What is the difference between the various forms of glucosamine?

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Glucosamine hydrochloride (glucosamine HCl) is the most common form of glucosamine found in supplements. However, studies using glucosamine HCL have reported mostly nonsignificant results, suggesting that this form may not be as effective as other forms, particularly glucosamine sulfate.[1][2]

In comparison, glucosamine sulfate is thought to be more bioavailable when taken orally and has a reduced clearance from the body compared to glucosamine HCL.[3]

There is also a form of glucosamine available as a glucosamine sulfate-sodium chloride complex, with a 2:1:1:2 ratio of glucosamine:sulfate:chlorine:sodium. This formulation, patented by Rottafarma in Germany, is designed to be taken once a day; it is sometimes referred to as the “Rotta formulation”.[4] One study compared the pharmacokinetics of the Rotta formulation and glucosamine sulfate, and found no significant difference.[5] In terms of its efficacy, it’s still unclear whether this glucosamine sulfate salt complex is any more effective than glucosamine sulfate, and further research is needed to determine their comparative efficacy.

1.^Vlad SC, LaValley MP, McAlindon TE, Felson DTGlucosamine for pain in osteoarthritis: why do trial results differArthritis Rheum.(2007 Jul)
3.^Meulyzer M, Vachon P, Beaudry F, Vinardell T, Richard H, Beauchamp G, Laverty SComparison of pharmacokinetics of glucosamine and synovial fluid levels following administration of glucosamine sulphate or glucosamine hydrochloride.Osteoarthritis Cartilage.(2008-Sep)
4.^Herrero-Beaumont G, Ivorra JA, Del Carmen Trabado M, Blanco FJ, Benito P, Martín-Mola E, Paulino J, Marenco JL, Porto A, Laffon A, Araújo D, Figueroa M, Branco JGlucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using acetaminophen as a side comparatorArthritis Rheum.(2007 Feb)
5.^Chhavi Asthana, Gregory M Peterson, Madhur D Shastri, Rahul P PatelVariation in the pharmacokinetics of glucosamine in healthy individualsRheumatology (Oxford).(2021 Mar 2)