With all of the different joint supplements on the market these days, it can be difficult to understand what each one really is and what it does (or claims to do). This guide will help you get a basic understanding of what different supplements are and how they work. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it helps to provide a good stepping stone in beginning to figure out what product(s) might be right for you.

1. Glucosamine: Glucosamine is an amino acid that the body naturally produces. It is a precursor to a molecule used in the repair and formation of cartilage. The basic premise of treatment involving glucosamine is that oral consumption of the substance will increase the formation of new cartilage by way of providing more of the necessary building blocks. Scientific studies on whether or not Glucosamine is effective as a supplement have been inconclusive. Supplemental Glucosamine is typically derived from shellfish.

2. MSM: Methlsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a supplement that is believed to aid in the support of healthy ligaments. It occurs naturally in some primitive plants and is present in small amounts in many foods and beverages. MSM is promoted by many as a natural source of sulfur for the body, and the theory behind it is that the sulfur in it aids the body in maintaining healthy and flexible ligaments.

3. Chondroitin: Chondroitin is a molecule that occurs naturally in the body and is a major component of cartilage. It helps to keep cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid into the connective tissue. Chondroitin is also believed to help block enzymes that break down cartilage and to aid in the production of building blocks for the body to produce new cartilage. As with Glucosamine, there has been little in the way of scientific evidence to show that Chondroitin will yield measurable results when taken as a supplement.

4. Nutrient Based Joint Supplements: This new class of joint supplements for humans is based on the idea of encouraging the body to produce its own healthy joint tissue by providing a balance of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the most well known products in this category is Greek Island Labs Natural Joint. These supplements can be a good alternative to Glucosamine and Chondroitin for those who are looking for a more natural approach and those who prefer products that are not animal based.

Now that you know a little bit more about the most popular supplements, you should be able to make an informed buying decision and select a product that will fit in with your lifestyle. Remember, the key to success with any product like this is consistency; you have to take it on a regular basis if you want to see positive results.

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