Glucosamine for Joint Health

Glucosamine is an aminated sugar produced in the body from glucose and the amino acid glutamine as part of a normal metabolic process of carbohydrate taken in our diet.  The amount we produce in our body depends on the individual but is normally around 5 to 12 grams daily.   As we get older we produce less glucosamine which may lead to joint discomfort.   At this point many people begin to consider taking glucosamine as a supplement.

Glucosamine in a supplemental form has been in the market place for years and its benefits are invaluable for those with different types of arthritis and joint pain.  But did you know there are varying types and strengths of glucosamine available in the retail shops?  Do you know what to look out for when purchasing your products?  Here is a short list of what to think about before you make that purchase:

What type of Glucosamine is best

There are two main types of glucosamine available in the market today:  glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate.   Although these two types are similar in action they can have different outcomes in results.

Most of the clinical trials done on the benefits of glucosamine were using the sulfate form.  In a search done on PubMed, the online medicine database services provided by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health in the USA, provided 160 references for glucosamine hydrochloride and 10,540 references for glucosamine sulfate.  This shows the interest and difference in research publications between the two forms.

International guidelines recommend glucosamine sulfate.  One report from the Task Force of the Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutic Trials (ESCISIT) concluded that there was growing evidence to support the use of glucosamine sulfate for symptomatic effects*.  The Osteoarthritis Research Society International stated that a “crystalline preparation of glucosamine sulfate is approved as a medicinal product for the treatment of OA in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America”**.

The research done behind the effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate is well documented and should be taken into consideration when purchasing a supplemental form.

How much should you take

The most effective amount of daily glucosamine sulfate is considered to be 1500mg.  When and how this is taken is very much up to the consumer.   They may be concerned about the size of the tablet/capsule they are able to swallow, if they like the taste of powder and compliance of taking certain amounts of capsules throughout the day compared to just taking one.  Original studies involved giving 500mg of glucosamine sulfate three times daily, but subsequent studies confirm that results from 1500mg administered once daily are certainly equal and may even be superior.

Difference between Glucosamine Sulfate and Glucosamine Sulfate-Potassium Chloride Complex

Glucosamine sulfate needs to be stabilised to be taken in a supplement form.  This is done by adding potassium chloride or sodium chloride in the manufacturing process as the stabilising agent.  Once this is done it is called glucosamine sulphate-potassium chloride/sodium chloride complex (or glucosamine sulfate complex).  In order for the supplement to still contain the recommended amount of 1500mg, the complex amount should read higher on the label.   This is why higher dosing products that contain a total complex stating 1990mg of glucosamine sulfate-potassium chloride complex actually ensures that there is 1,500mg of glucosamine sulfate.  Product where the glucosamine complex reads 1,500mg is in reality equivalent to approximately 1130mg of glucosamine sulfate and the remaining 370mg being potassium chloride or sodium chloride.

By Heidi Billington
BHSc Comp Med, Dip Nat, Dip Herb Med, Vitaco Naturopath

Nutra-Life Joint Care One-A-Day is a high-potency-one-a-day formula that delivers a scientifically researched dose of Glucosamine sulfate to help maintain healthy joints. Buy it now from our secure online shop.

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