Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Supplements: Should you take glucosamine?

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I thought that I would follow-up my first supplement post on glutamine with a post about glucosamine sulfate as it sounds so similar but is very different in both purpose and effectiveness. Glucosamine sulfate (make sure it’s got the sulfate there as that’s the form that’s been shown to be effective) is an amino derivative of glucose. It’s found in the human body in the fluid around joints. Research has shown that, in some people, it can be effective in pain management for osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis). It may also be beneficial for people suffering from TMJ (a joint in the jaw) arthritis. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, it’s believed that glucosamine sulfate may either increase the cartilage and/or fluid around the joints or it may slow down the loss of these or a combination of both. The effective dose of glucosamine sulfate is 1500 mg once a day or 500 mg three times a day. There are no other proven benefits of taking glucosamine sulfate although it has been studied in both glaucoma and weight loss trials.

Make sure you’re actually getting what you pay for. Tests of glucosamine sulfate supplements have found up to 100% difference in the actual amount of the active ingredient present relative to what was listed on the label. They have also found forms of glucosamine used other than glucosamine sulfate. Unfortunately, the supplement industry is not well-regulated in Canada. Before buying a supplement you should do a little research. Make sure the manufacturer is reputable. Make sure the product has an NHP number and look it up online. Check with your pharmacist before you start taking any supplement, including glucosamine sulfate, as there are some contraindications with other medications and medical conditions. For more information on Natural Health Product regulation visit Health Canada. For more information on glucosamine sulfate visit MedLinePlus.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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