Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease resulting from cartilage degeneration and causing joint pain and stiffness. Glucosamine exerts chondroprotective effects and effectively reduces OA pain and stiffness. This review aims to summarise the mechanism of glucosamine in protecting joint health and preventing OA by conducting a literature search on original articles. Current evidence has revealed that glucosamine exhibits anti-inflammatory effects by reducing the levels of pro-inflammatory factors (such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6) and enhancing the synthesis of proteoglycans that retard cartilage degradation and improve joint function. Additionally, glucosamine improves cellular redox status, reduces OA-mediated oxidative damages, scavenges free radicals, upregulates antioxidant proteins and enzyme levels, inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species, and induces autophagy to delay OA pathogenesis. In conclusion, glucosamine prevents OA and maintains joint health by reducing inflammation, improving the redox status, and inducing autophagy in joints. Further studies are warranted to determine the synergistic effect of glucosamine with other anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidative agents on joint health in humans.
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