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Breastfeeding & Glucosamine

By Erica Jacques ; Updated June 13, 2017

Breastfeeding moms must always consider how what they eat could affect their infants. The same is true for medications and supplements. While some supplements are considered safe when breastfeeding, the effects of many others are simply not known. This includes the popular arthritis supplement glucosamine, which has limited research regarding its effects on children.

Medications and Breast Milk

While breastfeeding moms have more dietary options than they did when they were pregnant, they must still be mindful of what goes into their bodies. What they eat, drink and take in medication form ends up in their breast milk, which goes right to their infant. Most drugs and supplements do wind up in breast milk, according to the folks at AskDrSears.com. However, the strength of medications and supplements in the breast milk is often far less than the original form. Even small amounts of some medications, however, may be harmful to an infant. The concern goes for both prescribed and over-the-counter medications as well as natural supplements.

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a supplement that many people take for arthritis or other joint pain conditions. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body’s joints and plays a role in the production and maintenance of healthy cartilage. As a supplement, it has the potential to keep cartilage healthier for longer, making it especially appealing for people with osteoarthritis. While the anecdotal evidence for glucosamine outweighs the actual research, it remains a popular supplement for many people with joint pain. While it is available over the counter, though, it may not be safe for everyone.

Glucosamine in Children

Glucosamine use in children is even less thoroughly researched than that for adults. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it is not recommended for use in children for this very reason. Little is known about the safety of glucosamine when it comes to kids. In addition, there is little research regarding its effects on breastfed infants. The amount of glucosamine that passes through mom’s breast milk is thought to be minimal; however, there is little evidence regarding whether or not any amount of glucosamine is safe for nursing infants.

Warnings for Breastfeeding Moms

If the benefits do not outweigh the risks, the venture is not sound. The same is true for taking medications while breastfeeding. Do the potential benefits of glucosamine outweigh the potential risks to your baby, which are unknown? Or, can you get by without glucosamine until it is time to wean? Bottom line: Never take any supplement while breastfeeding without first consulting your obstetrician or your child’s pediatrician. A medical professional can talk you through the decision-making process when it comes to the potential risks to your child. In addition, new research comes out all of the time. Your doctor may be aware of something regarding glucosamine that you are not. If in doubt, ask the expert.

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