Glucosamine supplementation

Glucosamine Supplementation: What You Need To Know

Glucosamine Supplementation: What You Need To Know

By Mike Brennan – BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Sciences


Glucosamine supplementation


Joint pain is extremely common in people from all different walks of life. At times it can be extremely debilitating and can severely impact one’s quality of life. Along with physical therapy, many people sometimes turn to nutritional supplements in an attempt to get pain free.

Glucosamine is an amino-sugar derived from shellfish. It can come in many forms such as glucosamine sulphate and hydrochloride (HCL), with the former being the most common. It is a nutritional supplement which is sometimes used to help relieve and treat joint pain/injuries. Its utility as a joint health promotor has been extensively researched, especially regarding osteoarthritis.


knee pain



So…..does it work?

The majority of research on glucosamine supplementation has focused on osteoarthritis patients. Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects cartilage in the joints and can cause muscle and joint pain and stiffness. Research has shown that 3 months of glucosamine sulphate (1500mg/day) supplementation improved function and reduced pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee (Giordano et al., 2009).

Several other studies have similar findings with regards to reducing symptoms and pain in osteoarthritis patients (Pavelká et al., 2002; Pujalte et al., 1980).

Overall, despite a few confounding studies which showed a lack of effectiveness (Rindone et al., 2000), supplementing glucosamine may cause a small reduction (but NOT a complete alleviation) of the associated pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis.


In addition, research involving athletes also found that glucosamine supplementation reduced biomarkers of collagen degradation when taken at a 3000mg daily dose (Momomura et al., 2013). This suggests that glucosamine may help reduce degradation of collagen which may delay joint space narrowing.
It is also worth noting that a higher dose (3000mg) was used to achieve this outcome which suggests that the effectiveness of glucosamine supplementation may be dose-dependent.


Glucosamine Supplementation: Key Points

  • Glucosamine supplementation may cause a slight decrease in the pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • It may also help reduce collagen degradation in certain doses.
  • Doses of around 1500-3000mg spread across several smaller doses throughout the day (around 500mg) appear to elicit these effects.
  • Those with shellfish allergies or diabetes should seek medical advice before considering glucosamine supplementation.



Giordano, N., Fioravanti, A., Papakostas, P., Montella, A., Giorgi, G. and Nuti, R., 2009. The efficacy and tolerability of glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Therapeutic Research, 70(3), pp.185-196.

Momomura, R., Naito, K., Igarashi, M., Watari, T., Terakado, A., Oike, S., Sakamoto, K., Nagaoka, I. and Kaneko, K., 2013. Evaluation of the effect of glucosamine administration on biomarkers of cartilage and bone metabolism in bicycle racers. Molecular medicine reports, 7(3), pp.742-746.

Pavelká, K., Gatterová, J., Olejarová, M., Machacek, S., Giacovelli, G. and Rovati, L.C., 2002. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis: a 3-year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 162(18), pp.2113-2123.

Pujalte, J.M., Llavore, E.P. and Ylescupidez, F.R., 1980. Double-blind clinical evaluation of oral glucosamine sulphate in the basic treatment of osteoarthrosis. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 7(2), pp.110-114.

Rindone, J.P., Hiller, D., Collacott, E., Nordhaugen, N. and Arriola, G., 2000. Randomized, controlled trial of glucosamine for treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The Western Journal of Medicine, 172(2), p.91.