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 SULFATE are as follows:
Likely effective for…
- Osteoarthritis. Most research shows that taking glucosamine sulfate can provide some pain relief for people with osteoarthritis, especially those with osteoarthritis of the knees. For some people, it might work as well as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen; however, pain medications work quickly while glucosamine sulfate can take 4-8 weeks before it provides pain relief. Also, people who take it often still need to take pain medications for pain flare-ups.
- In addition to relieving pain, glucosamine sulfate might also slow the breakdown of joints and prevent the condition from getting worse if it is taken for several years. Some research shows that people who take glucosamine sulfate might be less likely to need total knee replacement surgery.
- There are several kinds of glucosamine products. The most research showing benefit is for products that contain glucosamine sulfate. Products that contain glucosamine hydrochloride do not seem to work as well. Many products contain both glucosamine with chondroitin, but there is no evidence that these products work any better than glucosamine sulfate by itself.
- Glucosamine sulfate does not seem to prevent people from getting osteoarthritis.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
- Joint pain caused by drugs called aromatase inhibitors (aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgias). Early research suggests that taking a combination of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate in two or three divided doses daily for 24 weeks reduces pain in women taking drugs that lower estrogen levels for early-stage breast cancer.
- 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 hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine. It’s also unclear if this lower risk is from glucosamine or from following healthier lifestyle habits.
- Knee pain. Some research shows that taking a specific product containing glucosamine sulfate, methylsufonlylmethane, white willow bark extract, ginger root concentrate, Indian frankincense extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid (Instaflex Joint Support, Direct Digital, Charlotte, NC) in three divided doses daily for 8 weeks reduces joint pain in people with knee pain. But this product doesn’t seem to help joint stiffness or function. Other early research shows that taking 1500 mg daily for 28 days does not reduce knee pain in athletes following a knee injury. However, it does seem to improve knee movement.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Early research shows that taking 1000 mg of glucosamine sulfate by mouth daily for 6 months might reduce the relapse of multiple sclerosis.
- Recovery after surgery. Early research shows that it does not improve function, pain, and performance in male athletes who had surgery to fix a torn ACL. The ACL is a ligament that holds the knee in place during movement.
- 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 hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine. It’s also unclear if this lower risk is from glucosamine or from following healthier lifestyle habits.
- Jaw pain (Temporomandibular disorder). Some research shows that taking glucosamine sulfate works about as well as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) for relieving jaw pain. In some people, pain relief appears to continue for up to 90 days after glucosamine sulfate is discontinued. But research suggests that when 1200 mg of glucosamine sulfate is taken by mouth daily for 6 months, jaw pain and the ability to open the jaw are not improved.
- A group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma).
- Joint pain.
- Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis).
- Weight loss.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate glucosamine sulfate for these uses.
Side Effects Of Glucosamine Sulfate
- When taken by mouth: Glucosamine sulfate is LIKELY SAFE in most adults. It can cause some mild side effects including nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation. Uncommon side effects are drowsiness, skin reactions, and headache.
- When given as a shot: Glucosamine sulfate is POSSIBLY SAFE when injected into the muscle as a shot twice weekly for up to 6 weeks.
Warnings & Precautions
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if glucosamine sulfate is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Asthma: There is one report linking an asthma attack with taking glucosamine. It is not known for sure if glucosamine was the cause of the asthma attack. Until more is known, people with asthma should be cautious about taking products that contain glucosamine.
- Diabetes: Some early research suggested that glucosamine sulfate might raise blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, more recent and more reliable research now shows that it does not seem to affect blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Glucosamine appears to be safe for most people with diabetes, but blood sugar should be monitored closely.
- Glaucoma: Glucosamine sulfate 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: Animal research suggests that glucosamine may increase cholesterol levels. In contrast, glucosamine does not seem to increase cholesterol levels in humans. However, some early research suggests that glucosamine might increase insulin levels. This might cause cholesterol levels to increase. To be on the safe side, monitor your cholesterol levels closely if you take glucosamine sulfate and have high cholesterol.
- High blood pressure: Early research suggests that glucosamine sulfate can increase insulin levels. This might cause blood pressure to increase. However, more reliable research suggests that glucosamine sulfate does not increase blood pressure. To be on the safe side, monitor your blood pressure closely if you take glucosamine sulfate 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 sulfate might affect blood sugar levels and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking glucosamine sulfate at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Dosage Of Glucosamine Sulfate
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For osteoarthritis: 1500 mg once daily or 500 mg three times daily, either alone or together with 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate two or three times daily, has been used for up to 3 years. Also glucosamine sulfate 750 mg twice daily in combination with turmeric root extract 500 mg twice daily has been used for 6 weeks.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For osteoarthritis: A cream containing 30 mg/gram of glucosamine sulfate, 50 mg/gram of chondroitin sulfate, 140 mg/gram of shark cartilage, 32 mg/gram of camphor, and 9 mg/gram of peppermint oil has been applied to the skin as needed for 8 weeks.
INJECTED INTO THE MUSCLE:
- For osteoarthritis: 400 mg of glucosamine sulfate has been injected twice weekly for 6 weeks.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.