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Glucosamine

General Information

Glucosamine is found naturally in the body. It is an important component of cartilage, a cushion that surrounds the joint in your body. Be careful to distinguish between the different forms, such as glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride, as they may not all have the same effects.

Common Name(s)

glucosamine, glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride

Scientific Name(s)

2-amino-2-deoxy-D-glucose sulfate, 2-amino-2-deoxy-beta-D-glucopyranose hydrochloride

Scientific Name(s)

Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride can be found in natural sources such as shellfish. They are taken by mouth with food. Glucosamine is often used in combination with another supplement, chondroitin.

The usual dose of glucosamine sulfate is 1,500 mg per day. The usual dose of glucosamine hydrochloride is 1,500 mg to 2,000 mg per day. You should take it with food.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Glucosamine sulfate:

  • helps to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis (e.g., joint pain) or osteoarthritis of the knee
  • protects against the wear-and-tear of cartilage
  • helps to maintain healthy cartilage
  • helps to maintain joint health

Glucosamine hydrochloride:

  • helps to maintain healthy cartilage
  • helps to maintain joint health

Research suggests that glucosamine may help people with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritis of the knee. Among the available forms, glucosamine sulfate has been studied the most. Interestingly, results have not always been consistent and this could be due to differences in the way the studies were designed or the glucosamine products that were used. Overall, glucosamine sulfate appears to reduce pain and improve physical ability. However, there is not enough information to recommend the use of other forms of glucosamine.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

It may take at least 4 weeks of taking glucosamine consistently before you notice any improvement. If your symptoms worsen while taking glucosamine, contact your health care provider.

Glucosamine appears to be safe for most people. Common side effects include gas, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation.

Talk to your health care professional before using glucosamine if you are taking an anticoagulant medication such as warfarin. Glucosamine may increase the effect of warfarin and the risk of bleeding.

There have been concerns that glucosamine may raise blood sugar in people with diabetes, but this is not supported by reliable research. People with diabetes should use glucosamine with caution and monitor their blood sugar levels.

Since glucosamine is produced from shells of shrimp, lobster, and crab, people with shellfish allergy should avoid it.

You should consult a health care practitioner before taking glucosamine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Glucosamine sulfate (consumer version). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (Accessed online 27 April 2016)
  2. Glucosamine hydrochloride (consumer version). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (Accessed online 27 April 2016)
  3. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Glucosamine Sulfate. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=102, accessed 27 April 2016.
  4. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Glucosamine Hydrochloride. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=103&lang=eng, accessed 27 April 2016.

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