Glucosamine Structural Formulae

Stereo structural formula of glucosamine is a public domain image, referenced at and forms part of the Wikipedia entry for glucosamine.

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a food supplement that is also used as a source of pain relief.
It is especially associated with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.

Glucosamine supplements have two primary forms, glucosamine sulphate or glucosamine hydrochloride.
It is also commonly blended with chondroitin, although the addition of this has not been scientifically supported through research.

Does glucosamine work?

  • Clinical research has resulted in mixed evidence as to the efficacy of glucosamine;
  • Some trials have demonstrated moderate benefit;
  • Some research has shown no difference between taking glucosamine, or a placebo dosage.

Is glucosamine safe?

  • Studies into the safety of taking glucosamine as a supplement are limited;
  • Most have been conducted over a short time span;
  • Therefore, long-term effects of continued use cannot be assured;

When is Glucosamine Inadvisable to Use?

  • Glucosamine may affect blood sugar. Diabetics should monitor levels;
  • Glucosamine is made from shellfish. Anyone with an allergic reaction to shellfish, or an asthmatic should avoid taking it;
  • Glucosamine may affect blood clotting. It should be avoided by anyone taking warfarin;
  • Glucosamine may decrease the effectiveness of some anti-cancer treatments.

Does Glucosamine Have Any Side Effects?

    • Mild side effects can be experienced when taking glucosamine;
    • These can be nausea, heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation.

Can Glucosamine Be Prescribed by NHS?

        • Studies by the British Medical Journal found that glucosamine and/or chondroitin are not proven to reduce joint pain;
        • The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) could not evidence that glucosamine alters osteoarthritis;
        • GP Practices do not now prescribe glucosamine in line with national guidance;
        • Taking glucosamine sulphate at 1500mg per day is however show benefit, but remains over-the-counter only.

How To Evaluate The Benefits of Glucosamine

        • Keep a diary of pain experiences prior to taking glucosamine;
        • Take a quality Glucosamine supplement for 3-months;
        • Seek medical advice if already taking other prescribed medication, or are in one of the risk groups;


This article is published for informational and/or educational purposes. If you have any concerns about the use of glucosamine, you should always seek assurances from a professional medical practitioner.

Supporting Information

Leave a Reply