Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for GLUCOSAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE are as follows:
- Heart disease. People who take glucosamine might have a lower risk of developing heart disease. But it’s unclear what dose or form of glucosamine might work best. Other forms of glucosamine include glucosamine sulfate and N-acetyl glucosamine. It’s also unclear if this lower risk is from glucosamine or from following healthier lifestyle habits.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Early research suggests that glucosamine hydrochloride does not affect cholesterol or triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.
- A disorder that affects the bones and joints, usually in people with selenium deficiency (Kashin-Beck disease). Early evidence shows that taking glucosamine hydrochloride along with chondroitin sulfate reduces pain and improves physical function in adults with a bone and joint disorder called Kashin-Beck disease. The effects of glucosamine sulfate on symptoms of Kashin-Beck disease are mixed when the supplement is taken as a single agent.
- Knee pain. There is some early evidence that glucosamine hydrochloride might relieve pain for some people with frequent knee pain. But other research shows that taking it along with other ingredients does not relieve pain or improve walking ability in people with knee pain.
- Osteoarthritis. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis. Most of the evidence supporting the use comes from studies of a particular product (CosaminDS). This product contains a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and manganese ascorbate. Some evidence suggests that this combination can improve pain in people with knee osteoarthritis. This combination might work better in people with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis than in people with severe osteoarthritis. Another product (Gurukosamin & Kondoroichin) containing glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and quercetin glycosides also seems to improve knee osteoarthritis symptoms.
- The effects of taking glucosamine hydrochloride along with only chondroitin sulfate are mixed. Some evidence shows that taking a specific product (Droglican) containing glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate reduces pain in adults with knee osteoarthritis. However, other research shows that formulas containing glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate are not effective at reducing pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
- Most research suggests that taking glucosamine hydrochloride alone does not reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
- More research has been done on glucosamine sulfate (see separate listing) than on glucosamine hydrochloride. There is some thought that glucosamine sulfate may be more effective than glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis. Most research comparing the two forms of glucosamine showed no difference. However, some researchers have criticized the quality of some of these studies.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking a specific product (Rohto Pharmaceuticals Co.) in combination with prescription medical treatments reduces pain compared to a sugar pill. However, this product does not seem to decrease inflammation or reduce the number of painful or swollen joints.
- Stroke. People who take glucosamine might have a slightly lower risk of having a stroke. But it’s unclear what dose or form of glucosamine might work best. Other forms of glucosamine include glucosamine sulfate and N-acetyl glucosamine. It’s also unclear if this lower risk is from glucosamine or from following healthier lifestyle habits.
- A group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle (temporomandibular disorders or TMD). Early research shows that taking a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and calcium ascorbate twice daily reduces joint swelling and pain, as well as the noise made at the jaw joint, in people with temporomandibular disorder.
- A group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma).
- Back pain.
- Weight loss.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate glucosamine hydrochloride for these uses.
Side Effects Of Glucosamine Hydrochloride
When taken by mouth: Glucosamine hydrochloride is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth appropriately for up to 2 years. Glucosamine hydrochloride can cause gas, bloating, and cramps.
Some glucosamine products do not contain the labeled amount of glucosamine or contain excessive amounts of manganese. Ask your healthcare provider about reliable brands.
Warnings & Precautions
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if glucosamine hydrochloride is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Asthma: Glucosamine hydrochloride might make asthma worse. If you have asthma, use caution with glucosamine hydrochloride.
- Diabetes: Some preliminary research suggests that glucosamine might raise blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, more reliable research indicates that glucosamine does not seem to significantly affect blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Glucosamine with routine blood sugar monitoring appears to be safe for most people with diabetes.
- Glaucoma: Glucosamine hydrochloride might increase the pressure inside the eye and could worsen glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, talk to your healthcare provider before taking glucosamine.
- High cholesterol: There is some concern that glucosamine might increase cholesterol levels in some people. Glucosamine might increase insulin levels. High insulin levels are associated with increased cholesterol levels. However, this effect has not been reported in humans. To be on the safe side, monitor your cholesterol levels closely if you take glucosamine hydrochloride and have high cholesterol levels.
- High blood pressure: There is some concern that glucosamine might increase blood pressure in some people. Glucosamine might increase insulin levels. High insulin levels are associated with increased blood pressure. However, this effect has not been reported in humans. To be on the safe side, monitor your blood pressure closely if you take glucosamine hydrochloride and have high blood pressure.
- Shellfish allergy: There is some concern that glucosamine products might cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to shellfish. Glucosamine is produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. Allergic reactions in people with shellfish allergy are caused by the meat of shellfish, not the shell. But some people have developed an allergic reaction after using glucosamine supplements. It is possible that some glucosamine products might be contaminated with the part of the shellfish meat that can cause an allergic reaction. If you have a shellfish allergy, talk to your provider before using glucosamine.
- Surgery: Glucosamine hydrochloride might affect blood sugar levels and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using glucosamine hydrochloride at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Dosage Of Glucosamine Hydrochloride
The appropriate dose of glucosamine hydrochloride depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for glucosamine hydrochloride. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.