In this series we explore the ingredients in Natural Alchemy’s Yoga Formula – why they are good for the yogi, where they come from and what research has been done to support the merits of each ingredient.
Glucosamine Sulphate for the Yogi
Glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) are naturally-occuring amino sugars in the human body mostly concentrated around our joints, hair, nails and skin. They support proteins like collagen and elastin, altogether working to repair lesions and scars in connective tissues, as well as wrinkles on the skin.
Over time, as we age, our body produces less glucosamine. Injuries from yoga practice limit our motion and prevents us from mastering asanas. The lack of substantial glucosamine could take a torn ligament longer to recover.
Yoga Formula contains 1,200mg of Glucosamine sulphate – enough to help replace depleted nutrients in our joints that are not readily available without supplementation.
How does Glucosamine Sulphate work?
Glucosamine has different compositions: N-acetyl-glucosamine, glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulphate. Most studies done on glucosamine is on glucosamine sulphate – this is because sulphate functions as a stabilizer in the protein structures and is essential in producing cartilage.
Now cartilage is a very strong connective tissue, but unlike bones cartilage are not supported by blood vessels that deliver nutrients to tissues. For this reason, cartilage do not have the same regenerative capacity. That is why torn ligaments heal slower than cuts and wounds on the skin and flesh.
Still, cartilage are supported by a network of proteins and this is how they get nutrients. These naturally occurring nutrients diminish as we age, however, and a common proof of this is older people being prone to knee, hip and other joint problems.
As glucosamine already exists in the human body, replicating it through supplements replenishes depleted sulphates in the joints, thus making them more supple and offers natural relief from joint-related problems such as arthritis.
But the benefits do not stop at the joints. Glucosamine is also thought to help repair the connective tissues in the tummy which in turn promotes better digestion.(1)
Several studies have been made on glucosamine sulphate and by far the most notable (2) evidence on its safety and effectiveness apply to knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disorder.
(3) In a three-year trial 319 patients were given either 1,500mg of glucosamine sulphate per day or a placebo – ‘fake supplement’. Those who took glucosamine sulphate showed significant improvement on the long-term symptomatic progression of knee osteoarthritis.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database in California, USA also (4) classifies glucosamine sulphate ‘likely effective’ for osteoarthritis, rating it higher than chondroitin – another major component found in cartilage that supports water retention.
“Several studies evidence on its safety and effectiveness apply to knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disorder.”
Glucosamine sulphate is also considered a safe long-term alternative to non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
It’s worth noting that some glucosamine sulphate supplements are sourced from the shells of shellfish and shark cartilage. Yoga Formula uses vegetarian alternative sources to glucosamine sulphate derived from fermented wheat or corn.