Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Oral glucosamine is commonly used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is one of the major building blocs utilized in the body’s synthesis of the lubricants and shock absorbing mechanisms necessary to maintain and restore healthy joint performance. Since glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans, and glycosaminoglycans is a major component of joint cartilage. Supplemental glucosamine may help to rebuild cartilage and treat arthritis. Glucosamine supplementation enhances the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and proteoglycans, which are essential for rebuilding joints, as well as synovial fluid which lubricate the joints.


A typical dosage of glucosamine salt is 1,500 mg per day. Glucosamine contains an amino group that is positively charged at physiological Ph. The anion included in the salt may vary. Commonly sold forms of glucosamine are glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride. The amount of glucosamine present in 1500 mg of glucosamine salt will depend on which anion is present and whether additional salts are included in the manufacturer's calculation. Glucosamine is often sold in combination with other supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane.
Glucosamine is a popular alternative medicine used by consumers for the treatment ofosteoarthiritis. Glucosamine is also extensively used in veterinary medicine as an unregulated but widely accepted supplement.
What form of Glucosamine should be taken?

Pure glucosamine is very "hygroscopic" and degrades (breaks down) rapidly when exposed to moisture or air. To avoid this, glucosamine needs to be bound to a stabilizer to be sold commercially. The sulfate and the HCL forms are two of the most common "agents" that glucosamine is bound to ensure its stability. After glucosamine is bound, it is stable and will not degrade before it can get to the store shelf. This is why you never find "just" glucosamine and instead find Glucosamine Sulfate or Glucosamine HCL. However some manufacturers play a trick on you. They replace up to 30% of a "1500 mg" mixture and replace it with plain table salt. This means you are only taking 1050 mg of "actual" glucosamine! What's worse is that this is entirely legal because they put the ingredients on the label and the product DOES contain 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate (NaCl or KCL). It's just that the NaCl and KCL that is added on is just filler.
These manufacturers take glucosamine sulfate and add potassium (KCl) or ordinary table salt (NaCl). They then co-crystallize the resulting mixture and wind up with the same weight of "total" glucosamine but stiff you on the actual glucosamine dosage! As usual, you get what you pay for as these are commonly found in "no frills" glucosamine brands, in a low priced pill form with no other synergistic ingredients. In our opinion, they are simply a waste of money.
Some Glucosamine Sulfate preparations even claim to be salt free when in fact they are actually just sodium free. They still contain up to 30% potassium chloride (KCl). Finally, an mg-to-mg comparison shows that the hydrochloride may provide more Glucosamine than the Sulphate salt, and this may be the reason why some people prefer to choose Glucosamine HCL. The jury is still out however as to which benefits you more and an easy fix is to just take both HCL and Sulfate forms.
When searching for products, you may wish to look for products that contain both glucosamine HCL and glucosamine sulfate, as people sometimes respond quicker to one form over another. While most of the clinical studies were done with glucosamine sulfate, this is because the early glucosamine sulfate for the studies was provided by a manufacturer that did not make glucosamine HCL. Since then, HCL has increased in popularity. Look for a supplement that contains both for maximum benefit but be sure to look out for any that contains the less effective NaCl or KCl forms.

There is no side effect

Clinical studies have reported that glucosamine is very safe in use. Usually glucosamine is derived from shellfish, therefore the persons allergic to shellfish may think that they may get allergy. But glucosamine is derived from the shells of these animals while the allergen is within the flesh of the animals; it is probably safe even for those with shellfish allergy. There is a rumor that extra glucosamine could contribute diabetes but several investigations have found no evidence that this occurs. Many studies have established that the effects of oral administration of large doses of glucosamine in animals and the effects of glucosamine supplementation with normal recommended dosages in humans, concluding that glucosamine does not cause glucose intolerance and has no documented effects on glucose metabolism and it is safe for obese patients.
The Task Force of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) committee recently granted glucosamine salt a level of toxicity of 5 in a 0-100 scale, and recent Osteoarthritis Research Society International guidelines for hip and knee osteoarthritis also confirm its excellent safety profile.

No comments: