Category Archives: Types of Glucosamine

Glucosamine Phosphate

What is Glucosamine Phosphate?

Glucosamine phosphate is part of an enzyme that helps facilitate a chemical reaction, the products of which help stimulate glucose metabolism and the process by which glucosamine is produced in the body. Glucosamine phosphate is essential for carbohydrate synthesis in the body, and a source of energy for a substance known as phophoenolpyruvate.

Glucosamine phosphate aids in sugar metabolism, assisting in conversion of carbohydrates and successful catalyzation of chemicals in the body during transport of carbohydrate sugars in various bio systems. Glucosamine phosphate is part of natural glucosamine in the body, part of the glutamate metabolic pathways, nucleotide metabolic pathways, and phosphotransferase systems or PTS enzymatic pathways in the body.

Aging and Body Deterioration

As with any metabolic system, with aging the body slows down. Metabolic systems deteriorate and begin to function less optimally. Chronic diseases, obesity, poor eating habits and poor health tend to affect the ability of the body to metabolize sugars and fats.

Glucosamine Supplementation

Supplementation with glucosamine may help correct metabolic imbalances and promote less inflammation in the body, which can affect glutamate metabolism, sugar metabolism and the PTS.

Glucosamine Phosphate Benefits

Glucosamine phosphate is helpful for reducing inflammation and improving the overall health and wellness of many body functions. Researchers have confirmed a link between the effects of glucosamine on connective tissue and cartilage, showing that glucosamine in many forms, including sulfate, hydrochloride, chitosan, and n-acetylglucosamine can help restore damaged tissues and improve synovial fluids. It stands to reason that supplementation with glucosamine may improve glucosamine phosphate enzymatic activity in the body as well. This may improve glutamate metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism.

Glucosamine Phosphate Side Effects

Research has shown relatively few side effects associated with consumption of glucosamine, although some studies suggest a link may exist between insulin resistance or glucose intolerance and glucosamine consumption. This link is weak however, and further studies are necessary to confirm whether a risk exists for patients with sugar metabolism problems.

Glucosamine has far fewer side effects than traditional treatment methods for inflammation, including less stomach problems and a reduced chance for hepatic toxicity.

Glucosamine is very beneficial, recommended by many researchers to improve glucosamine phosphate and improve carbohydrate metabolism thereby improving overall sugar and carbohydrate metabolic function, leading to decreased systemic inflammation throughout the body.

Banda K; Gregg CJ; Chow R; Varki NM; Varki A. Metabolism of vertebrate amino sugars with N-glycolyl groups: mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal incorporation of the non-human sialic acid xeno-autoantigen N-glycolyneuraminic acid. J Biol Chem. 2012 Jun 12. Pub Med Available;
Davidson, EA; Blumentha, HJ; Roseman S. Glucosamine 6-phosphate N-acetylase. Methods Enzymol. 9(1): 704-707. Available:


N-acetylglucosamine Overview

N-acetylglucosamine, also known as NAG, is an amide or monosaccharide that derives from glucose. When two or more molecules are added to it along with a substance known as glucuronic acide, N-acetylglucosamine forms hyaluronan.

Medical Uses of N-acetylglucosamine

There are many potential medical uses for n-acetylglucosamine, of particular importance is the potential for its use as a treatment for many autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune cells and tissues begin to attack its own cells.
Typical examples include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and Addison’s Disease.

Many researchers have proposed theories as to why people develop autoimmune conditions. Some believe that T and/or B-cells in the body are not active or somehow become inactivated, and thus are not able to engage the normal immune response.

Still others suggest that normally self-reactive cells called lymph cells that typically react in an immune situation are destroyed during the normal development and maturation of the immune system.

Forms of N-acetylglucosamine

N-acetylglucosamine may come in its raw form or in a chemically modified form derived from shells. Chitosan is a form of N-acetylglocusamine that is metabolically changed. Some studies suggest that this form of glucosamine is ideally suited to individuals suffering from inflammatory conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis. Other conditions that N-acetyl glucosamine may assist with include Crohn’s disease.

How N-acetylglucosamine Works

N-acetylglucosamine works somewhat differently than traditional glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride supplements. Unlike other glucosamine supplements that replenish joint cartilage and improve joint pain, N-acetyl glucosamine actually helps protect the lining of the intestines and stomach.

How this mechanism works is not entirely certain. Researchers believe that substances called the supplement may inhibit metalloprotease activity in the mucosal surfaces in the stomach and intestinal lining. Inflammation in the mucous surfaces causes chronic discomfort and may affect eating habits, leading to further inflammation and other digestive issues and upset.

For individuals suffering from long-term stomach pain and discomfort, this form of glucosamine may prove beneficial. More long-term studies are needed however, to assess the efficacy of this treatment and exact indications for its use for the systemic treatment of irritable bowel and related conditions.

Salvatore, S; Heuschkel R; Tomlin S; Davies SE; Edwards S; Walker-Smith JA; French L; Murch SH. 2000
Dec. A Pilot study of N-acetyl glucosamine, a nutritional substrate for glycosaminoglycan synthesis, in pediatric chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 14(12): 1567-79. PubMed. Available:

Glucosamine Sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate, a natural chemical in the body surrounding the joint tissues, may help lubricate the joints. Glucosamine is not something found in the human body alone however. It appears in many different places throughout nature. For example, glucosamine has been collected from shellfish including crabs and lobsters for years and sold as a dietary supplement.

Glucosamine sulfate sold as supplements isn’t always natural however; many laboratories artificially produce glucosamine sulfate to sell to consumers. This is because glucosamine sulfate is often in high demand to help combat the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and typically strikes after midlife.

Other Uses For Glucosamine Sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate is beneficial for many reasons other than bone strengthening and pain relief. Some researchers have used glucosamine sulfate in an attempt to reduce body fat and stimulate weight loss. Still others have researched the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate for treating eye diseases. While there is no proof that glucosamine sulfate may benefit consumers interested in losing weight or curing diseases of the eye or other chronic illness, some eager consumers may still use glucosamine sulfate for these purposes.

Forms of Glucosamine Sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate is the best form of glucosamine to use because it is most readily absorbed and used by the body. There are other forms of glucosamine available however.

These include :

  • Glucosamine hydrochloride
  • N-acetyl-glucosamine

These different agents have similarities but may not have the same actions when taken as a supplement. Most of the scientific research performed on glucosamine has been done on glucosamine sulfate. Studies conducted show that glucosamine sulfate, when combined with other chemical agents including chondroitin and MSM, may help slow the progression of bone degeneration commonly associated with OA.

How Glucosamine Sulfate Works

Glucosamine may be added to creams and absorbed through the skin. Creams containing glucosamine sulfate sometimes contain other soothing ingredients that help relieve inflammation and pain. Some of the more commonly added ingredients may include menthol, capsaicin, and other heating or cooling agents. Some researchers believe that ingredients other than glucosamine are responsible for the pain relief. However study results to support the use of oral glucosamine supplements for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Researchers believe that glucosamine sulfate works by increasing the fluid in the joints and surrounding joints. It may also help slow down the deterioration of cartilage in the body, which contributes to arthritis and the pain of arthritis. Glucosamine sulfate may work better than other forms of glucosamine because it helps the body produce cartilage. Other forms of glucosamine may not do this, thus they may not work as well as glucosamine sulfate. Be sure to read the labels of any supplements before buying glucosamine to determine whether the produce contains glucosamine sulfate or another form of glucosamine like N-acetyl glucosamine.

Glucosamine Sulfate. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2009. activeIngredientId=807&activeIngredientName=GLUCOSAMINE%20SULFATE

Glucosamine Hydrochloride

What is Glucosamine Hydrochloride?

Studies suggest that glucosamine hydrochloride is an effective long-term treatment for the reduction of knee pain in patients with knee OA. Systematic comparisons of various treatment approaches including chondroitin alone, arthroscopic lavage, and the use of glucosamine hydrochloride suggest that a multi-tiered approach including supplementation with glucosamine hydrochloride may be the best approach for reducing swelling and pain among OA patients with long-standing knee pain.

Why Glucosamine is Better than Surgery and NSAIDs

Glucosamine also has a minimal side effect profile, which for patients is more appealing than taking NSAIDs and engaging in more invasive treatments including surgery or scoping. Poor quality assessment options including arthroscopy generally leave patients unsatisfied, while treatment choices like glucosamine leave patients with hope for the future.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride Benefits

Glucosamine hydrochloride may help other conditions including back pain and eye diseases like glaucoma. Studies regarding these conditions show mixed results. Most supplements containing glucosamine contain additional ingredients which may impact the efficacy of the main ingredient. These may include MSM, shark cartilage and other vitamins and/or minerals. These may or may not impact the health benefits of glucosamine hydrochloride.

Read the Labels

Not all glucosamine hydrochloride is manufactured the same. The amount of glucosamine in a supplement can vary tremendously. Not all products are standardized. Some supplements contain 25% glucosamine hydrochloride, while others may contain more. This is why it is critical to read labels before buying. There are other forms of glucosamine including glucosamine sulfate, which some researchers believe work better than glucosamine hydrochloride.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride vs. Sulfate

Consumers may have to try both to determine which form of glucosamine works best for them. Both forms are salts and deliver glucosamine to the joints and connective tissues. Hydrochloride comes from a plant, whereas glucosamine sulfate is created by adding potassium sulfate or sodium to pure glucosamine hydrochloride.

Thus, only approximately 80% of the glucosamine coming from sulfate is pure glucosamine. Because glucosamine hydrochloride is pure, it is less expensive than its counterpart, glucosamine sulfate. The body can take less glucosamine hydrochloride to realize the same dose found in more glucosamine sulfate, because the body is digesting pure glucosamine HCL rather than a mixed substance.

Houpt, JB; McMillan, R; Wein, C; and Paget-Dellio, SD. Effect of glucosamine hydrochloride in the treatment of pain of osteoarthritis of the knee. J Rheumatol. 1999 Nov. 26(11): 2423-30.
Samson, DJ; Grant, MD; Ratko, TA; Bonnell, CJ; Ziegler, KM; and Aronson, N. Treatment of primary and secondary osteoarthritis of the knee. Evid Rep Technol Assess. 2007 Sep; (157): 1-157.

Glucosamine Chondroitin

What is Glucosamine Chondroitin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are both naturally occurring substances located within the cells of the connective tissues throughout the body. As people age and the body wears down, the need for supplementation arises.

Glucosamine is a form of “amino sugar” derived from the body’s natural resources. The human body’s remarkable mechanical and chemical communication channels help distribute these amino sugars to the connective tissues and cartilage throughout the joints in the body. Chondroitin sulfate is actually a complex carbohydrate. It helps the cartilage in the body retain or hold in water, which is essential for lubrication and joint motion. Without water, the joints cannot move. They become stiff and painful.

These two supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin) are readily available in health food stores as supplements, not as prescription medications or drugs.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a common form of degenerative arthritis affecting roughly 27 million or more adults in the US alone every year. This disease, sometimes known as degenerative joint or degenerative disc disease, results when cartilage in the body breaks down. Cartilage is connective tissue within the body that serves to cushion the edges and ends of bones, particularly the area that attaches bones to joints.

Osteoarthritis causes joint damage, pain, and reduces the motion of joints within the body. Most people do not develop this form of arthritis until later in adult life, but some people will develop it earlier, depending on lifestyle factors, nutrition, gender, and athletic activity. Athletes are sometimes more prone to this condition than the public at large.

Treating Degenerative Arthritis

Glucosamine chondroitin are often recommended as treatments for degenerative arthritis or OA. Other treatments are widely available including anti-inflammatory agents like Celecoxib, or Celebrex. This anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID is a form of COX-2 inhibitor, which works in the body to prevent the COX-2 enzyme from creating inflammation in the body.

However, like many traditional NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and Tylenol, COX-2 inhibitors do not protect the stomach lining. Thus many side effects can result from its use. These include stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding with regular use. Some studies also link the use of COX-2 inhibitors with cardiovascular risk and side effects.

Glucosamine Chondroitin Side Effect Profile

Glucosamine chondroitin however, has relatively few side effects. This supplement is generally considered a natural and safe alternative to traditional pain medications. Research shows that glucosamine is a natural and effective way to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with OA.

Most people that do have side effects associated with taking glucosamine chondroitin supplements experience mild nausea or stomach upset. Generally over time these subside. Glucosamine chondroitin may be a good choice as an add-on treatment for patients being treated by a healthcare provider with OA or other arthritic conditions. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any health supplement.

NCCAM Pub No. D310, October 2008. “Questions and answers: NIH glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis
intervention trial primary study.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NCCAM. Available: