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Is Glucosamine Sulfate More Effective Than Glucosamine Hydrochloride?

By August 14, 2008

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The effectiveness of glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis has been debated for years. Clinical trials have produced conflicting results and patients were left confused by the information available. The scientific evidence shares the stage with testimonials from patients who have used the dietary supplement -- some swear by it while others say it did nothing for them. Most doctors resigned themselves to saying "you can give it a try".

Some clinical trials have suggested that the effectiveness of glucosamine may depend on the form you use -- glucosamine sulfate versus glucosamine hydrochloride. Trials of glucosamine hydrochloride though have shown it to be no better than placebo. That's a waste of money then, isn't it? Clinical trials that did conclude glucosamine offered positive results were those that focused on glucosamine sulfate and were carried out by one maker of glucosamine sulfate supplements -- Rottapharm.

A study published online August 12, 2008 in Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology discussed the results of a 2-year trial that compared glucosamine sulfate (not from Rottapharm) to placebo in patients with hip osteoarthritis. Glucosamine sulfate was found to have no effect on pain or x-ray evidence of structural changes related to hip osteoarthritis -- once again raising questions about its effectiveness as a pain reliever or disease modifier.

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Photo by Chris Rose (iStockphoto)

May 1, 2010 at 9:12 pm
(1) joebuck says:

I a 65yr male using glucosamine sulfate for several years to help me pee. It helps keep a strong stream so I stopped taking flowmax – it works – I use Walmart brand and I can see a change daily and during the day if i use glucosamine sulfate. It works

June 27, 2012 at 2:57 am
(2) SIMON XIE says:

I am 64 now. In 2004 I began to take glucosamine sulgate. I find it effective to me. I keep taking it everyday. Sometimes glucosamine sulfate and sometimes glucosamine HCL.

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