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What is Glucosamine?

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 MSM.

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:

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.

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