I have been lucky with my menopause, no hot flushes, no weight gain (although there is some effort involved here) and no night sweats. I did, however, start with joint pain just about everywhere in my body where there are joints, ankles, knees, arms – everywhere in fact. I kidded myself for a while that it was DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) because I do quite a lot of exercise but I was experiencing pain every day, not just a couple of days after a workout and my knees would seize up after sitting down for anything more than five minutes. Also, it wasn’t really my muscles that were sore it was my joints. Dr Google advised me that it was a variety of deadly diseases but when I didn’t die I put it down to a permanent souvenir of the menopause and ageing. However, when I was browsing a magazine I came across an article where a number of medical specialists commented on the supplements they swear by to keep themselves healthy. One of them, a GP said that they routinely took glucosamine sulphate which had made a huge difference to the joint pain they had experienced for a number of years. I took notice of this because it was in a mainstream magazine (I wish I had kept it to use as reference here and I am still searching) but more importantly for me it was recommended by a medical doctor not a herbal ‘doctor’.
I sourced a supply of vegetarian glucosamine sulphate supplements (others are derived from marine animals) and started taking them hoping for a miracle but after a few days but nothing happened so I lost interest and just took them half-heartedly when I remembered. However, a trip to the cinema to see a three hour film which rendered me immobile from the knees down when I tried to stand up gave me the impetus to try the supplements again. This time I put them in a pill dispenser and took one every night.
After a few weeks it became a part of my routine and I didn’t think about it until I realised a that I wasn’t thinking about the joint pain either. I was jumping up after sitting down, running up and down stairs (up had never been a problem but I used to come down very gingerly ). I didn’t really know if the supplements had worked or if an annoying menopausal symptom had passed. A year later however, when I didn’t take the magic pills with me on a three week holiday I started to get the familiar joint aches after I had been sitting for long periods. I started taking them again when I arrived home and have continued ever since. I now remain pain free and bendy enough to have recently completed a course to teach Pilates.
What is Glucosamine Sulphate and how does it work?
Glucosamine is a natural occurring substance in our bodies – it’s one of the building blocks of cartilage, ligaments and tendons – all possible causes of pain in a creaky joint. The theory is that supplying our bodies with more of this building block might give it what it needs to make repairs. Sulphur is an essential nutrient for joints and has been known to prevent cartilage destruction by inhibiting the enzymes which cause it.
The other supplement I take is vitamin D. I have no idea if I works but this article from the Guardian which suggested it helped fight Covid persuaded me to take the supplement regularly.
It is also recommended, by the NHS, as a precaution against osteoporosis, a condition which weakens bones making them more fragile and more likely to break. Women lose bone rapidly in the first few years after the menopause. Check out the NHS information here:
In a few short years I’ve gone from a supplement denier to a supplement trier and although I have tried a few other supplements such as ginkgo biloba for memory – it definitely didn’t work; I couldn’t remember to take it. I still don’t believe in the efficacy of most supplements. I take the glucosamine sulphate because it does appear to be effective for me and I take the vitamin D because it might help if I catch Covid and it’s recommended by the NHS. My ‘drug’ of choice is still exercise because although I suffered with joint pain I believe it would have been much worse if I didn’t exercise on a regular basis.
Please note: This is my own opinion and experience. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements. Some may interfere with other medications.
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