Benefits, Uses & Possible Side Effects of Glucosamine

a woman holding her knee


What is glucosamine, and what does it do? Glucosamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the human body. It's classed as an amino sugar chemically. It is a component of a wide range of functional molecules in your body. It's best known for its role in the development and maintenance of cartilage in your joints. 

Some animal and non-human tissues, such as shellfish shells, animal bones, and fungi, contain glucosamine. These natural sources are frequently used to make glucosamine supplements. This supplement is commonly used to treat and prevent joint problems such as osteoarthritis. It may be taken by mouth or used topically as a cream or ointment.

It has the potential to decrease inflammation

  • Glucosamine is a supplement that is commonly used to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory diseases. 
  • Glucosamine seems to have a considerable anti-inflammatory impact, while the mechanisms are unexplained.
  • Although glucosamine and chondroitin have been found to reduce overall inflammation, it's unclear whether they have any anti-inflammatory properties in specific areas. 
  • In human synovial cells, glucosamine and chondroitin have been found to block the activation of inflammatory pathways. 
  • Synovial fluid components, often known as joint fluid, are produced by these cells.
  • Surprisingly, glucosamine's anti-inflammatory properties have also been linked to a lower risk of acquiring inflammatory diseases including type 2 diabetes. 

Supports the health of the joints 

  • One of its primary functions is to promote the proper growth of articular cartilage, a smooth white tissue that covers the ends of your bones where they meet to form joints.
  • Articular cartilage, in conjunction with synovial fluid, reduces friction and allows bones to move freely and painlessly across one another. 
  • Glucosamine is thought to encourage the production of certain chemical molecules, such as collagen, which are critical structural components of articular cartilage and synovial fluid. 
  • It's frequently used to treat bone and joint pain. 
  • Supplements containing glucosamine are often used to treat a range of bone and joint issues.

Glucosamine has a variety of other applications

Although there is limited scientific evidence to support this, glucosamine is commonly used to treat a range of chronic inflammatory disorders. 

Interstitial cystitis 

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition marked by chronic inflammation of the bladder muscles and symptoms such as frequent urination and bladder pain. Glucosamine is widely promoted as a treatment for IC. 

IC is linked to a lack of a substance called glycosaminoglycan. It's thought that taking glucosamine supplements could help treat IC since your body converts glucosamine to glycosaminoglycan. 

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition in which the intestines become inflamed over time, causing symptoms such as bloating, stomach pains, and diarrhoea. It's linked to a glycosaminoglycan deficit, just like IC.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) 

Multiple sclerosis defines to be an illness of the brain and the spinal cord. Fatigue, tremors, and difficulty walking, talking, and seeing are some of the symptoms. 


Glaucoma is a condition of the eye that can result in vision loss and possibly blindness. Some people believe that glucosamine can help them. 

Is it truly effective? 

  • Despite extensive claims regarding glucosamine's beneficial effects on a variety of ailments, available data only supports its usage for a limited number of them. 
  • Other than that, glucosamine is unlikely to help with other illnesses or autoimmune reactions.
  • If you're still thinking about taking glucosamine, think about the supplement's quality. 

Forms of dosage and supplements 

  • A common glucosamine dosage is 1,500–3,000 mg per day, which can be taken all at once or in smaller quantities throughout the day. 
  • Glucosamine tablets supplements can be derived from natural sources such as shellfish shells or fungi, or they can be synthesised in a lab. 

There are three types of glucosamine supplements: 

  1. N-Acetyl glucosamine 
  2. glucosamine sulphate 
  3. glucosamine hydrochloride 

Risks and negative effects that may occur 

Supplements containing glucosamine are generally thought to be safe. Even so, there are several dangers to be aware of. 

A few of the probable negative effects are as follows: 

  • vomiting and nausea 
  • diarrhoea, 
  • heartburn
  • abdominal discomfort

Due to a lack of proof of its safety, you should avoid taking glucosamine if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Also keep in mind that glucosamine can have a minor hypoglycemia effect in patients with type 2 diabetes, however, the risk is limited. If you have diabetes or are using diabetic medications, talk to your doctor before taking glucosamine.

Glucosamine may potentially raise the risk of glaucoma. Those at risk of developing glaucoma, such as those with a family history of glaucoma, those 60 and older, and those with diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, should not take it. 

Take Away 

Glucosamine is a substance found naturally in the body that aids in the formation and maintenance of healthy joints. Glucosamine supplements are often used to treat IBD, IC, and TMJ, as well as other joints, bone, and inflammatory conditions. Even so, most evidence on its efficacy for long-term osteoarthritis symptom management is unclear. While glucosamine isn't a cure-all, others argue that it can't hurt and may be preferable to no treatment at all. So be careful while taking this as a medication.