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What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is an amino sugar. If taken as a supplement it is often made from chitin (shellfish shells) but shellfish free versions are available as well. Articular cartilage (the cartilage that is found between bones that move against one another) contains proteoglycans (sugars linked to proteins) such as glucosamine.

Glucosamine Uses and Benefits

Glucosamine is a compound found in the human body in healthy cartilage. Cartilage is the tough but flexible connective tissue that is found in the joints. It contains no blood vessels, so growth and repair happens slowly. Glucosamine can be added to the diet to help support cartilage health and growth[1].  

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder of the joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect any of the body’s joints but is usually found in the hips, knees, neck, hands and lower back. There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis. Treatment only addresses the symptoms and involves non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil®). NSAIDs, however, have a number of side effects such as gastric ulcer formation that makes long-term use undesirable. When connective tissues such as cartilage are injured or damaged the production can increase and increase demand for the individual building blocks such as glucosamine. Taking glucosamine helps support joint movement and cartilage growth.

There are no natural food sources of Glucosamine. Supplements are derived from the shell of lobster, crab, and shrimp. There are other sources available for those who are allergic to shellfish; these are derived from fermented corn and fungus[2].

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride at a daily glucosamine dosage of 500 mg, three times daily, for 30 to 90 days. As an alternative, you may take a 1,500 mg dose one each day[3].

Glucosamine Side Effects/Overdose

Glucosamine rarely causes side effects, when it does they include diarrhea, constipation, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, headache, or skin irritation[4]

You should consult your doctor before taking a glucosamine supplement if you are taking any of the following medications:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Drugs designed to prevent platelets from sticking together
  • Blood thinning agents
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Medications for diabetes[5]

If you are taking a glucosamine supplement, you should avoid drinking alcohol as the two may interact.

If you think you may have taken too much glucosamine, you should seek medical advice immediately.

Best Glucosamine Supplements

Choose a high grade, quality glucosamine supplement. A liquid supplement is more beneficial that a powdered supplement as it will be more readily absorbed by the body. Glucosamine supplements that are combined with chondroitin, .

DrFormulas™ Joint Supplement contains 5.7 g of glucosamine sulfate per serving and more than 25 other ingredients such as MSM, chondroitin, Boswellia Serrata, hyaluronic acid, and boron. It is specially formulated to support healthy bones and joints. Try DrFormulas bone and joint health supplements today and live a more active and pain free life today!