testing it proved to be gentler on the joints, increase endurance and coordination, and improve balance and stabilization. In addition, improved sensory-motor functions when performing standing, running, and jumping exercise were also noted. There is a diverse range of applications for both practice and training opportunities. For further information or to back the project, visit and search BoomBoxing.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Best Wheatgrass Supplements of 2019

Health Support



Wheatgrass is a trendy nutritional supplement made from the green shoots and sprouts of the wheat plant before it fully grows into wheat.

Wheatgrass is naturally rich in antioxidants. Most of these antioxidants come from chlorophyll, which also gives wheatgrass its distinctive bright green color.

Some people believe taking wheatgrass supplements can protect the body from oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the symptoms of diabetes, among other benefits. Others just believe wheatgrass boosts general health and wellness.

There are two main ways to take wheatgrass: as a powdered formula or as a juice.

Many of the supplements below come in the form of powders, and you can mix the powder with the beverage of your choice.

Others come in the form of shots. If you can stomach the taste, a wheatgrass shot provides a nutrient-rich burst of antioxidants straight to your system.

Wondering which wheatgrass supplement is the right choice for you? Today, we’re ranking the best wheatgrass supplements of 2019.


Antler Farms 100% Pure New Zealand Organic Wheat Grass

If you want pure, organic wheat grass from some of the highest-quality sources in the world, then the Antler Farms 100% Pure New Zealand Organic Wheat Grass is a great option. It’s priced at a premium (but still reasonable) rate, costing around $27 for 50 servings from Amazon. That’s relatively high for an organic wheatgrass powder (which is less potent than an organic wheatgrass juice powder). However, some are willing to pay a premium for the highest quality ingredients.

The wheatgrass is grown outdoors in New Zealand’s Canterbury Plains and then harvested at the peak of potency to produce deep-green, nutrient-rich wheatgrass packed with chlorophyll. The wheatgrass is cold processed, which means it’s dehydrated at a low temperature.

The only listed ingredient is 100% pure, raw, certified organic New Zealand wheatgrass powder. You can mix one or two scoops with water, juice, a shake, or a smoothie. The supplement is one of the highest-rated wheatgrass formulas on Amazon with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5.

Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass

Amazing Grass’s Organic Wheat Grass supplement is one of Amazon’s bestselling supplements in the category. It comes in the form of a powder. Many people mix it with water, although you can also easily mix it with a smoothie or shake.

The formula is also USDA Organic Certified. Plus, it claims to provide a strong daily dose of vegetables in just one scoop. Some customers also appreciate the plastic tub, which may be more convenient for scooping and storage than a sealed bag of wheatgrass powder.

Amazing Grass advertises a range of benefits with their supplement, including the fact that it provides natural energy, promotes detoxification, helps alkalize, aids digestion, and supports immunity. There are about 30 scoops in each container, with container priced at around $20, making this one of the more affordable options on this list despite still being a high-quality supplement.

Terrasoul Wheatgrass Juice Powder

Terrasoul Superfoods makes a wheatgrass juice powder that delivers a hefty dose of concentrated nutrients. Thee dark green powder is also USDA Organic Certified. All ingredients are grown and processed in the United States.

The formula is packaged into a resealable plastic bag. Multiple sizes are available from Amazon and other retailers, making this formula a great option for bulk users who want to control their servings while still getting good value. A 5 oz bag containing 35 servings per container is priced at around $15, although 10 ounce and 20 ounce packages are also available.

Microingredients Superfoods Organic Wheatgrass Powder

Microingredients Superfoods makes a popular organic wheat grass powder supplement that claims to detoxify your body while providing a strong dose of vitamin K – similar to other supplements on this list.

The USDA Organic Certified formula is packaged into a resealable bag. Many reviewers report that the powder is easy to mix on its own: it’s processed very finely for maximum dissolvability in the liquid of your choice.

There are 76 scoops (3g per scoop) in each container, and the manufacturer recommends taking 1 to 2 scoops per day with water, juice, a smoothie, or even milk. A tub is priced at $17, making this another affordable wheatgrass supplement.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food 100% Organic Wheat Grass Juice

Garden of Life makes a USDA Organic Certified, non-GMO wheat grass juice formula. Each 30-serving canister is sold on Amazon for around $23. This is a juice powder and not just whole leaf grass powder. Garden of Life claims their juice powder delivers six times as much nutrient density as a whole leaf grass powder. Despite the higher concentration, you’re not paying a significant premium for this organic wheat grass juice powder.

There’s just one listed ingredient in the formula: 100% organic raw wheat grass juice powder sourced from farms in the United States.

One of the unusual things about the Garden of Life wheatgrass juice supplement is that the container is mostly empty: because it’s a highly concentrated juice powder, there’s less powder than you would find in a conventional wheatgrass powder container. However, Garden of Life has still – for some reason – used a normal-sized container.

Naturevibe Botanicals Organic Wheat Grass Powder

Naturevibe Botanicals offers a whole-leaf wheat grass powder that claims to be rich in chlorophyll, minerals, amino acids, calcium, vitamins, fiber, and various vitamins – just like most other wheatgrass supplements on this list. It’s also 100% USDA Organic Certified.

Some people use this formula in creative ways. They make guacamole with wheatgrass powder, for example, or a vanilla almond latte beverage. Recipes are listed on the Naturevibe Botanicals product page.

One of the drawbacks of this supplement is that it can be hard to find on Amazon. Sometimes, it’s for sale at a reasonable price and other times it’s unavailable.

Natural Elements Organic Wheat Grass Superfood Powder

This USDA Organic Certified wheatgrass powder is rich with protein, amino acids, chlorophyll, vitamins, and nutrients. Natural Elements claims their supplement can boost your immune system, brain, and digestive health by providing high levels of antioxidants.

Each container includes 57 servings (57 scoops, with each scoop being around 3.5g of one teaspoon) for $16 from Amazon. The supplement is also one of the best-rated wheatgrass powders on Amazon with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 (although there are only around 70 customer reviews).

Bulksupplements Organic Wheat Grass Powder has made a name for itself selling bulk, powdered versions of trendy nutritional supplements. The company’s wheatgrass formula is much the same. It’s available in 250g ($15), 1kg ($31), or 5kg ($131) varieties. There’s just one listed ingredient: organic wheat grass.

If you are looking for a simple, no-nonsense wheatgrass supplement available at a very reasonable rate, then the Bulksupplements Organic Wheat Grass Powder is a great option – especially if you’re buying 5kg or more at a time, in which case you get a huge discount.

Green Foods Wheat Grass Shots

Green Foods offers an “organic and raw” wheat grass shot supplement that consists of 100% juice powder. Yes, this supplement calls itself a shot, but it’s a powder just like most other supplements on this list.

There’s only one listed ingredient: powdered wheatgrass juice. The formula also has an excellent nutrition profile due to the highly concentrated nature of the powder. There are 50 servings in each container at a price of around $26. The supplement promises to revitalize, purify, and alkalize your body using the power of USDA Organic Certified wheatgrass.

Sari Foods 100% Pure Organic Wheatgrass Powder

Sari Foods Company makes a 100% pure, organic wheatgrass powder advertised as an “alkalizing green superfood” that delivers “energizing, detoxifying” ingredients “bursting with goodness”. The wheatgrass is grown from organic sources in the United States.

Each package is priced at around $24, and you get 43 servings in each container, making this a middle-to-high range wheatgrass supplement (although still relatively affordable). The formula is also gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, Kosher, Halal, and pesticide and herbicide free.

Pines Organic Wheat Grass

Some people can’t stand the taste of wheatgrass powder or wheatgrass shots. That’s okay! Want to enjoy the benefits of wheatgrass without tasting it? Pines makes an organic wheat grass powder supplement that uses capsules instead of powder. Each 1400 capsule package is priced at around $52. You’ll need to take 7 tablets for one serving, so there are 200 servings per container, making this still a relatively affordable supplement.

To condense powdered wheat grass into a tablet, Pines had to use filler ingredients like silica and organic rice extract along with organic wheat grass.

It doesn’t have the strongest nutritional profile compared to some of the nutrient-dense powders on this list. Some will also find it annoying to take seven tablets per day. However, if you can’t stomach a wheatgrass shot but still want the benefits of wheatgrass, then this may be the right option.

Dr. Berg’s Raw Wheat Grass Juice Powder and Wheat Grass Superfood Raw Juice Powder

With an average rating of 4.5 stars and more than 750 customer reviews on Amazon, Dr. Berg’s wheatgrass supplements are some of the bestselling wheatgrass supplements on Amazon. There are two main varieties, including the Raw Wheat Grass Juice Powder and the Wheat Grass Superfood Raw Juice Powder. Although the listings are separate, they appear to be identical supplements.

Each one teaspoon serving (60 servings per container) consists exclusively of organic raw wheatgrass juice powder. It’s important to note the difference between wheat grass powder and wheat grass juice powder. Juice powders tends to be more highly concentrated.

In fact, the manufacturer claims each teaspoon is equivalent to 14 shots of 100% pure raw wheat grass juice. You’ll pay a small premium for that, however, paying around $42 for a package with 60 servings.

Garden Greens Wheat Grass with Real Ginger Extract

Garden Greens calls its wheatgrass juice “liquid sunshine” because of its high content of chlorophyll. The supplement is also rich with vitamins C and K and has active digestive enzymes. Each two tablespoon serving (32 servings per container) includes 600mg of organic wheat grass juice powder and 50mg of ginger root. Other, inactive ingredients include purified water, glycerin, natural flavors, and some preservatives.

You can spoon the two tablespoons into your mouth directly. Or, you can mix them with 6 fluid ounces of cold water and drink it like that. The formula consists of freeze dried fresh young wheatgrass and real ginger.

Kivalife Wheatgrass Juice

Kivalife Wheatgrass Juice is a popular product on Amazon. Unlike most other supplements on this list, this supplement comes in the form of a juice – not a powder. You can buy a pack of 10 from Amazon. Just pop open the top then drink the shot – just like a wheatgrass shot you would order at a juice bar. Each shot is equivalent to 36g of fresh wheatgrass.

Some of the advertised benefits of the shot include cleansing the body of toxins, acting as a natural “blood builder” and detox agent, and flooding your body with valuable antioxidants.

It’s important to note that this shot contains far more than just wheatgrass juice. 30% of the liquid is wheatgrass juice. The remaining ingredients are, in descending order, water, aloe vera juice, coriander juice, lemon juice (6%), honey (6%), lemon peel extract, and a preservative called E211.

If you don’t mind paying a premium for a ready-to-drink shot, and you find it hard to drink a pure wheatgrass beverage or formula, then Kivalife Wheatgrass Juice may be the right option for you.

Starwest Botanicals Organic Wheatgrass Powder

Starwest Botanicals makes an organic wheat grass powder that originally comes from China, although it’s still labeled as USDA Organic Certified because its certified organic by QAI “in accordance with” USDA Organic standards. The formula is packaged into a 1 pound foil bag. You can buy a bag on Amazon for around $18. The supplement is also Kosher Certified.

One bizarre thing about the Starwest Botanicals Organic Wheatgrass Powder supplement is that certain bags are required to have frightening warnings on it: bags of this product sold to residents in California will have a warning label saying, “This product contains a chemical known to cause cancer and birth defects.” The Amazon image for the supplement does not contain this warning label, but you will receive the product with the warning label if ordering it to California.

Starwest’s official website has more information about the warning label. They claim products are tested for lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, and it’s possible their supplement contains very trace amounts of one of these ingredients. However, they also claim to test all of their ingestible products themselves and have found no safety issues.

Controversial warning aside, Starwest Botanicals is a well-known and reputable supplement provider that makes a good wheatgrass supplement at a reasonable price.

Our Rankings

At first glance, wheatgrass supplements seem to be fairly similar. Most promise to contain organic wheatgrass that delivers a rich blend of alkalizing nutrients, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.

But when you take a closer look, it’s clear to see there are some distinct differences between wheatgrass supplements. Our editorial team researched each wheatgrass supplement in great detail, then ranked them based on the following factors:

Juice Versus Whole Leaf Powder: Wheatgrass supplements can be separated into two main categories, including juice powders or whole leaf powders. Juice powders are about 6 times more concentrated than whole leaf powders, but they’re also more expensive.

Wheatgrass Source: Generally, we preferred USDA Organic Certified (or equivalent) wheatgrass sources. Most major wheatgrass supplements meet organic certification standards.

Additional Ingredients: Most wheatgrass supplements above had just one listed ingredient – wheatgrass powder. However, some of the supplements added additional powders, juices, flavors, preservatives, fillers, binders, and other compounds. We preferred pure wheatgrass supplements, although we also included a range of supplements with different ingredients, as long as they were proven to be beneficial.

Nutritional Profile: We verified the wheatgrass supplements above delivered a strong nutrient profile of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and other beneficial ingredients.

Label Transparency: We dislike when manufacturers hide formulas behind proprietary labels. We preferred wheatgrass supplements with transparent labels and clearly-listed ingredients, sources, and dosages.

Price and Value: We understand people have different budgets. We tried to list supplements for all budgets, including lower-end and higher-end wheatgrass supplements. Even on the premium-priced supplements, we made sure the formula offered good value.

Advertised Benefits: Some wheatgrass supplement manufacturers make bold claims about their supplements, suggesting they can cure cancer and prevent any disease. We appreciated honest, legal marketing of any health benefits.

After analyzing the above factors, we separated our supplements into the rankings above after hours of deliberation.

Who Should Take Wheatgrass?

Many people take wheatgrass because of its purported health benefits. These health benefits come from wheatgrass’s chlorophyll content, vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes. Together, these nutrients flood your body with potentially beneficial nutritional support.

Some people take wheatgrass to boost their immune system, for example. Antioxidants are known for reducing inflammation throughout the body, potentially reducing your risk of diseases and illnesses. Many of the supplements above advertise immune system support as a primary benefit.

Other people take wheatgrass shots to boost digestive health. Wheatgrass has digestive enzymes that can help your body process certain foods.

Overall, wheatgrass is prized for all-around superfood-style health and wellness benefits. It’s a nutrient-rich, antioxidant-rich food that may be able to support healthy systems throughout your body. That’s why people take wheatgrass.

But is wheatgrass backed up by real scientific evidence? Or is this just another over-hyped, trendy nutritional supplement ingredient? Let’s take a closer look at some of the major wheatgrass studies performed to date.

Wheatgrass Benefits

Wheatgrass comes from the same plant as wheat and flour. However, it’s harvested at a different time, and that makes a huge difference in the final product.

Instead of waiting until the plant is fully grown, wheatgrass manufacturers harvest the plant when it’s a green, grassy shoot – before it has become a grain. During this time, wheatgrass contains high levels of vitamins E and K along with other essential micronutrients.

It’s also rich with antioxidants like chlorophyll, which is the chemical that gives certain plants a vibrant, green color.

Multiple studies have reinforced the inflammation-fighting power of wheatgrass. This study performed by researchers in India, for example, showed that wheatgrass could attack, reduce, and prevent dietary inflammation, which is inflammation caused by poor dieting and unhealthy foods or beverages.

In the study, researchers gave rabbits an obesity-inducing high-fat diet, then tracked the levels of a number of blood biomarkers of inflammation. Rabbits who received the wheatgrass supplement had lower levels of leukocytes and neutrophils, both of which are closely linked to systemic inflammation throughout the body.

A similar study published in 2014 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences found there were similar anti-inflammatory benefits in rats. Compared to a placebo, wheatgrass supplements reduced inflammation and pain in rats who were given a paw injury. Based on these results, researchers believe wheatgrass’s anti-inflammatory benefits extend beyond just dietary inflammation: they could also prevent inflammation associated with physical injuries, arthritis, and tissue damage, among other inflammation sources.

A study from 2006 showed that wheatgrass could significantly reduced DNA damage. Researchers in Italy induced DNA damage using a common oxidative agent, then applied wheatgrass or a placebo. Researchers found that the antioxidant powers of wheatgrass inhibited DNA damage.

Furthermore, researchers in that same study found that wheatgrass harvested at different points in its growth cycle had different levels of chlorophyll and antioxidants. Wheatgrass was particularly rich when harvested during the germination phase, for example, which is right when the bright green shoots of wheatgrass emerge from the wheat seed. As the wheatgrass plant matures, antioxidant content drops.

Because of the results of this study, many people prefer professional wheatgrass supplements as opposed to “grow your own wheatgrass” kits. It’s hard to harvest wheatgrass at the optimal time for antioxidant content. Wheatgrass supplement manufacturers, meanwhile, have the process down to a science.

There are also various health benefits associated with vitamin K. Wheatgrass is rich in vitamin K, which is important because vitamin K is rare in other foods and supplements. Despite its rarity, vitamin K plays a crucial role in multiple bodily functions. Exciting new research has increasingly connected wheatgrass to cardiovascular benefits.

One of the biggest studies connecting vitamin K and heart health benefits was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009. Researchers separated a group of 400 healthy adults into two groups, one of which received just a multivitamin and another that received a multivitamin plus vitamin K.

Researchers followed up with the group after three years. They found the vitamin K group had slower progression of coronary artery disease. Researchers believe this effect was attributed to vitamin K’s role in regulating calcium distribution in the body.

Some believe wheatgrass can reduce symptoms of diabetes. Certain studies have shown wheatgrass can slow the progress of insulin resistance, which is one of the most common problems associated with type two diabetes.

When you are resistant to insulin, your body stops responding to increasing levels of the hormone insulin, which means your blood sugar levels remain high. Certain studies have shown that the high vitamin K content of wheatgrass could reverse insulin resistance.

A study published in Diabetes Care, for example, explored whether or not vitamin K intake could reduce the progression of insulin resistance. Typically, insulin resistance gets chronically worse over time.

After three years of supplementation with vitamin K, older adults reduced progression of insulin resistance. This could make vitamin K supplements and wheatgrass an effective tool for regulating diabetes in the future.

One of the most promising benefits of wheatgrass, however, is in the way it potentially fights cancer. This study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research in 2017, for example, examined how wheatgrass’s high chlorophyll content could combat cancer cells. Researchers concluded that cancer cell inhibition increased significantly (from 15.6% to 41.4%) over a 24 hour period, and that “the therapeutic use of wheatgrass holds great promise in management of OSCC [Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma]”.

A separate study from 2006 led to similar anti-cancer benefits. Researchers in India studied the effectiveness of wheatgrass in 400 terminally ill solid-organ cancer patients between ages 22 and 87 over a three year period.

After three years of wheatgrass supplementation, patients taking wheatgrass experienced significant improvements in hemoglobin, total protein, and albumin levels. They also enhanced performance from 50% to 70% on the Karnovsky Scale (which runs from 100 to 0, with 100 being ‘perfect’ health and 0 being death). Because of this, researchers concluded that wheatgrass juice “is an excellent alternative to blood transfusion.”

Other cancer-fighting benefits have been seen in breast cancer patients. Researchers in Israel analyzed the effects of wheatgrass juice on patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. They found that wheatgrass juice, when used in conjunction with chemotherapy, helped maintain high levels of blood cells and reduced the need for additional supportive medications. Their work was published in the Nutrition and Cancer in 2007.

This 2009 study on wheatgrass, meanwhile, analyzed the effects of wheatgrass on active distal ulcerative colitis. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 21 patients, researchers found wheat grass juice “appeared effective and safe as a single or adjuvant treatment of active distal UC [ulcerative colitis].”

Overall, there are many benefits associated with wheatgrass in the studies performed to date. Like other antioxidant-rich foods, wheatgrass may reduce the risk of a range of diseases and illnesses simply by fighting inflammation. However, its exact mechanisms are unknown, and largescale studies involving humans remain relatively uncommon – so the benefits are far from proven.

Side Effects of Wheatgrass

Generally, wheatgrass is well-tolerated in all major studies.

Interestingly, wheatgrass is even (technically) gluten-free. The plant is harvested before it becomes wheat grain. In theory, it should be okay for people with celiac disease to consume. However, those who are extremely gluten sensitive may want to be cautious. Depending on the time the wheatgrass plant was processed and the processing technique used, certain gluten could show up in the final product.

The National Celiac Association recommends avoiding wheatgrass even when the supplement is labeled as gluten-free. A gluten-free labels requires gluten content of less than 20 parts per million.

However, some wheatgrass supplement manufacturers go the extra mile by testing their formula based on the R5 ELISA test. Wheatgrass supplements that pass the R5 ELISA test should be okay for those with celiac or gluten intolerance to consume.

Wheatgrass Dosage

Generally, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage on your wheatgrass supplement packaging.

If you are taking a wheatgrass juice powder, then you can use a lower dose than a normal wheatgrass powder. You may use a teaspoon or tablespoon, for example, instead of a scoop.

Although there isn’t a specific daily recommended dose of wheatgrass, health authorities recommend that men over 20 get 138mcg of vitamin K per day and women get 122mcg per day.

Check the label and see how much wheatgrass powder is recommended for your supplement.

FAQs About Wheatgrass

Q: What is wheatgrass?

A: Wheatgrass is a the freshly sprouted first leaves of the common wheat plant. The grass is used as a food, drink, or dietary supplement. You can find it served freeze-dried or fresh, which is different from wheat malt, which is dried convectively.

Q: How do I take wheatgrass?

A: You can buy wheatgrass from a juice bar or make it yourself using a juicer at home. Alternatively, you can take a wheatgrass juice powder (a powdered form of the juice) or a whole leaf wheatgrass powder (a powdered form of the whole leaf of the wheatgrass). The powders can be mixed with water, a shake, or the beverage of your choice.

Q: Why is wheatgrass popular?

A: Wheatgrass is rich with antioxidants like chlorophyll. It’s also nutrient-rich: it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and other compounds. It provides a strong daily dose of nutrients while also flooding your body with antioxidants. Certain studies have shown that wheatgrass can reduce the risk of cancer and inhibit cancer cell activity. However, more largescale studies on humans need to be done to confirm any health benefits.

Q: Can I grow my own wheatgrass?

A: You can grow your own wheatgrass like any plant. You can also buy your own grow-your-own-wheatgrass kits that can be grown in any indoor environment. A kit can be as small as a deck of cards and you can conveniently throw the grass into a juicer or blender.

Q: Is wheatgrass safe for someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance?

A: Theoretically, wheatgrass is gluten-free. The plant is harvested before it becomes a wheat grain and there is no gluten inside the sprout. Many wheatgrass supplements are labeled as gluten-free. However, celiac organizations like the National Celiac Association do not recommend taking wheatgrass because of the potential for cross-contamination.

Final Word

Wheatgrass is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, chlorophyll, and other potentially beneficial compounds. While some studies have indicated disease-fighting benefits of wheatgrass, health benefits have not been proven in major, large-scale human studies. However, early studies on wheatgrass are promising in terms of reducing the risk of cancer, inhibiting disease and illness, and potentially preventing other issues throughout the body.

The supplements listed above are some of the best wheatgrass supplements available today. Whether buying a powder or liquid wheatgrass supplement, you may be able to enjoy powerful health benefits with a good wheatgrass supplement.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Best Glucosamine Supplements of 2019

Health Support



Glucosamine is a popular supplement used to maintain healthy joints. Glucosamine seems to work by reducing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in your joints. It may also help to rebuild damaged cartilage and slow the loss of joint space caused by arthritis.

For these reasons and more, many arthritis and joint pain sufferers love taking glucosamine supplements.

Today, most research on glucosamine is related to its treatment of osteoarthritis, the degenerative condition that reduces the cushioning capabilities of the cartilage in your joints.

Glucosamine has proven benefits for reducing joint pain. But which glucosamine supplement is the best one available today? Our editorial team compiled the rankings below to help you pick the best glucosamine supplement of 2019.


Kirkland Signature Glucosamine with MSM

Kirkland Signature Glucosamine with MSM is one of the best-value glucosamine supplements available today. Like other Kirkland Signature products, this glucosamine supplement provides a hefty dose of glucosamine and MSM without breaking the bank.

Each tablet of Kirkland Signature Glucosamine with MSM provides 750mg of glucosamine and 750mg of MSM. A single bottle of the formula contains 375 (!) tablets.

Here’s the best part: you don’t have to be a Costco member to buy Kirkland Signature Glucosamine. It’s widely available on Amazon, where the supplement has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 with over 1,600 customer reviews.

Kirkland Signature Glucosamine with MSM, like other glucosamine supplements on this list, claims to provide two primary benefits: it cushions joints and supports movement; and it also helps promote healthy cartilage. All you need to do is take two tablets per day.

Vimerson Health Glucosamine with Chondroitin Turmeric MSM Boswellia

Vimerson Health’s Glucosamine supplement is an “Amazon’s Choice” product when you search for “arthritis”. With 2,500+ customer reviews and an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5, it’s also one of the best-rated glucosamine supplements available today.

Part of the popularity of this supplement comes from the fact that a number of different trendy ingredients are packaged into one convenient supplement. You not only get glucosamine and MSM, for example, but you also get chondroitin and turmeric. These ingredients are proven antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that may be able to significantly reduce joint pain.

Like the Kirkland Signature supplement at the top of our list, Vimerson Health’s supplement promises to promote joint health and comfort, support cartilage and joint flexibility, encourage overall health, and increase joint mobility. It’s priced slightly higher than the Kirkland Signature glucosamine supplement, at around $27 for 90 capsules (30 servings). It also has a much lower dose of MSM (25mg per 3 capsules). However, the glucosamine dosage is in line with other supplements (1500mg per 3 capsules).

Schiff Glucosamine

Schiff Glucosamine contains 1500mg of glucosamine in each serving along with 3.3mg of hyaluronic acid. Some glucosamine supplements contain hyaluronic acid because it’s believed to help with the cartilage regeneration properties of glucosamine.

Another thing that makes Schiff Glucosamine one of the most popular glucosamine supplements on Amazon and other retailers is the price: you’ll pay just $9 for 150 tablets (50 servings). Each 3 tablet serving includes 1500mg of glucosamine, 1500mg of MSM, and 3.3mg of hyaluronic acid. The dosage is similar to the Kirkland Signature supplement, but with the added benefit of hyaluronic acid.

With over 1,400 reviews on Amazon, Schiff Glucosamine has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, making it another popular, well-rated, and best-selling glucosamine supplement that should preserve joint health.

Arazo Nutrition Joint Support Advanced Formulation

Arazo Nutrition offers their version of a joint support supplement by mixing glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM together with turmeric, boswellia, and hyaluronic acid. It’s like they combined the ingredients from every other glucosamine supplement on this list into one convenient supplement.

There are 180 tablets (60 servings) in each container. Each 3 tablet serving includes 1500mg of glucosamine sourced from shrimp and crab shells along with 1200mg of chondroitin, 1000mg of MSM, 100mg of boswellia serrata extract, 100mg of turmeric, and 25mg of hyaluronic acid.

Arazo Nutrition claims their supplement can boost joint mobility, repair cartilage, protect and cushion movement, and ease stiff joints. The company also claims their formula can restore strength, lubrication, and collagen in the joints. Some might dislike the addition of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herbal extracts, although others find ingredients like boswellia and turmeric to be beneficial.

Made In Utah Glucosamine Chondroitin Turmeric & MSM

Salt Lake Supplements offers a popular joint health supplement under the Made In Utah brand. The supplement contains glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, and MSM to help keep your cartilage and joints healthy. The company describes their formula as a “holistic blend of all-natural ingredients” that support joint health.

Priced at around $11 for a bottle containing 20 servings, Made In Utah Glucosamine is one of the highest-priced options on our list. That higher price tag, however, gets you ingredients you don’t find in other joint health supplements.

Each 3 capsule serving of Made In Utah Glucosamine includes 1500mg of glucosamine, 200mg of boswellia extract, 150mg of chondroitin sulfate, 150mg of turmeric, 25mg of quercetin, 25mg of methionine, 25mg of MSM, and 25mg of bromelain. It’s all packaged into a vegetable cellulose capsule with minimal added ingredients.

Zenwise Advanced Strength Joint Support

Zenwise Health Advanced Strength Joint Support is one of Amazon’s best-selling joint support supplements. With over 2,500 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, it’s also one of the best-rated supplements. The formula is priced at $25 for 60 servings, which is more expensive than most other supplements on this list.

In exchange for that high price tag, you get strong doses of various joint support ingredients. Each 3 tablet serving includes 1500mg of glucosamine, 1200mg of chondroitin, 1000mg of MSM, 100mg of boswellia, 100mg of curcumin, and 25mg of hyaluronic acid.

Some of the benefits advertised by Zenwise include better hip and joint health, improved mobility and flexibility, and improved joint lubrication and strength.

NutriFlair Premium Glucosamine Turmeric MSM

NutriFlair’s Premium Glucosamine Chondroitin Turmeric & MSM with Boswellia Extract supplement claims to reduce joint pain, promote joint comfort and mobility, support cartilage and joint health, and preserve bone health. A bottle of 90 capsules (30 servings) is priced at around $14 on Amazon, making it higher-priced than most other options on this list but in line with the Zenwise and Made In Utah glucosamine supplements above.

NutriFlair’s glucosamine supplement contains similar dosages to the two supplements listed above as well: you get 1500mg of glucosamine in each 3 capsule serving along with 150mg of chondroitin, 150mg of turmeric, and 200mg of boswellia, among other ingredients. Altogether, the ingredients add up to 2100mg of joint support formula.

NutriFlair isn’t the most popular or best-selling glucosamine supplement on Amazon. However, it offers similar high-quality formulations to the two supplements listed above.

NutriRise Glucosamine Chondritin Turmeric & MSM

NutriRise’s formula is suspiciously similar to NutriFlair’s formula above. Each 3 capsule serving contains 2100mg of glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, and MSM to stimulate joint mobility, strengthen cartilage, and support joint health.

The dosages are virtually identical to NutriFlair’s glucosamine supplement: you get 1500mg of glucosamine, 200mg of boswellia, 150mg of chondroitin, and 150mg of turmeric in each 3 capsule serving, for example.

Pricing is also similarly high: you’ll pay $16 for a bottle containing 30 capsules. However, if you like the idea of combining glucosamine with herbal extracts, turmeric, and other ingredients, then NutriRise’s supplement may be a good choice.

NOW Glucosamine

NOW makes dozens of trendy health supplements sold on Amazon and other major retailers. With an average rating of 4.5 stars and 560+ customer reviews, NOW Glucosamine is one of the best-rated glucosamine supplements on Amazon.

The formula is priced at around $13 for a 90 capsule (30 serving) bottle. Each serving contains 1500mg of glucosamine, 1200mg of chondroitin, and 300mg of MSM. The dosages and price don’t quite compete with the options at the top of our list in terms of value. However, this is still a great glucosamine joint support supplement at a reasonable price.

Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM with OptiMSM

Doctor’s Best, like NOW, makes a wide range of popular supplements on Amazon. If you’re looking for an affordable glucosamine supplement with a surprisingly strong dose, however, then the Doctor’s Best glucosamine supplement quietly delivers.

Each 240 count (60 serving) package is priced at around $20. Each 4 capsule serving includes 1500mg of glucosamine, 1200mg of chondroitin, and 1000mg of MSM. These are all standard ingredients among glucosamine supplements. However, Doctor’s Best also includes small doses (4% to 8% Daily Value) of chloride, sodium, and potassium.

The main drawback with the Doctor’s Best supplement is that you need to take four capsules per day instead of two or three.

Amazon Brand Solimo Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex with MSM

Amazon has its own glucosamine supplement under the Solimo brand. The supplement is one of the most affordable options on this list, priced at $19 for 240 tablets (120 servings). Each 2 tablet serving includes 1500mg of glucosamine, 100mg of boswellia, and 1103mg of chondroitin/MSM.

If you’re looking for a barebones glucosamine supplement that delivers a high dose of all its ingredients in just two capsules and at a reasonable price, then it’s tough to compete with the Amazon Solimo glucosamine supplement.

BioSchwartz Maximum Strength Glucosamine MSM & Chondroitin

BioSchwartz Maximum Strength Glucosamine MSM & Chondroitin is one of Amazon’s best-selling glucosamine supplements. The formula contains similar ingredients to most other supplements on this list, but it also contains a unique ingredient called FruiteX-B (calcium fructoborate), a proprietary formula that purportedly boosts bioavailability.

The main problem with BioSchwartz’s glucosamine supplement is that the company does not disclose its individual ingredient dosages. We know there’s 2000mg of glucosamine, MSM, turmeric, boswellia, and other ingredients, for example, but we don’t get individual breakdowns of each one.

Bluebonnet Glucosamine Chondroitin Plus MSM

Bluebonnet’s Glucosamine Chondroitin Plus MSM supplement includes 120 capsules (40 servings) in each bottle at a price of around $26, making it one of the highest-priced supplements on our list. Based on that price, you would expect to find premium ingredients inside. However, the supplement seems identical to most other options on this list.

Each 3 capsule serving contains 1000mg of glucosamine, for example, along with 500mg of chondroitin and 500mg of MSM. There’s also 500mg (556% of your Daily Value) of vitamin C – something we don’t see with any other joint supplement.

Nature’s Bounty Glucosamine Chondroitin

Nature’s Bounty makes a decent glucosamine supplement, although it’s priced slightly higher than most other options on this list for a lower dosage. The supplement is priced at $25 for a 110 capsule (55 serving) bottle, with each serving containing 1100mg of glucosamine along with vitamin C (333% Daily Value), manganese (100% DV), and sodium (1% DV).

Overall, the formula claims to support key structural components in cartilage while also boosting collagen formation (thanks to vitamin C).

Vitabreeze Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM & Turmeric

Vitabreeze describes its glucosamine supplement as a “triple strength formula” because it contains three added ingredients beyond glucosamine. Each bottle of the supplement includes 62 servings (250 capsules).

Key ingredients include 1500mg of glucosamine sulfate, 1000mg of chondroitin, 600mg of MSM, 300mg of turmeric, and 84mg of chloride. Those are some of the highest dosages on this list so far – especially the turmeric dose. You also don’t pay as much of a premium for the Vitabreeze formula as you do with other supplements: it’s priced at $29 for 62 servings.

Our Rankings

We’d forgive you for thinking all glucosamine supplements are pretty much the same: that’s what we expected before diving into our rankings. All of the supplements above contain some dosage of glucosamine, but they also contain much different levels of added ingredients, herbal extracts, and other formulas that could support joint health in various ways.

With that in mind, here’s how our editorial team compiled the rankings above:

Dosage: Glucosamine seems to be most effective when used at a dose between 1000mg and 1500mg per day. We focused on supplements that used that dose. We also took the dosage of MSM, chondroitin, turmeric, and other ingredients into account, although the dose of glucosamine was most important.

Other Ingredients: Many formulas above contain just glucosamine and chondroitin. Some formulas add MSM, turmeric, and boswellia to the mix. Others add vitamins and minerals. All of the supplements above contain only proven ingredients. We analyzed each ingredient profile to verify that they used dosages known to support joint health.

Delivery Method: All of the glucosamine supplements listed above are packaged into capsules or tablets. However, some formulas were so packed with binders and fillers that it took 4 capsules to deliver the same dose other supplements delivered in 2 capsules.

Price and Value: There’s no point in buying a glucosamine supplement if it’s $200 more expensive than similar supplements. We took price and value into consideration in all our rankings. We were also careful to display an option for all budgets. The glucosamine supplements above tended to range in price from $5 to $30 for a 30-day serving, so prices varied widely.

Overall, the best-performing supplements in our rankings were supplements that contained a high dose of glucosamine while minimizing extra ingredients.

Who Should Take Glucosamine?

All types of people take glucosamine. However, it’s particularly popular among those with joint pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, previous joint injuries, and similar conditions.

Some people swear by glucosamine’s ability to reduce joint health, improve mobility, and slow down the spread of cartilage damage. Some people even claim that glucosamine can reverse this damage. They take it daily to live a life free of joint pain.

Many people also appreciate that glucosamine can relieve joint pain without the harmful side effects of NSAIDs and other pain relievers. Glucosamine might go to work more slowly, but it’s easier on your system than NSAIDs.

Not everyone who takes glucosamine supplements has arthritis. Some people take glucosamine for old sports injuries or joint injuries, for example. If you have a nagging injury or pain that never fully healed, then glucosamine may be able to help.

Does glucosamine really work? Or is it just an over-hyped joint health ingredient backed by limited science? Keep reading to discover some of the scientific evidence behind glucosamine.

Benefits of Glucosamine

Glucosamine has been extensively studied for its ability to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation. Glucosamine is simply a chemical combination of an amino acid and a sugar. It’s a complex carbohydrate that appears to specifically reduce joint pain.

The reason we feel joint pain is simple: typically, joint pain is caused by irritation, inflammation, or degeneration of the cartilage surface inside your joints. Glucosamine may reduce these symptoms by enhancing the water retention ability of your cartilage. Your cartilage holds onto more water naturally, helping your joints stay more lubricated.

Researchers also believe that glucosamine could help new cartilage tissue grow within the body. Some research shows that glucosamine increases the synthesis of cartilage tissue, reducing joint pain by helping your body grow new cartilage between your bones.

Science first started analyzing the benefits of glucosamine in the 1980s.

This study published in Pharmatherapeutica in 1981, for example, analyzed the effects of 400mg of glucosamine on 30 patients with osteoarthritis. Patients received glucosamine via intravenous or intramuscular injection for the first week, followed by oral supplements 6 x 250mg capsules per day) for the next two weeks.

After 7 days of glucosamine supplementation, patients treated with glucosamine had improved joint pain and mobility “to a faster and greater extent” than the control group.

Where this study really amazed researchers, however, was in the maintenance phase. After receiving intravenous glucosamine supplementation, participants switched to oral supplements. During the maintenance phase, the control group’s symptom scores reduced almost to the pre-treatment level, while the glucosamine group’s scores actually improved.

Based on the results of this landmark study, researchers recommended that “oral treatment with pure glucosamine sulphate should be considered as basic therapy for the management of primary or secondary degenerative osteoarthritis disorders.”

Of course, this study only involved 30 people. What happens when a group of 212 people are tested? In this study published in The Lancet in 2001, researchers gave half the group a 1500mg glucosamine supplement and the other half a placebo. Subjects were followed for three years, with the progress of their osteoarthritis evaluated by x-rays.

At the conclusion of the three year study, researchers found that the group taking glucosamine had no joint space narrowing, while the control group had significantly decreased joint space.

Based on these results, researchers suggested that glucosamine was effective for slowing down (or even stopping entirely) the progression of osteoarthritis in breaking down the gaps between joints.

Glucosamine appears to work by encouraging cartilage to stay healthy. Glucosamine appears to help your cartilage retain water or synthesize new tissue, for example. This study published in 1998 by a group in Italy reinforced this effect: the group exposed human cartilage tissue from the head of the femur to a solution containing glucosamine. Researchers found that glucosamine increased the synthesis of a protein called proteoglycan. This is the same protein that makes up a significant amount of your cartilage.

What’s even more amazing is that this protein production continued to increase for 12 days after exposure to glucosamine. Based on the results of this study, researchers believe glucosamine’s connection to protein production is one reason it reduces the loss of joint space.

This effect was observed again in a study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. That placebo-controlled study involved 600 subjects who took either glucosamine or a placebo for two years. At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that the glucosamine group had less joint narrowing than the control group.

Other people take glucosamine supplements to manage pain. Can glucosamine really reduce pain at a similar level to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs?

The paper we just mentioned above found that there was not a statistically significant difference in pain outcomes after patients took glucosamine for two years. The people who received the placebo reported the same amount of pain improvement as those taking the glucosamine supplement – which is strange considering the glucosamine group had reduced the rate of joint narrowing.

Other studies, however, have confirmed the ability of glucosamine to reduce pain. This meta-analysis performed by researchers in Boston analyzed 15 studies on glucosamine and osteoarthritis to determine a link between glucosamine and pain relief.

Researchers found that glucosamine had a proven ability to reduce pain. However, the effects weren’t as statistically significant as some studies claimed due to “quality issues and likely publication bias.” Nevertheless, researchers admitted that “some degree of efficacy [for pain relief] appears probable.”

Another study on the pain relief benefits of glucosamine analyzed the effects of glucosamine at reducing pain from old injuries. The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2003. Participants with prior, regular knee pain received 2000mg of glucosamine supplementation per day or a placebo, then were analyzed over a 12 week period. At the conclusion of the study, researchers found there were significant improvements in knee pain in the glucosamine group compared to the placebo group.

Interestingly, the study also found that the most significant improvements occurred within the first eight weeks of glucosamine supplementation. That means you’ll know within about two months whether or not glucosamine supplements will reduce your injury pain.

While glucosamine may reduce knee pain, it hasn’t proven to be as effective for lower back pain. This study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010, for example, analyzed the effects of glucosamine on patients with chronic low back pain and degenerative osteoarthritis of the lower back. Patients received 1500mg of glucosamine or a placebo for a one year period.

After one year, both groups reported slight improvements in back pain. However, there were no significant differences between the placebo and glucosamine group regarding low back pain. Based on the results of this study, researchers concluded that glucosamine was not helpful for lower back pain the same way it has been shown effective for knee pain and hip pain.

Overall, numerous studies on glucosamine have demonstrated its effectiveness at treating various aspects of joint pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Its pain relief benefits haven’t been observed in all studies, but many people swear by glucosamine’s ability to treat joint pain long-term.

Side Effects of Glucosamine

Glucosamine has been studied extensively since the 1980s. In all studies performed so far, glucosamine has been well-tolerated by participants involved in the above studies.

Few side effects have ever been reported, in fact. Many of the studies listed above have lasted for 2 or 3 years with no side effects reported.

The only side effect we’re aware of is that glucosamine supplements could be harmful to those with shellfish allergies. Glucosamine is derived from marine shells, so those with shellfish allergies should avoid it.

There are also reports that glucosamine could elevate international normalized ratio (INR) in individuals taking blood thinners like warfarin. Some reports also claim that glucosamine could interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Recommended Dosage of Glucosamine

Studies on glucosamine typically use a dose of 500mg to 1500mg per day.

The supplements listed above all match that dose, with most containing 1000mg to 1500mg of glucosamine per day.

Generally, it’s a good idea to follow the dose recommended by the manufacturer on your glucosamine supplement. We also recommend talking to a doctor to verify that glucosamine is the right choice for you.

Some studies show that your body can only absorb so much glucosamine per day, and going beyond a 1500mg dose does not lead to any added benefit.

FAQs About Glucosamine

Q: What is glucosamine?

A: Glucosamine is a combination of a sugar (“glucose”) and an amino acid (“amino”). It’s an amino sugar that is also a precursor to your body’s formation of proteins and lipids (fats). In other words, your body needs glucosamine to produce certain fats.

Q: Where does glucosamine come from?

A: Most of the glucosamine supplements on the market today source their glucosamine from crustacean exoskeletons – the shells of small organisms from the ocean. However, it’s also possible to derive glucosamine by fermenting rains like corn or wheat. Some manufacturers have started producing vegetarian and vegan-friendly glucosamine supplements made from corn or wheat.

Q: Is glucosamine approved as a drug?

A: In the United States, glucosamine is considered a supplement. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use in humans as a drug. As a supplement, glucosamine must be proven safe, although it does not have to be proven effective. In Europe, however, glucosamine is approved as a medical drug and several guidelines recommend using glucosamine to effectively and safely treat osteoarthritis.

Q: Why should I take glucosamine?

A: People take glucosamine for a variety of reasons. Some people take glucosamine to reduce general joint pain. Others use it to manage symptoms of a specific condition – like osteoarthritis. Some people just have a nagging injury or joint problem that never went away.

Q: Is glucosamine safe?

A: Glucosamine has been studied extensively since the 1980s. Some of the studies have lasted 2 or 3 years. In all of these studies, glucosamine has been well-tolerated. Side effects are rare. If you have shellfish allergies, then you may not want to take glucosamine (most commercial formulas are derived from marine exoskeletons).

Q: Is glucosamine vegan or vegetarian?

A: Most glucosamine supplements are not considered vegan or vegetarian because they contain the exoskeletons of marine organisms. However, some glucosamine producers now make corn-derived glucosamine supplements suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Q: Do glucosamine supplements improve joint health?

A: Studies show that glucosamine can increase protein generation in the cartilage between your joints, reducing the spread of degenerative joint conditions and improving mobility. Based on most research, glucosamine does seem to significantly improve joint health.

Q: Can glucosamine reduce pain?

A: Studies are mixed on the pain relieving properties of glucosamine. Some studies indicate that glucosamine can reduce pain significantly in patients with joint pain and osteoarthritis. Other studies have indicated no difference between glucosamine and a placebo. In the studies mentioned above, glucosamine was proven to be effective for pain relief in hip and knee pain, for example, but ineffective for low back pain relief.

Q: Can I get glucosamine from foods or other sources? Do I have to take glucosamine supplements?

A: Unlike with many other supplements, glucosamine is not found in any foods in a significant amount. Yes, glucosamine occurs naturally, but it’s not feasible to consume enough food to get the equivalent dose used in the studies above. Glucosamine supplements are the only practical way to get an effective dose of the ingredient.

Q: Why do all glucosamine supplements contain MSM?

A: Studies have shown that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) could enhance the biological efficacy of glucosamine. It helps your body absorb and utilize glucosamine. That’s why it’s often found in glucosamine supplements. However, more studies need to be done on the right dosage or ratio of glucosamine to MSM.

Q: What is glucosamine chondroitin?

A: Some supplements call themselves “glucosamine chondroitin” supplements. In reality, glucosamine and chondroitin are two different ingredients. It’s just a marketing term. However, chondroitin is similar to MSM in that it may enhance the efficacy of glucosamine when used in the right dosage.

Q: How does glucosamine work?

A: We don’t know for sure how glucosamine works. Some studies have shown glucosamine increases the production of certain proteins in the cartilage. Other studies show that it reduces joint shortening, but researchers don’t know how. Ultimately, the precise mechanisms behind glucosamine remain unknown.

Q: How long does it take glucosamine to work?

A: In the studies above, it typically took about 8 weeks for glucosamine to work. At minimum, you should give glucosamine 2 to 3 months to determine whether or not it’s effective for you. One of the studies linked above found that the biggest benefits of glucosamine were seen within two months of beginning supplementation.

Q: How long does glucosamine remain in my system?

A: The half-life of glucosamine is about 15 hours. After you take a full dose of glucosamine, half of it has been eliminated from your body within 15 hours. If you’ve been taking glucosamine regularly, then it may take a few days to eliminate it from your system.

Q: What time of day should I take glucosamine?

A: Glucosamine is long-lasting within your body, so the time of day at which you take the supplement isn’t really important. Typically, the supplements above recommend an equal dose taken three times per day (say, 1500mg split into three doses of 500mg each).

Final Word

Glucosamine is one of the most popular joint health supplements available today. It’s considered a drug in Europe and is recommended as a treatment for osteoporosis. In the United States, however, it’s not considered a drug by the FDA, which is why we see so many glucosamine supplements.

In numerous studies, glucosamine has shown to be effective for treating joint pain, improving joint mobility, and enhancing joint health in various ways. However, its precise mechanisms remain unknown.

Consider trying one of the glucosamine supplements listed above to protect yourself from joint degradation and joint pain.

Continue Reading