Print PDF | Print

Natural and Alternative Treatments Index Page | Herbs & Supplements:

Glucosamine


Supplement Forms/Alternate Names
  • Glucosamine HCL; Glucosamine Hydrochloride; Glucosamine Sulfate; N-Acetyl Glucosamine

 

Introduction

Glucosamine is a compound made by the body from sugars. It has been used to ease swelling and improve mobility in joints. Glucosamine can be taken as a pill or powder. It can also be applied to the skin and injected into muscle by a healthcare provider.

Dosages

500 milligrams 2 to 3 times daily

 

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

May Be Effective

  • Facial hyperpigmentation—N-acetyl glucosamine may reduce facial spots and pigmentation B1 
  • Kashin-Beck disease— glucosamine hydrochloride may reduce pain and stiffness C1 

Unlikely to Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

 

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take glucosamine in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking glucosamine. It may interact with their medicines.
  • People who take blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking glucosamine. It may interact with their medicine.

References [ + ]

A. Cardiovascular Disease

A1. Ma H, Li X, et al. Association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective study in UK Biobank. BMJ. 2019;365:l1628.

B. Facial Hyperpigmentation

B1. Kimball AB, Kaczvinsky JR, et al. Reduction in the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation after use of moisturizers with a combination of topical niacinamide and N-acetyl glucosamine: results of a randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2010 Feb 1;162(2):435-41.

C. Kashin-Beck Disease

C1. Yue J, Yang M, et al. Chondroitin sulfate and/or glucosamine hydrochloride for Kashin-Beck disease: a cluster-randomized, placebo-controlled study. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Jul;20(7):622-629.

D. Knee Pain

D1. Tsuji T, Yoon J, et al. Effects of N-acetyl glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation on knee pain and self-reported knee function in middle-aged and older Japanese adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2016 Apr;28(2):197-205.

E. Osteoarthritis Treated with Glucosamine Hydrochloride

E1. Houpt JB, McMillan R, et al. Effect of glucosamine hydrochloride in the treatment of pain of osteoarthritis of the knee. J Rheumatol. 1999 Nov;26(11):2423-2430.

E2. Das A Jr, Hammad TA. Efficacy of a combination of FCHG49 glucosamine hydrochloride, TRH122 low molecular weight sodium chondroitin sulfate and manganese ascorbate in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000 Sep;8(5):343-350.

E3. Nguyen P, Mohamed SE, et al. A randomized double-blind clinical trial of the effect of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride on temporomandibular joint disorders: a pilot study. Cranio. 2001 Apr;19(2):130-139.

E4. Kanzaki N, Saito K, et al. Effect of a dietary supplement containing glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate and quercetin glycosides on symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 15;92(4):862-869.

E5. Wu D, Huang Y, et al. Efficacies of different preparations of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Jun;67(6):585-594.

E6. Sterzi S, Giordani L, et al. The efficacy and safety of a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate and bio-curcumin with exercise in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016 Jun;52(3):321-330.

F. Osteoarthritis Treated with Glucosamine Sulfate

F1. Towheed TE, Maxwell L, et al. Glucosamine therapy for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;(2):CD002946.

F2. de Souza RF, Lovato da Silva CH, et al. Interventions for the management of temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;(4):CD007261.

F3. Wu D, Huang Y, et al. Efficacies of different preparations of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Jun;67(6):585-594.

F4. Kongtharvonskul J, Anothaisintawee T, et al. Efficacy and safety of glucosamine, diacerein, and NSAIDs in osteoarthritis knee: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Eur J Med Res. 2015 Mar 13;20:24.

F5. Zeng C, Wei J, et al. Effectiveness and safety of Glucosamine, chondroitin, the two in combination, or celecoxib in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 18;5:16827.

F6. Harrison-Muñoz S, Rojas-Briones V, et al. Is glucosamine effective for osteoarthritis. Medwave. 2017;17(Suppl1):e6867.

F7. Ruhaar J, Rozendaal RM, et al. Subgroup analyses of the effectiveness of oral glucosamine for knee and hip osteoarthritis: a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis from the OA trial bank. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017;76(11):1862-1869.

F8. Knapik JJ, Pope R, et al. Effects of Oral Glucosamine Sulfate on Osteoarthritis-Related Pain and Joint-Space Changes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Spec Oper Med. Winter 2018;18(4):139-147.

F9. Ogata T, Ideno Y, et al. Effects of glucosamine in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Rheumatol. 2018;37(9):2479-2487.

F10. Simental-Mendía M, Sánchez-García A, et al. Effect of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Rheumatol Int. 2018;38(8):1413-1428.

F11. Zhu X, Sang L, et al. Effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Orthop Surg Res. 2018;13(1):170.

F12. Liu X, Machado GC, et al. Dietary supplements for treating osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Feb;52(3):167-175.

F13. Melo G, Casett E, et al. Effects of glucosamine supplements on painful temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis: A systematic review. J Oral Rehabil. 2018 May;45(5):414-422.

F14. Zhu X, Wu D, et al. Comparative effectiveness of glucosamine, chondroitin, acetaminophen or celecoxib for the treatment of knee and/or hip osteoarthritis: a network meta-analysis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2018 Jul-Aug;36(4):595-602.

F15. Gregori D, Giacovelli G, et al. Association of Pharmacological Treatments With Long-term Pain Control in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2018 Dec 25;320(24):2564-2579.

G. Rheumatoid Arthritis

G1. Nakamura H, Masuko K, et al. Effects of glucosamine administration on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatol Int. 2007 Jan;27(3):213-218.



Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/27/2020

Back to Top