What Is Glucosamine and What Critical Role in the Body Does It Perform

Glucosamine performs a critical role in the building of cartilage and there are numerous individuals taking it as a supplement to treat osteoarthritis and arthritis. It is naturally in the fluid around joints, in animal bones, shellfish, bone marrow and fungi.

Extracted from shells

Glucosamine, especially glucosamine sulfate, is extracted from the shells of shellfish to make dietary pills as supplements. A synthetic form is also made in laboratories.

What is it?

Glucosamina comes in a few forms including:

  • Glucosamine sulfate,
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride,
  • N-acetyl-glucosamine.

Although similar, these alternatives can have diverse effects when used as dietary supplements.

Some dietary supplements

In some supplements taken for diet, glucosamine is united with extra ingredients, such as chondroitin sulfate, shark cartilage or MSM.


Chondroitin is a substance related to glucosamine and is found obviously in joints.

Some claims

Many individuals make the claim that this combinations in the supplements they take does help, but researchers make the argument that this is lacking in scientific proof. To date, there are studies into the potential health benefits of glucosamine using glucosamine sulfate.

Different forms taken by mouth

Glucosamine is normally taken by mouth and comes in different forms, including:

  • Glucosamine sulfate
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride
  • N-acetyl-glucosamine

Various effects

Although similar, these variations can have various effects when used as dietary supplements. In many dietary supplements, glucosamine can be united with other ingredients, such as MSM, chondroitin sulfate, or shark cartilage. Chondroitin is a similar substance to glucosamine and is found naturally in joints, as well.

Combinations help

Some people claim that the combinations in these supplements do help, but researchers argue that there is no scientific proof to validate this claim. Currently, most studies into the potential health benefits of glucosamine focus on glucosamine sulfate.

Reputable outlets for buying

When buying any dietary supplements, it is worthwhile to do so from outlets that are well-known and reputable. The ‘United States National Institutes of Health’ or (NIH) makes the point that glucosamine sulfate products do not continually comprise the ingredients as listed on their label. Also, tests have shown that the glucosamine content can range from 0-100 percent. In many cases, the labels will make the claim that the products contain glucosamine hydrochloride, when it contains, glucosamine sulfate.


Glucosamine is essential for the building of cartilage. Cartilage is a hard yet flexible tissue for connection found in various parts of the body. This tough, yet rubbery tissue acts at the ends of long bones as padding where they meet joints.

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