When it comes to natural remedies for joint care, there are few more well known than glucosamine, which is a supplement that is derived from shellfish.
Most of you, I’m sure, have heard of it.
It’s pretty non-controversial when it comes to natural supplements that reduce joint pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis, increase range of motion and perhaps even help to slow joint degeneration.
What is perhaps less well-known is the fact that while glucosamine definitely works, its effects are much more subtle than advertisers would have you believe.
Glucosamine sulphate or glucosamine sulphate salts are considered the best sources of glucosamine.
Do not buy glucosamine hydrochloride, as it is ineffective.
What’s the Science Say about Glucosamine for Joint Pain?
Numerous scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that taken orally, it can be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Ibuprofen/Advil) in relieving osteoarthritis symptoms. However…
… It’s less reliable and takes a little longer to work.
One long term study performed over a 3 year period found that regular use of glucosamine can actually slow the progression of oseoarthritis. Here’s how the study authors put it…
Results of the present trial show that long-term oral administration of glucosamine sulfate for 3 years can delay the natural progression of knee osteoarthritis.
Nevertheless, not all studies show a positive effect. For example, a 2008 study performed on people with hip osteoarthritis found that glucosamine was no better than a placebo in reducing the pain and progression of the disease.
That said, most studies show a positive effect… at least when it comes to treating symptoms in the knee.
Dosage and Side Effects
How much glucosamine should you take for maximum relief?
Glucosamine has been studied at doses ranging from between 400 mg/day to 3,000 mg per day and offers benefits at both ends of the dosage spectrum.
However, you can expect greater benefits at the higher dose. In other words…
The more you take, the more it helps.
Most of the studies I reviewed for this article used a minimum dose of 1500 mg/day, so I think that’s a good place to start your daily dose.
If you’re buying a supplement that contains a number of different ingredients, double check the label to ensure a minimum daily dose of 1500 mg glucosamine is included.
If you buy glucosamine in isolation, start with 1500 mg per day. If you are not seeing results, slowly increase the dosage to 3,000 mg per day.
People who suffer from osteoarthristis can usually take glucosamine along with their regular medications, but it is best to consult with a physician before doing so.
It’s also relatively free of side effects, although high doses can cause nausea, diarrhea, gas and other stomach problems.
It’s also safe for pets, as well.
Although glucosamine is not allergenic, it is derived from shellfish. Some supplements may not be completely free of active compounds from the source, and as a result, anyone with shellfish allergies needs to exercise caution when using this natural arthritis remedy. Most reputable brands will call this out on the product’s label, so be sure to read it!
I’ve taken glucosamine on its own a number of times, but not for a while (now I take quality formulas that include it as one of several helpful ingredients).
I certainly remember it as being somewhat helpful, but since it has been a while, I’m going to pass on further judgement until I can try it again on its at the preferred dose.
Customer Reviews, Feedback and Testimonials
While there are some “plain” glucosamine products available (by “plain” I mean products that contain glucosamine alone), the most popular glucosamine-based joint care products currently available combine this remedy with other natural joint care supplements like MSM and chondroitin.
As a result, the majority of the feedback I reviewed was – although positive – unreliable, since glucosamine isn’t the only ingredient in the product’s profile.
As a result, any reported benefits can’t be accurately attributed to it.
Still, the small amount of feedback I read for dedicated glucosamine products was overwhelmingly positive.
Recommendation: Should You Use Glucosamine?
It’s hard to argue against the use of glucosamine sulphate; it’s cheap, safe for most people (if you have a shellfish allergy, see the warning above), and its use is validated in most clinical studies.
However, at this stage in the game, I really don’t see the point in buying glucosamine on its own.
For a bit more cash you can get a quality product that offers an effective dose of glucosamine coupled with optimum doses of both chondroitin and MSM, both of which offer significant benefits to those who suffer from arthritis and joint pain.
For instance, at iHerb.com (where I shop)…
- A dedicated glucosamine product like this one will set you back about $10.00 (for a 3 month supply).
- A quality product that combines an effective dose of glucosamine, chondriotin and MSM (like this one) will set you back $15 (for a 1 month’s supply).
Unless you are cash strapped and need to watch your pennies (in which case go with the cheaper option), I recommend going with option 2. It will yield better results.
Now, the only time I buy glucosamine on its own is when I’m buying it for my German Shepherd dogs.
Your Thoughts: Does Glucosamine Offer Benefits for Arthritis Sufferers?
What do you think?
Is it a useful supplement? Is it worthwhile as a natural arthritis remedy… or not?
Thumbs up, or thumbs down?
Please weigh in and share your experiences – both my readers and I would love to hear what you have to say!
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