Glucosamine vs. Turmeric: Which is Better for Joint Health?

  • By Performance Lab
  • 10 minute read
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Exercise hurts. But, thankfully, the more you exercise, the easier it gets.

That is until your joints start to hurt.

Then exercise not only hurts but it starts to hurt pretty bad. So much so that much of your exercise momentum quickly begins to dwindle...

...as you find it painful to do otherwise simple tasks, such as squatting, kneeling, gripping a bar, or even opening a door (I’m looking at you, elbow tendonitis).

Of course, with severe joint pain, taking a temporary break from exercise may be necessary to reduce joint pain.

But you don’t have to let it get to that point.

When the joints begin to get noticeably stiff and painful, many people turn to joint-soothing supplements and botanicals.

Two of the most popular supportive joint dietary supplements are Glucosamine, an amino sugar naturally concentrated in joint tissues, and Turmeric, a superfood spice rich with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory curcuminoids.

But if you had to choose between the two, which is better for promoting joint health: glucosamine or turmeric?

More importantly, do you have to decide between taking one or the other joint health supplements?

With Performance Lab® Flex, the best all-in-one joint support formula, the answer is no: you can enjoy the immense joint health benefits of both glucosamine and turmeric—and then some—without any issue, offering all the anti inflammatory properties.

Even so, it’s important to distinguish between the two in order to:

  • understand how both glucosamine and turmeric impact joint health
  • better understand how these ingredients can work together to synergistically elevate and assist inflammatory joint pain and performance.

In this article, we cover the joint biomechanisms of both glucosamine supplements and turmeric, as well as the best types of glucosamine and turmeric to look for in a joint support stack.

Glucosamine vs. Turmeric: Which is Better for Joint Health?

If glucosamine and turmeric possessed the same bioactive constituents targeting the same bio-pathways, there’d be a genuine case for one being better than the other.

But these popular joint supplement ingredients differ, both structurally and functionally.

Here’s a brief description of each Glucosamine and Turmeric:

Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally found in the connective tissues that surround and cushion the joints, including cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and synovial fluid.

Glucosamine hydrochloride is typically derived from shellfish and are often taken to combat collagen deterioration and protect synovial fluid, the lubricant that keeps joints moving smoothly and comfortably. Not all glucosamine is sourced from shellfish, as demonstrated by Performance Lab® Flex’s corn-sourced glucosamine.

Turmeric is a “superfood” spice that’s popular in the Ayurvedic health tradition and that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric’s yellow plant pigments are called curcuminoids, with the key bioactive curcuminoid being curcumin. People typically consume turmeric as a flavoring agent or as an anti-inflammatory supplement, with the intent of improving joint health, cognitive health, metabolic performance, and more.

Of the two, glucosamine seems more focused on improving joint health, whereas turmeric is a more multi-purpose “superfood.” Both are generally safe for daily supplementation. And both improve joint health and flexibility in their own ways.

Let’s take a look at the specific benefits of each, starting with:

Glucosamine Benefits

Though more direct and specific in its bioactivities, compared to turmeric’s multiple health benefits, glucosamine comes with a number of joint-related benefits, including:

Chondrocyte Support

The only cells located within cartilage tissue, chondrocytes produce and maintain the quasi-solid matrix that comprises cartilage’s uniquely cushy structure.

Both elastic and firm, cartilage requires healthy chondrocyte activity to stay flexible without diminishing and degrading into “brittle” degenerative conditions.

Glucosamine supports chondrocyte proliferation via the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, making glucosamine an essential supporter of chondrocyte activity and, by that token, cartilage health.

Proteoglycan Production

Found all connective tissues and the extracellular matrix (ECM), proteoglycans are a class of heavily glycosylated proteins produced by chondrocyte cells using glucosamine as precursor material.

When glucosamine levels are low, proteoglycan levels also suffer, resulting in the degeneration of articular cartilage.

Supplementing glucosamine benefits both chondrocyte proliferation and proteoglycan production in cartilage tissue, promoting cartilage repair and regeneration.

Synovia Protection

Cartilage keeps the joint well-cushioned and shock-absorbent, whereas synovia, or synovial fluid, keeps the joint well-lubricated.

As a viscous, non-Newtonian fluid with egg white-like consistency, synovia helps ease the bone-on-bone friction that occurs within the joint, keeping movement smooth and resilient to injury.

Much of joint pain can be attributed to inflammation of the synovia, making joint movement feel tender and painful.

Combined with chondroitin, glucosamine has been shown in research to help mitigate synovial fluid inflammation to provide “efficient pain relief in similar level with tramadol, a narcotic analgesic.”

The Combined Benefits of Glucosamine + Chondroitin

Glucosamine is often paired with chondroitin, a large molecule that weaves through the extracellular matrix of cartilage, for greater joint protection.

Whereas glucosamine assists with chondrocyte activity for an anabolic cartilage metabolism, chondroitin’s strong negative charge helps attract and sustain water in cartilage like a sponge.

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Together, these compounds synergize to promote cartilage recovery and hydration.

More on the Benefits of Glucosamine here.

Turmeric Benefits

Whereas glucosamine structurally supports connective tissue integrity within the joint, turmeric offers greater protection against joint-diminishing oxidative stress, inflammation, and enzymes.

Turmeric works by regulating:

Oxidative Stress (Free Radicals)

Free radicals (oxidative stress), the reactive chemical species associated with cellular damage, play a significant role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory joint issues—not to mention in other unwelcome consequences of stress and aging.

Within the joint, oxidative stress has been linked with inhibited proteoglycan synthesis and cartilage degradation.

By reducing oxidative stress in the joints (and other parts of the body), turmeric’s bioactive curcuminoids may significantly improve health and performance while protecting against the long-term deleterious effects of free radical damage.

COX-2 and MMP Enzymes

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) are two enzymes associated with joint tissue degradation.

Involved in the immune response, COX-2 is upregulated in inflamed joint tissues, where the enzyme’s proinflammatory effects may detrimentally impact joint health, whereas MMP weakens connective tissues by degrading extracellular matrix proteins.

By modulating COX-2 and MMP activity, turmeric proteins joint tissues (and many other bodily tissues) against the damaging effects of excess inflammation and connective tissue degradation.

Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs)

Known as glycotoxins, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are a diverse group of highly oxidant compounds that contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation linked to cardio issues, metabolic disorder, joint degradation, and more.

Highly concentrated in the modern diet, AGEs seem to stiffen connective tissues, resulting in impaired flexibility and increases joint pain.

By eliminating the effect of advanced glycation end-products, turmeric’s curcumin offers significant protective advantages for joint connective tissues, as well as for the cardiometabolic system and brain health.

Is It Safe to Take Glucosamine and Turmeric Together?

Yes, it is safe to take glucosamine and turmeric together. In fact, for general joint health and fitness support, it’s ideal to combine these ingredients, as part of a comprehensive multi-ingredient joint support stack.

With turmeric, in particular, absorption is a key consideration. Turmeric has a notoriously poor oral bioavailability, which is why it’s important not to stack this herb with other ingredients that detract from its potency.

Fortunately, glucosamine (and other key joint support ingredients that we’ll cover below) don’t negatively interact with turmeric.

Also, with turmeric’s low oral bioavailability in mind, it’s often recommended to stack turmeric with a nutrient absorption enhancer, such as black pepper extract (piperine).

However, some popular turmeric extract brands, namely CurcuWIN®, help increase the potency of turmeric’s bioactive curcuminoids.

Though there isn’t much research on the specific combination of glucosamine and turmeric, it’s important to take minimally effective dosages of each, to ensure enough formula space for all joint-support ingredients to work.

Optimal Dosages of Turmeric and Glucosamine For Your Health and Arthritis Pain

Many joint manufacturers provide both glucosamine sulfate supplements and turmeric supplements, yet they fail to deliver them in sufficient dosages for chronic joint pain people are experiencing.

One common trick that supplement manufacturers use is the proprietary blend tactic, which involves lumping a combination of ingredients under a catch-all dosage.

Because proprietary blends obscure individual ingredient dosages, it’s best to avoid them.

Instead, look for a joint support formula that supplies glucosamine and turmeric at the following dosages:

  • Glucosamine Dosage: some preliminary research notes improvements at dosages as high as 3,000mg, yet high glucosamine dosages may also increase insulin resistance; rather, a daily dose of 500mg works for sustainable joint health enhancement.
  • Turmeric Dosage: a notably safe superfood with a notably poor oral bioavailability, turmeric in raw form requires a large dosage to work, which is why it’s best to take a potent turmeric extract (e.g., CurcuWIN®) a dosage of 250mg daily for general joint support.

Of course, quality and potency matter when it comes to the efficacy of glucosamine and turmeric.

Respectively, the ideal forms of both supplements are plant-based glucosamine sulfate 2KCl and CurcuWIN®, a premium, patented turmeric extract standardized to 20% curcuminoids and designed to make curcumin 46X more absorbable.

What you pair with these ingredients also matters to their overall safety and efficacy.

With that in mind, the best all-in-one joint support stack, supplying glucosamine sulfate 2KCl, CurcuWIN®, and many more effective joint support ingredients, is Performance Lab® Flex.

Let’s check it out.

Performance Lab® Flex

Performance Lab flex for alleviating joint pain and joint stiffness

Curated for active joint demands, Performance Lab® Flex is as much a joint support formula for young, active athletes and exercisers as it is one for elderly joint care.

Call it the “ultramodern joint stack,”

A new innovation in joint support supplementation that simultaneously soothes already achy joints while protecting against future degradation without relying on any synthetics or risky shellfish-sourced ingredients.

Everything in Performance Lab® Flex is all-natural and premium grade.

From the ingredients to the capsules, Flex’s formula is designed to sustain high-intensity daily activity for all ages and dietary lifestyles.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Flex Here

Key Features

  • CurcuWIN® Turmeric, 250mg
  • AprèsFlex® Boswellia Serrata, 100mg
  • Glucosamine Sulfate 2KCL, 500mg
  • Mythocondro® Chondroitin Sulfate, 100mg
  • OptiMSM® Methylsulfonylmethane, 100mg
  • NutriGenesis® Strontium+, 300mcg

Performance Lab® Flex’s ultramodern design supplies 100% clean, natural joint relief and protection with a stack of nature’s most effective joint-supporting botanicals and compounds.

Combining glucosamine and turmeric, as glucosamine sulfate 2KCL and CurcuWIN®, with other well-researched joint extracts and compounds, Flex also offers the most comprehensive, yet focused joint formula on the market.

Here, you’ll find no synthetics, no shellfish-sourced ingredients, or artificial additives.

Much of Flex’s superior formula design can be attributed to NutriCaps®, a patented, prebiotic-infused capsule unique to Performance Lab®. Constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan), NutriCaps® ensures that nothing gets between you and the joint benefits of Flex’s formula.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Flex Here

Key Benefits

Taken daily, the benefits of Performance Lab® Flex apply to all lifestyle-related joint concerns:

  • Strength Trainers: lifting tweaks backs and shoulders, knees and hips and other joints that are important to gym-time efficiency and performance.
  • Tech Workers: texting, typing, tapping—though the life of a tech enthusiast seems fairly injury-free, tech usage does accumulate a significant amount of connective tissue strain.
  • Endurance Athletes: long-distance running, in particular, has long been associated with knee, hip, and ankle pain.
  • Professionals: from sitting at a desk to strenuous manual labor, repetitive work-related motions may encourage poor posture and strain joints.
  • Active 55+: regardless of your profession or recreational preferences, everyone ages and eventually succumbs to age-related joint degradation.

With Performance Lab® Flex, anyone and everyone may expect improvements in joint comfort, protection, lubrication, bone strength, shock absorption, resilience, and all-around athletic performance and flexibility.

And Flex’s exceptional quality and formula design make this stack safe for daily, long-term supplementation.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Flex Here

Final Word on the Glucosamine vs Turmeric Debate

So, to answer the question of which is better between glucosamine and turmeric: both.

Both glucosamine and turmeric target joint health and flexibility via their own unique pathways, making them an overall great pair to take simultaneously, especially with the additions of Boswellia serrata, chondroitin, MSM, and strontium.

Certainly, just taking either glucosamine or turmeric may significantly improve certain aspects of your joint health, as well as other health systems (most notably brain health, with turmeric).

But no single ingredient may comprehensively address all joint concerns on its own.

This is why we have Performance Lab® Flex, an all-in-one joint support formula that’s safe and effective for all active lifestyles, both young and old, professional and recreational.

If you feel your joint health is beginning to deteriorate, taking Performance Lab® Flex can help get your joint tissues back on track.

Likewise, if you’re feeling fine and you’d like to continue feeling fine, Flex also has your back (er, joints).

Take Performance Lab® Flex to soothe current joint pain and maximize your athletic performance and longevity.

 

References

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