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Who should take glucosamine: Glucosamine – Mayo Clinic

Glucosamine Supplements for Joint Pain From Arthritis

Written by R. Morgan Griffin

  • What Is It?
  • What Does It Do?
  • How much glucosamine should you take?
  • Can you get glucosamine naturally from foods?
  • What are the risks of taking glucosamine?

If you’re looking for a supplement that may ease your joint pain, glucosamine might be worth a try. Some studies show it gives relief for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, and it may work for other joints, too.

Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound in your body. But it also comes in the form of a supplement. There are two main types: hydrochloride and sulfate.

The glucosamine in your body helps keep up the health of your cartilage — the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at your joints. But as you get older, your levels of this compound begin to drop, which leads to the gradual breakdown of the joint.

There’s some evidence that glucosamine sulfate supplements help counteract this effect, although experts aren’t sure how.

Some people have also used glucosamine to try to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, chronic venous insufficiency, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), and long-term low back pain. So far, though, there’s not much scientific evidence that it works for those problems.

In most studies on treating osteoarthritis, the typical dose was 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate, three times a day. Ask your doctor what they recommend for you. Some experts suggest you take it with meals to prevent an upset stomach.

Although glucosamine sulfate supplements are often manufactured from the shells of shellfish, there aren’t any natural food sources of glucosamine.

On the whole, glucosamine seems to be a fairly safe supplement. Side effects are generally mild. You’re more likely to get them if you take high doses. They may include things like:

  • Upset stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache

Risks. If you have a shellfish allergy, be cautious about using glucosamine because you could have a reaction. Also, check with your doctor before taking supplements if you have diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, bleeding disorders, or high blood pressure.

Interactions. Check with your doctor before you use glucosamine if you take other medicines, including heart drugs, blood thinners, and diabetes drugs. Also, glucosamine isn’t recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, because there isn’t enough evidence yet about whether it’s safe for those groups.

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Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews


Glucosamine is a chemical found in the body. Glucosamine supplements are sold as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl glucosamine.

Glucosamine is used by the body to make other chemicals that build tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the fluid that surrounds joints. Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage around them. Taking glucosamine might increase the cartilage and fluid around joints and/or help prevent their breakdown.

People commonly use glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is also used for joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Likely Effective for

  • Osteoarthritis. Taking glucosamine sulfate by mouth for at least 4 weeks can provide some pain relief and improve function for people with knee osteoarthritis. Products that contain glucosamine hydrochloride do not seem to work as well unless they are taken in combination with other ingredients. Taking glucosamine sulfate doesn’t seem to reduce the risk of getting osteoarthritis.

There is interest in using glucosamine for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Glucosamine sulfate is likely safe in most adults when used for up to 3 years. Glucosamine hydrochloride is possibly safe for most adults when used for up to 2 years. N-acetyl glucosamine is also possibly safe when used for up to 6 months. Glucosamine can cause some mild side effects including bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

When applied to the skin: N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when used for up to 10 weeks.

When given as an enema (rectally): N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when used in doses of 3-4 grams daily.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, or N-acetyl glucosamine is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Glucosamine might make asthma worse. Until more is known, people with asthma should be cautious about taking products that contain glucosamine.

Diabetes: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase blood sugar levels. But most research shows that glucosamine doesn’t increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Glaucoma: Glucosamine might increase the pressure inside the eye and could worsen glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, talk to your healthcare provider before taking glucosamine.

High cholesterol: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase cholesterol levels. But most research shows that glucosamine doesn’t seem to increase cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase blood pressure. But most research shows that glucosamine does not seem to increase blood pressure.

Shellfish allergy: Glucosamine is produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. If you have a shellfish allergy, talk to your healthcare provider before using glucosamine.

Interactions ?

    Major Interaction

    Do not take this combination

  • Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Taking glucosamine with or without chondroitin increases the effects of warfarin. This can increase the risk for serious bruising and bleeding. Don’t take glucosamine if you are taking warfarin.

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Some medications for cancer work by decreasing how fast cancer cells can copy themselves. Glucosamine might block these medications from working. Taking glucosamine along with some medications for cancer might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Taking glucosamine SULFATE and acetaminophen together might affect how well each works. But more information is needed to know if this interaction is a big concern.

  • Glucosamine might increase blood sugar levels. Taking glucosamine along with diabetes medications might reduce the effects of these medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely.


Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride have most often been used by adults in doses of 1500 mg by mouth daily for up to 3 years. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Keep in mind that glucosamine used in supplements often comes from the shells of shellfish. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking these supplements if you have a shellfish allergy. Also, some glucosamine products aren’t labeled correctly. In some cases, the amount of glucosamine actually in the product has varied from none to over 100% of the amount stated on the product’s label. Some products have contained glucosamine hydrochloride when glucosamine sulfate was listed on the label.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.

Who should take glucosamine, chondroitin, and who should avoid it?


A real “panacea” for the joints of glucosamine and chondroitin is suitable for people of all ages, both for preventive and course treatment. However, it should be borne in mind that the drug can prevent painful consequences only if the dosages are monitored and the intake of alcohol and painkillers is excluded.

The fact is that Glucosamine is most effective with chondroitin. Glucosamine is a functional group of glycolipids that enhances the action of chondroitin. Glucosamine itself has some sedative properties. Together, they provide a real panacea for the treatment of joint pain, loss of joint mobility and stuck in the leaflets.

However, this method is not suitable for everyone. Glucosamine with chondroitin is most recommended for people suffering from arthritis and arthrosis, osteochondrosis. They can neutralize his symptoms. However, pregnant women, people suffering from depression, and people with kidney and heart problems should always consult a doctor before using.

What are good and why are they useful in combination?

Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan substance commonly extracted from shark cartilage. It is necessary for the construction of such structures in the human body as joints, bones, ligaments and connective tissue. Chondroitin is synthesized in the human body, and is also found in its skin, joints and intra-articular fluid, as well as in the cornea of ​​​​the eyes. It acts as the main component and the main structural element of the connective tissue.

The main function of chondroitin in the body is structural and in addition:

  • it promotes collagen synthesis and helps reduce the destructive effect of enzymes on tendons;
  • is key to the transfer of amino acids, lipids and water between cells;
  • is useful in maintaining the correct composition of the fluid that fills the joints.

Glucosamine is a monosaccharide substance derived primarily from the shells of crustaceans. It is also produced in the human body and is the main source for chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. In addition, glucosamine significantly improves the process of biological reactions: it stimulates the synthesis of cartilage components, as it prevents the oxidation of active tripeptidates.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are part of the complex, as they greatly enhance each other by interaction. They are used to prevent and treat diseases of the joints, as well as to renew the structure of the skin and cartilage. In general, their healing effect is undeniable.

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What exactly does chondroitin, glucosamine complex fight against?

  • osteoarthritis is a devastating disease, but this complex of substances resists its development and is aimed at relieving pain and symptoms, and also reduces the risk of relapse;
  • risk of mechanical damage to the joints. Therefore, the complex is designed for athletes, active people, travelers and extreme sports enthusiasts;
  • slows down the process of destruction of the joints and tissues of the body. Thanks to him, you can fight inflammatory processes;
  • gives good effects on the skin: moisturizes, reduces wrinkles, accelerates the healing of lesions and reduces the risk of skin cancer.

What is the harm of “Glucosamine, chondroitin”?

Glucosamine, a chondroitin preparation containing substances derived from crustacean shells and shark cartilage, clearly has its own beneficial characteristics. In order to use it in the most safe mode for health, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the recommendations for admission. Given that excessive use of these substances can cause unwanted side effects, caution is required when taken by children and pregnant women.

Glucosamine and chondroitin – why are they needed, properties, effectiveness, how to choose

Glucosamine and chondroitin are components that are part of any chondroprotective supplements. Both of these substances are interconnected and complement each other’s action, therefore it is more expedient to purchase them in combination.

How chondroprotectors work

Chondroitin is part of our bones, cartilage and joints, its task is to retain moisture in the cartilage and stimulate the production of synovial fluid. The lack of chondroitin affects the health of cartilage: it begins to deform, thin, lose strength and elasticity. A decrease in the amount of synovial fluid affects the mobility of the joints: first there is a creaking, clicking of the joint during movement, later pain appears and the mobility of the joints worsens. Chondroitin is used for fractures, arthritis, osteoporosis.

Glucosamine is a building material for healthy joints and cartilage, which makes them stronger and more elastic; it is also part of chondroitin. In addition, this sufficient amount of glucosamine helps prevent inflammation and pain in the joints. Glucosamine is often used for osteoarthritis, periarthritis, osteochondrosis and spondylosis.

Both glucosamine and chondroitin allow calcium to be better absorbed in the body, and also participate in the synthesis of sulfur, which is a structural component of the joints.

Separately or together?

Although glucosamine and chondroitin are chondroprotectors, they are used under different circumstances. Because of what the question arises: to buy chondroprotectors together or separately? Answer: it is better to give preference to a complex additive in which the components will complement each other.

What are the advantages of the complex:

  • acts in several directions at once, providing comprehensive support;

  • has higher dosages, which makes it possible to cover the daily requirement with a single dose;

  • will cost less in terms of price / number of capsules / dosage.

Who needs to take

In a situation of high physical exertion, the use of these substances as supplements is especially important. Joint wear from training occurs much faster, which can lead to a number of problems with the musculoskeletal system.

In addition, we must not forget about the injuries that often accompany weightlifting, powerlifting or bodybuilding. Taking additional complexes, which include glucosamine and chondroitin, can significantly speed up the recovery process.

An additional intake of chondroprotectors is also necessary for the elderly, as well as for those who suffer from diseases of the musculoskeletal system (arthrosis, arthritis, etc.).

Which additive to choose

Chondroprotectors can be purchased in several forms:

  • tablets,
  • capsules,
  • powder,
  • ointments and creams.

When choosing the right supplement for yourself, it is important to remember that glucosamine and chondroitin in the form of ointments and creams are not as effective, and may not have the expected effect at all, since a very small amount of the substance gets through the skin.

Which form for oral administration to choose is a matter of convenience and frequency of administration. The advantage of capsules over tablets is that they dissolve faster and allow you not to “lose” the active substance during digestion, this is especially important for those who have problems with absorption of nutrients. The advantage of the powder form is the ability to measure a single dosage yourself.

When choosing between pharmacy analogues and supplements that are presented in sports stores, it is better to give preference to the latter, since the concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin as a sports supplement is much higher.

In addition, the presence of additional components, for example, hyaluronic acid, collagen, as well as a vitamin or mineral complex, will be an advantage.

Dosage should vary depending on whether you are taking the supplement as a preventative or to recover from an injury. In the latter case, the concentration of the active substance may be higher than the normal daily dose, which does not exceed 1200 mg.

In case you suffer from sprained joints, knee pain, then the dosage can be increased to 1500 mg.


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