Glucosamine (C6H13NO5) is an amino sugar and a prominant precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is found as a major component of the exoskeletons of crustaceans and other arthropods, in fungi and many higher organisms and is one of the most abundant monosaccharides. It is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons. Glucosamine is commonly used as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
Oral glucosamine is commonly used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Since glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans, and glycosaminoglycans are a major component of joint cartilage, supplemental glucosamine may help to rebuild cartilage and treat arthritis. Its use as a therapy for osteoarthritis appears safe, but there is conflicting evidence as to its effectiveness, despite the positive results evidenced in several prospective controlled clinical trials.
A typical dosage of glucosamine salt is 1,500 mg per day. Glucosamine contains an amino group that is positively charged at physiological pH. The anion included in the salt may vary. Commonly sold forms of glucosamine are glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride. The amount of glucosamine present in 1500 mg of glucosamine salt will depend on which anion is present and whether additional salts are included in the manufacturer's calculation. Glucosamine is often sold in combination with other supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane.
Glucosamine is a popular alternative medicine used by consumers for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is also extensively used in veterinary medicine as an unregulated but widely accepted supplement.
Clinical studies have consistently reported that glucosamine appears safe.