Glucosamine supplementation has become popular among arthritis sufferers. Since, glucosamine sulfate occurs naturally in the cartilage and joint fluid of your body, it is proposed that dietary glucosamine supplementation or topical applications will help strengthen and repair damaged joint cartilage. Two different supplemental forms of glucosamine exist: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. N-acetyl-glucosamine is an injectable form. Also, glucosamine is often used in combination with chondroitin, another natural component of joint cartilage. The three forms of glucosamine have chemical similarities but likely do not produce the same physiological result. When glucosamine is combined with chondroitin, the treatment results become even more complicated to assess.

Dietary Glucosamine

The United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, does not regulate dietary supplements. No guarantee of purity or safety is enforced in these products. Read the labels carefully and compare the price per day. A typical daily dosage is 1500 milligrams per day.

A study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” by D.O. Clegg and co-authors, suggests that glucosamine and chondroitin given separately to different patients did not reduce osteoarthritis knee pain. Glucosamine given in combination with chondroitin showed a possible effect for reducing pain in those with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis. Others believe that it is the sulfate that is important to cartilage. Therefore, glucosamine sulfate has the potential to be more beneficial than the other two, though no clear proven physiological value has been found for any of the dietary glucosamine supplements.

Topical Glucosamine

Topical glucosamine is sold as a cream to apply directly over the area of pain. A study by M. Cohen in the “Journal of Rheumatology” suggests that topical glucosamine with chondroitin was effective in relieving arthritis pain, though other reputable medical authorities indicate that there is no clear evidence of topical glucosamine helping patients with joint pain.

Glucosamine & Diabetics

Since glucosamine is considered to be a type of sugar, concerns arise about glucosamine supplementation in patients with diabetes. Research has found that glucosamine did not significantly affect blood glucose levels in diabetics, nor did it increase insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, more long-term studies need to be completed to thoroughly evaluate diabetic patient response to dietary glucosamine.


Most glucosamine is made from the outer skeletons of shellfish. Vegetarian glucosamine, made from corn, is available as well. Allergic reactions to glucosamine products may be a concern for those with shellfish allergies, although they typically react to the shellfish meat, not the shells.

If you are unsure of what is the best treatment option for your joint pain, or if your condition has not improved despite standard treatments and have been told to consider surgery,
simply call us at +65 6732 2397 or leave a message below for Dr Tan to discuss a customized non-invasive solution for you.