Glucosamine Sulfate in Alternative Medicine

This article discusses the medicinal uses, health Benefits, side effects and warnings fo glucosamine sulfate to the body.

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that is important in building ligaments and joint fluids. Glucosamine Sulfate supplementation offeres a number of health benefits for medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, glaucoma and weight loss. To find out more about this natural chemical, read the article below.


Scientific Name: Glucosamine Sulfate

Other Names:

Glucosamine, Glucosamine Potassium Sulfate, Glucosamine Sulphate, 2-Amino-2-Deoxy-Beta-D-Glucopyranose, Amino Monosaccharide, Chitosamine, Chlorure de Potassium-Sulfate de Glucosamine, D-Glucosamine, D-Glucosamine Sulfate, D-Glucosamine Sulphate, G6S.

Glucosamine Sulfate (also known as Glucosamine Sulphate) is an amino sugar naturally occurring in the human body. Glucosamine sulfate is a precursor of a variety of chemicals that are involved in building ligaments, cartilage, tendons and the fluids along the joints.

glucosamineGlucosamine can also be found in shells of shellfish, animal bones and bone marrow. It is also present in some fungi, such as Aspergillus niger. From these other natural sources, glucosamine supplements are extracted in combination with other chemical compounds. Glucosamine supplements are widely used in the United States and Canada as dietary supplement that provides health benefits for conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Many believed that by taking glucosamine supplements, it can provide the health benefit of assisting the body in maintaining and repairing the damaged cartilage and improving the lubricating and cushioning fluids in the joints thereby arresting the progressive damage caused by osteoporosis and arthritis and to some extent may even reverse the damage.

Glucosamine Medicinal Uses

Glucosamine Health Benefits: Orteoarthritis

For many years, the potential health benefit of glucosamine has been the subject of extensive studies to determine its efficacy in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. The results of the these studies were varied, some results particularly those funded by industries reported a favorable activity while those that are independent reported there is little to no benefit at all.

But the most recent report as published in the Rheumatology International 2012 Mar 30, entitled “Role of glucosamine in the treatment for osteoarthritis” by Reginster JY, Neuprez A, Lecart MP, Sarlet N, Bruyere O. of Department of Public Health Sciences, CHU Sart Tilman, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium, stated that there are now convergent body of evidence that suggests the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in improving the symptoms as well as in delaying the structural progression of osteoarthritis when 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate was administered daily to osteoporosis patients with lower limb problems.

This dose of glucosamine sulfate has also been shown, in two independent studies, to prevent the joint space narrowing observed at the femorotibial compartment in patients with mild-to-moderate knee osteoarthritis. This effect also translated into a 50 % reduction in the incidence of osteoarthritis-related surgery of the lower limbs during a 5-year period following the withdrawal of the treatment. Some discrepancies have been described between the results of studies performed with a patent-protected formulation of glucosamine sulfate distributed as a drug and those having used glucosamine preparations purchased from global suppliers, packaged, and sold over-the-counter as nutritional supplements.

Glucosamine Health Benefits: Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that occurs when there is an increased pressure in the eyeball (intraocular pressure) where it poses a risk of damage to the optic nerve. The high pressure inside the eye restricts the blood flow to the optic nerve consisting of more than 1 million nerve fibers that come together to transmit visual information to the brain. As this happens, the optic nerve will be deprived of needed nutrients and will start to die that if left untreated will cause loss of eyesight or blindness.

Glucosamine sulfate supplements have been used by some people to treat glaucoma. However, the efficacy of this treatment is not supported by any scientific evidence. Very little research has been done to determine its health benefits for the eye. Glaucoma is a serious disease that can cause blindness and self medication is not advised; always consult your eye doctor when glaucoma is suspected.

Glucosamine Health Benefits: Weight Loss

In recent years, sales for weight loss supplements had jack up to billion dollar business in the United States and is still increasing. This is a very attractive motivation for most industries to keep coming up with supplements that promise weight loss. Glucosamine sulfate is one such chemical marketed as a weight loss supplement even without any scientific evidence of its health benefits. Glucosamine sulfate may be found as an ingredient in some weight loss supplements and are marketed under different brand names. In the United States, whenever it is marketed as a supplement, the government does not require strict regulation. Glucosamine may or may not offer any benefit for weight loss. Additional research is needed to establish this. It is therefore suggested to consult with your health advisor before taking any glucosamine supplement.

Other Claimed Health Benefits from Glucosamine

  • Glucosamine has anti inflammatory health benefit and can reverse autoimmune reactions.
  • Glucosamine is used to protect and repair gut lining damage.
  • It has health benefits for internal organs such as stomach, bladder and intestines.
  • Glucosamine can preserve overall joint health by reducing pain and inflammation.
  • It is widely believed that it can rebuild damaged tissues
  • Glucosamine is also used for rebuilding stronger bones after fractures or injuries

Other Scientific Studies Relating to Glucosamine

Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine: Research & Review Articles of February 2006, entitled “Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis” reported that in a multicenter, double-blind, placebo- and celecoxib-controlled Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), the efficacy were evaluated as a treatment for knee pain from osteoarthritis. The trial was done on 1,583 patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and administered with 1500 mg of glucosamine daily, 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, 200 mg of celecoxib daily, or placebo for 24 weeks.

The results showed that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate were not significantly better than placebo in reducing knee pain by 20 percent. For patients with moderate-to-severe pain at baseline, the rate of response was significantly higher with combined therapy than with placebo.
The study thus concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination did not reduce pain effectively in the overall group of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee but may be effective in the subgroup of patients with moderate-to-severe knee pain.

Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma

Alternative Medicine Review. April 2001 entitled “Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma” reported that glucosamine along with other vitamin C, lipoic acid, vitamin B12, magnesium, and melatonin may hold promise for glaucoma treatment by increasing the circulation of the aqueous fluid that feeds the optic nerve with essential nutrients.

Effects of diet type and supplementation of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM on body composition

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, June 2011 entitled “Effects of diet type and supplementation of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM on body composition, functional status, and markers of health in women with knee osteoarthritis initiating a resistance-based exercise and weight loss program” have reported that thirty sedentary women with clinically diagnosed knee osteoarthritis participated in a 14-week exercise and weight loss program.

The participants were given a low fat higher carbohydrate or higher protein  diet while participating in a supervised 30-minute circuit resistance-training program three times per week for 14-weeks. In a randomized and double blind manner, participants were given supplements containing 1,500 mg/d of glucosamine, 1,200 mg/d of chondroitin sulfate, and 900 mg/d of methylsulfonylmethane or a placebo.

The results showed that participants in both groups experienced significant reductions in body mass, fat mass, and body fat with no significant changes in fat free mass or resting energy expenditure. The perception of knee pain and knee stiffness was decreased while muscular endurance, balance indices improved in both groups with no differences among groups. Functional aerobic capacity was increased to a greater degree for those in the HP and GCM groups while there were some trends suggesting that supplementation affected perceptions of knee pain. This further suggests that supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin provided marginal health benefits.

Glucosamine Usage, Dosage, Warnings and Side Effects

Where can I get or buy Glucosamine supplement?

Glucosamine sulfate is widely available in most health stores and online stores in its own or as an ingredient in combination with other supplements. Because the supplement manufacturing industries are not closely regulated, it is best to buy from reputable manufacturers. There are a couple of brands available in Amazon. One that enjoys high user review is Mobility Health Supplement for Pain, Aches, Soreness & Inflammation - 180 tablets.

Glucosamine Usage and Dosage

Research results recommended glucosamine sulfate is to be taken by mouth at 1,500mg per day, taken at once or taken 500mg three times a day. Or you can check and follow the instruction as directed in the product label.

Glucosamine Side Effects

Glucosamine sulfate is considered safe for adults when taken at recommended dosage. Glucosamine sulfate side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn. Other side effects include skin irritation, headache and drowsiness.

Glucosamine in Pregnancy & Breast Feeding

There is no sufficient research available to establish the side effects of glucosamine to pregnant women. It is best not to use glucosamine sulfate to stay on the safe side.

No sufficient research is likewise available to establish potential side effects of glucosamine for breast feeding mothers and infants. Stay on safe side, do not use glucosamine sulfate.

Glucosamine and Diabetes

Glucosamine sulfate is a form of amino sugar and thus some scientists suggested that it might affect the blood sugar level in people with diabetes. However, recent research showed that glucosamine sulfate does not seem to raise blood sugar level. Glucosamine is considered safe for most people with diabetes as long as it is taken at recommended dosage and under the supervision of a health practitioner.

Glucosamine and Shellfish allergy

Some concern has been raised on the potential side effect of glucosamine sulfate to people with shellfish allergy, given that glucosamine sulfate is derived from the shell of shellfish. However, most shellfish allergy is caused by the meat and not from the shell. Glucosamine sulfate has been found not to cause any allergic reactions to people with shellfish allergy.

Featured Articles

Suggested Stories

blog comments powered by Disqus

Article last reviewed: 10.17.2016