Update 8/19/19. Do you take glucosamine? I promise what I am about to tell you are facts about glucosamine you have probably never heard before. These are bombshell facts that most people don't know. I know this is true because I never see them mentioned in supplement ads or infomercials. If you don't know about glucosamine, its one of the best selling over the counter supplements that people use for arthritis. Here are the 4 facts you need to know.
Fact #1 What Type of Glucosamine Are You Using?
Go get your glucosamine supplement right now and look at the back label. I'll bet you a nickel you see “glucosamine HCL” in the ingredients list. Guess what? Glucosamine HCL is not the best type to use. Most people do not know that there are actually 3 main types of glucosamine in supplements.
Of these, glucosamine sulfate has most of the published peer-reviewed evidence that it reduces arthritis pain. I was one of the first people to alert the public to this fact in my book Nutritional Supplements What Works and Why
Glucosamine HCL has some studies to support its use but there are a lot more studies on glucosamine sulfate.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied glucosamine HCL in a trail called the GAIT Study. This was one of the largest glucosamine studies ever. They concluded that glucosamine HCL didn't work, except for very mild forms of arthritis.
So, my question is, if glucosamine sulfate has most of the good evidence, why do so many supplements contain glucosamine HCL?
Go to wherever you get your supplements and look at how many products contain glucosamine HCL. You'll be amazed!
For example, here is my review of the arthritis supplement called Supple. You may have seen it advertised on TV. Look at the type of glucosamine it contains – it has glucosamine HCL! Why?
When people ask me, I often tell them that the best evidence supports glucosamine sulfate over glucosamine HCL. It's by far not perfect and results will vary, but there are more studies to support glucosamine sulfate.
Fact #2. What Type of Arthritis?
Most ads for glucosamine products only say it helps arthritis. They almost never say osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (or OA for short) is the type of arthritis that glucosamine sulfate has been most consistently shown to help.
Even though most people have osteo arthritis, its ironic that glucosamine ads rarely mention this.
There are many conditions that come under the heading of arthritis but glucosamine only seems to help the pain of OA. Glucosamine does not appear to help arthritic conditions like:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lyme disease
Fact #3. Glucosamine Does Not Re-grow Cartilage?
A lot of people think that glucosamine regrows joint cartilage but this has never been proven in any well-controlled published, peer-reviewed study. One study noted that long term use of glucosamine sulfate reduced the progression of osteoarthritis (by 54% compared to placebo) and that's interesting. But as for how it works. I've never seen a good explanation that everybody agrees on.
Fact # 4. They are not Better Together
Most products combine glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate. But nobody is really sure if this combination is superior to glucosamine sulfate alone. I have not seen a definitive study proving that this combination is more effective. Here is a recent study that showed the combination of glucosamine HCL and chondroitin didn't work.
Also, some research links Chondroitin sulfate to prostate cancer.
What do you think?