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Glucosamine Sulfate
(GS)


open quote logo quotation Scientific evidence shows that this supplement is very helpful in treating arthritis pain. It also seems to slow down the degeneration of the joints. close quote quotation logo



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Obviously pain free movement is what you are trying to achieve. Freedom from pain should occur once the joint is sufficiently repaired. This might be the reason why some research shows GS to be not as effective as would be expected. Everyone have different levels of joint damage and tolerance to pain.

In addition, sulfate is required for the regeneration of the cartilage. It has been suggested by researchers that GS would be more effective than glucosamine hydrochloride. Knowing this, we will suggest GS (and not the hydrochloride form) combination products that also contain chondroitin and MSM. We believe there will be no difference in the capsule, powder or liquid formulation; they would be equally effective if they contained identical ingredients.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, we recommend a dosage of 500 mg taken three times daily (1,500 mg daily dose) along with chondroitin 200 to 400 mg three times daily. It works and it is supported by scientific research.

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf rating system natural remedies review benefit side effect Knee Pain

Several studies show that GS at dosages of 2 grams daily helps with reducing knee pain.

A well-designed three year study showed reduction in pain and no further joint space damage for the group taking 1500 mg of GS daily compared to placebo (sugar pill).

leaf rating system natural remedies review benefit side effect Osteoarthritis / Arthritis

The benefits of GS for treating osteoarthritis varies. Overall, there are many positive results of using GS (alone or in combination with chondroitin or MSM). There are also reports that show glucosamine is no better than placebo.

One research study showed that GS can cross the skin to work in the joint space. However, buy GS cream that also have other useful ingredients such menthol, camphor, capsaicin, MSM and/or Celadrin. This will increase the pain-relieving benefits of the cream.

leaf rating system natural remedies review benefit side effect Back Pain

Some research studies suggest GS can be used to treat people with back pains. More research will be required to further prove this. We expect similar benefits so it is definitely worth taking for treating back pain.


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Facts about GS

GS is either made synthetically or from marine exoskeletons (shrimp, lobster and crabs). The form GS is made synthetically. GS is needed by your body to make products (mucopolysaccharides) for forming and regenerating tendons, cartilage, ligaments and synovial fluid (fluids found in the joints). As we age, we loose some of it in our body, causing the cartilage to thin.

A quick review of literatures shows that more studies are done with GS than the hydrochloride form. Studies done with GS give better results than with the hydrochloride form. Thus we recommend that it is best to use GS rather than the hydrochloride form.

Most studies measure pain relief when doing research on GS. The perception of pain is very subjective and varies a lot from individual to individual. There are very little studies that looked at the actual joint by x-ray or arthroscopy. One study showed that GS made a modest improvement in the quality of the cartilage of the knee joint.

More research studies are available for GS than with the hydrochloride form. As sulfate is also required for making and repairing cartilage, researchers believe that using GS rather than hydrochloride form would be a better choice.


My dog (or cat) suffers from arthritis pain? Can they take it?

Absolutely. GS and combination supplements have been used safely in dogs by vets to treat arthritis. It is definitely worthwhile to give it a try for your beloved pet. The good news is that there are no "placebo" problems when you give it to your canine or feline! They have no clue as to what you are giving to them. If it works, you'll absolutely know that it is not because it's in their head!

There are positive results in studies of using supplements containing GS in animals such as dogs and cats.

You can buy the formulation sold in pharmacies or health food stores designed for human use (perhaps in the liquid formulation). This will save you money as the pet specific formulation do cost more money.


How fast does it work?

Many people is under the false impression that glucosamine sulfate (GS) is designed to help with arthritis pain. It is not a pain relief medication in itself; it is designed to provide more of the substance needed to allow the cartilage to regenerate and repair itself.

It could take many months, and possibly upwards of a year before you get pain relief from taking GS. However, some people can get relief from pain in as short as a week. It all depends on the severity of the arthritis problem.


So does it cure arthritis?

It all depends on the health status of your joints. GS may not be able to repair severely damaged arthritic joints. However, it is shown that GS can prevent further joint damage and at the least, slow down the progression of this debilitating disease.


I hear that it's better to combine this with chondroitin. Is this true?

Yes. Chondroitin is also needed and studies show that you get better pain relief than just taking glucosamine by itself.  This combination is the what we suggest you take. You may also want to consider taking MSM as well. These three combinations are often found in products marketed to treat arthritis pain.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

Orally

Transdermally (through the skin)

  • osteoarthritis of the knee
  • back pain
  • joint pain
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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

GS might cause stomach related side effects such as bloating and cramps. Other side effects reported include constipation, diarrhea, drowsiness, nausea, headaches and skin rash.

Some studies suggest that GS might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes but additional studies done showed no such effects. This is not a significant risk if your diabetes condition is under control. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely when you start glucosamine.

A review of current research shows that GS does not affect the cholesterol levels or blood pressure.

Safety - Many studies have proven that oral GS is safe to use in research studies lasting up to 3 years.

Topically applied GS cream are safe. Some combination of glucosamine creams might contain other ingredients (such as capsaicin) that might cause skin irritation and a burning sensation.

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Common Drug Interactions

Warfarin - Caution

GS can increase the blood-thinning effect of warfarin or ASA (Aspirin). Monitor closely when you start or stop taking GS while on warfarin. Consult a healthcare profession and report any usual bleeding.

Diabetes - Potential concern

Monitor blood sugar levels if you are starting on GS.

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Dosage & How to Take It

The typical dosage of GS is 500 mg taken three times daily.

GS can also be taken as 750mg twice daily.

Often, GS is combined with other products such as chondroitin, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), bromelain, boswellia and/or devil's claw.

Various GS cream formulations also contain menthol, camphor, capsaicin, chondroitin, MSM and/or Celadrin. They are all applied by rubbing onto the affected joints two to four times daily.

GS can be found in powder, liquid, tablet and capsule formulation either alone or with other supplements.


Related topics

Osteoarthritis - Natural Remedies

Recommended Diet for Arthritis Pain




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Updated: March 4, 2010

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