Glucosamine is a precursor for substances that provide the foundation for many of the body’s tissues including tendons, ligaments, cartilage, collagen, and more. What’s more, glucosamine supports the health of tissues that make up many of the body’s organs.

Glucosamine does not occur in foods. Supplemental sources of glucosamine are derived from the processed exoskeleton of shrimp, lobster, and crab shells.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

500-2,000mg daily.

Most Common Dosage

500mg, 3 times a day.

Dosage Forms

Capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders often in combination with chondroitin sulfate.

Reported Uses

Glucosamine has another, related benefit in addition to supporting health of joints and tissues. It also functions as an anti-inflammatory. Studies that have looked at glucosamine’s anti-inflammatory properties have suggested that it may treat two common types of arthritis, gonarthritis and osteoarthritis (1) , (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) though not all the research agrees. (6) Studies noted not only symptomatic improvement in patients with knee osteoarthritis but also the arthritis did not progress as rapidly as it did in the placebo group. (7) , (8) Benefits may, in some cases, even rival those offered by ibuprofen – without the potentially harmful side effects associated with the drug. Another study indicates that the combination of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and manganese ascorbate was more effective at slowing the progression of cartilage breakdown than any of these agents alone. (9)

Glucosamine has also been used to treat kidney stones and the joint noises and pain associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). (10) , (11) Finally, glucosamine may promote faster healing and lessen scarring from wounds or surgery. (12)

Toxicities & Precautions


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This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

In a sodium or potassium restricted diet, the use of glucosamine hydrochloride is recommended instead of glucosamine sulfate.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.


  1. View Abstract: Franci B, Campagna S, Battisti E, et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Glucosamine Sulfate in the Treatment of Gonarthritis. Clin Ter. Mar1996;147(3):99-105.
  2. View Abstract: Vaz AL. Double-blind Clinical Evaluation of the Relative Efficacy of Ibuprofen and Glucosamine Sulphate in the Management of Osteoarthrosis of the Knee in Out-patients. Curr Med Res Opin. 1982;8(3):145-49.
  3. Muller-Fassbender H, et al. Glucosamine Sulfate Compared to Ibuprofen in Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 1994;2(1):61-69.
  4. View Abstract: Qui GX, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Glucosamine Sulfate Versus Ibuprofen in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. Arzneimittelforschung. May1998;48(5):469-74.
  5. View Abstract: Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. Jan2001;357(9252):251-6.
  6. View Abstract: Hughes R, Carr A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of glucosamine sulphate as an analgesic in osteoarthritis of the knee. Rheumatology. 2002;41:279-284.
  7. View Abstract: Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, Machacek S, Giacovelli G, Rovati LC. Glucosamine Sulfate Use and Delay of Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis: A 3-Year, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-blind Study. Arch Intern Med. Oct2002;162(18):2113-23.
  8. View Abstract: Bruyere O, Pavelka K, Rovati LC, et al. Glucosamine sulfate reduces osteoarthritis progression in postmenopausal women with knee osteoarthritis: evidence from two 3-year studies. Menopause. Mar2004;11(2):138-43.
  9. View Abstract: Lippiello L, Woodward J, Karpman R, Hammad TA. In vivo chondroprotection and metabolic synergy of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Clin Orthop. Dec2000;(381):229-40.
  10. View Abstract: Baggio B, et al. Effects of the Oral Administration of Glycosaminoglycans on Cellular Abnormalities Associated with Idiopathic Calcium Oxalate Nephrolithiasis. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1991;40(3):237-40.
  11. View Abstract: Shankland WE 2nd. The Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Osteoarthritis of the TMJ: A Preliminary Report of 50 Patients. Cranio. Oct1998;16(4):230-35.
  12. View Abstract: McCarty MF. Glucosamine for Wound Healing. Med Hypotheses. Oct1996;47(4):273-75.