Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is produced naturally in humans. It is also found in seashells, or it can be made in the laboratory. Glucosamine hydrochloride is one of several forms of glucosamine.
It is important to read the labels of glucosamine products carefully since several different forms of glucosamine are sold as supplements. These products may contain glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, or N-acetyl-glucosamine. These different chemicals have some similarities. But they may not have the same effects when taken as a dietary supplement. Most of the scientific research on glucosamine has been done using glucosamine sulfate. See the separate listing for glucosamine sulfate. The information on this page is about glucosamine hydrochloride.
Dietary supplements that contain glucosamine often contain additional ingredients. These additional ingredients are frequently chondroitin sulfate, MSM, or shark cartilage. Some people think these combinations work better than taking just glucosamine alone. So far, researchers have found no proof that combining the additional ingredients with glucosamine adds any benefit.
Products that contain glucosamine and glucosamine plus chondroitin vary a great deal. Some do not contain what the label claims. The difference can range from 25% to 115%. Some products in the US that are labeled glucosamine sulfate are actually glucosamine hydrochloride with added sulfate. This product will likely have different effects than one containing glucosamine sulfate.
People take glucosamine hydrochloride by mouth for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma, a jaw disorder called temporomandibular disorder (TMD), joint pain, back pain, and weight loss.Glucosamine hydrochloride is applied to the skin in combination with chondroitin sulfate, shark cartilage, and camphor for osteoarthritis.Glucosamine hydrochloride is used parenterally and short-term to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms.
1.High cholesterol. Early research suggests that glucosamine hydrochloride does not affect cholesterol or triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.
2.Bone and joint disease called Kashin-Beck disease. Early evidence shows that taking glucosamine hydrochloride along with chondroitin sulfate reduces pain and improves physical function in adults with a bone and joint disorder called Kashin-Beck disease. The effects of glucosamine sulfate on symptoms of Kashin-Beck disease are mixed when the supplement is taken as a single agent.
3.Knee pain. There is some early evidence that glucosamine hydrochloride might provide some pain relief for people who have frequent knee pain as a result of joint injury.
4.Osteoarthritis. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis. Most of the evidence supporting the use of glucosamine hydrochloride comes from studies of a particular product (CosaminDS, Nutramax Laboratories). This product contains a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and manganese ascorbate. Some evidence suggests that this combination can improve pain in people with knee osteoarthritis. This combination might work better in people with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis than in people with severe osteoarthritis. Another product (Gurukosamin & Kondoroichin, Suntory Wellness Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) containing glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and quercetin glycosides also seems to improve knee osteoarthritis symptoms.
5.Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that taking a specific glucosamine hydrochloride product (Rohto Pharmaceuticals Co.) in combination with prescription medical treatments reduces pain compared to a sugar pill. However, this product does not seem to decrease inflammation or reduce the number of painful or swollen joints.
6.Jaw pain (temporomandibular disorder). Early research shows that taking a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and calcium ascorbate twice daily reduces joint swelling and pain, as well as noise made at the jaw joint, in people with temporomandibular disorder.
9. Weight loss.