What is Glucosamine?
is the form that has been tested in dozens of clinical trials.
It is very similar to glucosamine HCL (hydrochloride) in effectiveness,
because the sulfate is simply a carrier molecule for the actual
glucosamine. Another popular form of glucosamine is known
as glucosamine HCL, or hydrochloride. Some studies have shown
the HCL to be more effective and some have shown the sulfate
to be more effective, so it would be prudent to either try
both individually (probably not the most cost effective option)
and see which one works better for you, or ideally simply
find a product that contains both HCL and Sulfate.
Where Does Glucosamine Come From?
All of the glucosamine forms originated from shellfish, and
has been shown since the first clinical studies in 1980 to
be effective at easing discomfort associated with arthritis
- at least - if not more effectively than common non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin.
Glucosamine sulfate(and HCL) also has very few side effects
in comparison to NSAIDS, which can erode your digestive tract
and cause internal bleeding, liver failure or death when taken
over time or in people over the age of about 45 when your
body being to not be able to heal quite as effectively. “Anti-inflammatory
drugs (prescription and over-the-counter, which include Advil®,
Motrin®, Aleve®, Ordus®, Aspirin, and over 20
others) alone cause over 16,500 deaths and over 103,000 hospitalizations
per year in the US”, according to a review article published
in the New England Journal of Medicine. Clearly you can see
that for long term care, simply masking your pain with NSAIDS
is not the solution, particularly in light of the facts of
how toxic they can potentially be. Many of the newer COX-2
medications such as Vioxx® or
are not much better either. They are “selective”
but only slightly more so than the NSAIDS, and their toxicity
and side effect lists can be extensive. The main concern about
COX 2 drugs is their potential for blood clotting - which
can mean strokes, heart attacks or worse.
Types of Glucosamine to Avoid
Glucosamine alone is perfectly ok, but you should
avoid glucosamine sulfate * NaCL (or KCl)
(or if the ingredients list says potassium
or salt after the sulfate). Some
companies are very tricky about this - unless it just says
glucosamine sulfate or HCL, you likely are getting an inferior
product. It is easy for people to see the glucosamine sulfate
and simply ignore the KCl on the end. We are not all molecular
scientists after all. The NaCl and KCl ("the salts")
refer to even more (unneeded but cheaper) carrier molecules
that can be up to 30% of the product's weight.
Some carrier molecule is needed (such as sulfate or HCL alone)
because raw glucosamine is unstable by itself - it needs to
be bound to the sulfate or HCL carrier in order to be stored
for any period of time. So if you have one of the KCl or NaCl
forms of the sulfate when you think you are buying a quality
product, you are actually getting 30% of your dose
as ordinary table salt. Be advised to watch out for
products with those markings. The less active amounts of glucosamine
you get, the slower your relief will be.
At some point it will likely be so low that you will get no
benefit at all. NAG (N-Acetylglucosamine or N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine),
is another rarer form of glucosamine but should generally
be avoided due to its relative ineffectiveness and expense.
What Kind of Glucosamine Should I Buy?
There are so many different forms and types and brands of
glucosamine out there and the quality varies widely. It is
advised that one seek out a reputable manufacturer (one that
offers a full, no questions asked, money back guarantee) and
follow the old adage that you get what you pay for. It can
also be helpful to look at the label before you buy or get
recommendations from other people you know that use glucosamine.
A good liquid brand should run you about a dollar a day or
slightly less and include glucosamine sulfate or HCL or both
and other "synergistic" (effective in combination)
ingredients as well. Again, glucosamine in tablet form is
not recommended due to low absorption issues. Some of the
better formulas contain will also contain chondroitin and
The product of choice is called Flexicose. Flexicose
uses superior quality liquid glucosamine and is manufactured
in a facility that is fully compliant with with GMP and TGA
certifications. Every batch of Flexicose is tested for quality before being sold. Flexicose has a 90 day money back guarantee (something you
rarely see) and the reports from Flexicose customers have
been overwhelmingly positive. Flexicose contains a total of
14 joint health promoting synergistic ingredients (instead of
1 or 2) and is one of the best brands available today. You
may learn more or purchase Flexicose at: http://www.flexicose.com/
Be sure to visit the Glucosamine
Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine
products broken down by 9 different categories such as price per month, quality and type. Learn what the best products out there are
and how we ranked each.