NOTE: We are updating our coronavirus (COVID-19) page with evidence as it comes in.
Summary of Glucosamine
Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details
Glucosamine is a supplement derived from shellfish.
Glucosamine is primarily sold as a joint health supplement. Studies show that supplementing glucosamine sulfate will reduce the rate of collagen (joint tissue) degradation and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Though glucosamine is comparable to acetaminophen, the reference drug for osteoarthritis, in potency, it is not as reliable.
Studies on athletes supplementing glucosamine are limited, but preliminary evidence suggests doses as high as 3,000mg of glucosamine sulfate may be able to slow joint degradation. This effect is most relevant for athletes participating in high impact sports, like running.
Though preliminary evidence suggested glucosamine supplementation could cause insulin resistance, follow up studies conclude that glucosamine supplementation does not affect glucose metabolism.
Glucosamine is very safe to supplement and its most common side-effect is flatulence. Glucosamine supplementation cannot cure osteoarthritis, but it can slow the progression of the disease.
Want to know which supplements you should take?
Examine.com bases all of its recommendations based on research. We’re a trusted resource because we don’t sell or even advertise supplements.
If you’re tired of wasting time and money on supplements that don’t work, our 17 Supplement Guides will help you figure out precisely what to take — and what to skip — based on your health goals and the latest scientific evidence. There’s a reason why over 50,000 customers rely on Examine.com’s independent and science-based analysis.
And best of all — free lifetime updates are included!
I want unbiased recommendations to improve my health »
How to TakeMedical Disclaimer
Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details
To supplement glucosamine, take 300 – 500 mg, three times a day, for a total daily dose of 900 – 1,500 mg. The benefits of glucosamine are dose-dependent, and studies use up to 2,000 – 3,000 mg a day, taken in several doses.
Glucosamine sulfate salts are the best way to supplement glucosamine, with glucosamine sulfate as a close second. Glucosamine hydrochloride is ineffective. N-Acetylglucosamine is not glucosamine and should be considered a different supplement.
Glucosamine should be supplemented alongside food.
Improve your health with the latest information on 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes.
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research. Quickly and easily look up scientific research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
Human Effect Matrix
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects glucosamine has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
|Grade||Level of Evidence [show legend]|
|Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials|
|Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
|Minor||Very High See all 8 studies|
|Minor||Very High See all 19 studies|
|Minor||Very High See 2 studies|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||Very High See 2 studies|
|-||- See study|
|-||Very High See 2 studies|
Studies Excluded from Consideration
Get access to the latest nutrition research summarized
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Glucosamine
Things to Note
Is a Form Of
Do Not Confuse With
Possible allergic reactions in response to shellfish
Although there does not appear to be a large adverse interaction between glucosamine and diabetes (some schools of thought believe that glucosamine induces insulin resistance, which doesn't appear to be that reliable in humans after oral ingestion) it still seems to be prudent to ask a medical doctor about using glucosamine if one is pre-diabetic or diabetic
Although glucosamine per se is not allergenic, other bioactives from its source (shellfish) may be found in some dietary supplements and thus persons with shellfish allergies should take caution in using glucosamine supplementation
Tired of misinformation? Get unbiased info on supplements.
At Examine.com, our incentives line up with yours — getting unbiased information. It’s why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements.
Join over 250,000 people who’ve learned about effective versus overrated supplements, supplement buying tips, and how to combine supplements for safety and efficacy.
Click here to see all 191 references.