The Best Glucosamine Supplement

LAST UPDATED: August 28, 2018 by Sasha deBeausset
Glucosamine, a naturally occurring amino sugar, is thought to help reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis and other joint problems. For that reason, plenty of people seek out glucosamine supplements to get some pain relief. The best glucosamine supplement can help relieve pain, but won't necessarily perform any miracles.
Natures Aid Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg Valupak Supplements Joint Care Glucosamine & Chondroitin Tablets 400/100mg Simply Supplements Glucosamine 1000mg Transforme Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg Incite Nutrition Glucosamine Sulphate 1500 mg
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Best Glucosamine Supplement Reviews

Natures Aid Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg contains 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulphate 2KCl (potassium chloride). It’s completely sodium free, making it a good option for people concerned about high blood pressure. 1,125 mg of glucosamine are bioavailable from each tablet.

The supplement is made in the UK and is produced using good manufacturing practice (GMP), as recognised by the supplement industry.  The glucosamine in the supplement does come from crustaceans, so it is not a good pick for people who are vegetarian and might not be a good option for those with shellfish allergies.[G38] [G39]

Although the tablets are coated to help make them easy to swallow, many have noted that the pills are quite large. You might need to cut your pills in half to make them easier to take.

Pros

  • Make in the UK following GMP standards
  • Doesn't contain gluten, yeast or lactose
  • Contains 1,500 glucosamine sulphate
  • Sodium-free

Cons

  • Large tablet size makes it difficult for some people to take them
  • Not suitable for vegetarians or people with allergy to crustaceans

Valupak Supplements Joint Care Glucosamine & Chondroitin Tablets 400/100mg contain a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. The glucosamine found in the tablets is glucosamine sulphate 2KCl, so there is no sodium in the pills.

Each pill contains 400 mg of glucosamine sulphate and 100 mg of chondroitin. It’s recommended that you take up to three pills a day for the most benefit. The glucosamine in the pills comes from shellfish, so might not be safe to take if you have allergies. It’s also not suitable for vegetarians.

Pros

  • Pills are sodium free, so are suitable for people with high blood pressure or those on a low sodium diet
  • Supplement contains a mix of glucosamine and chondroitin, which might have more benefit for osteoarthritis than glucosamine alone
  • Made in the UK following GMP
  • Dosing offers more options for people. Pills can be taken throughout the day or several all at once to provide the adequate amount of glucosamine

Cons

  • Derived from shellfish
  • Tablets are large and difficult to swallow

Simply Supplements Glucosamine 1000mg claims to contain more glucosamine per tablet than other brands. The supplements are made from 1000 mg of glucosamine sulphate 2KCl and 75 percent of that is glucosamine, compared to the 50 percent found in most other supplements. The pills are sodium free.

KCl, or potassium chloride, is added to the supplements to help stabilise the glucosamine and help it work more efficiently when taken.

Like other glucosamine sulphate supplements, the active ingredients in Simply Supplements glucosamine is derived from shellfish, making the pills a no-go for vegetarians or for those who need to avoid shellfish. There’s no gelatin in the pills, though.

The pills are on the large side, about 3/4 inch long and they are uncoated. While that doesn’t phase people who have no trouble swallowing pills, it can be a problem for others

Pros

  • 1,000 mg of glucosamine is the ideal daily amount for people taking the supplements for osteoarthritis
  • Contains more actively available glucosamine than other supplement brands
  • No sodium, so suitable for people with high blood pressure

Cons

  • Not a good option for vegetarians or those with allergies thanks to shellfish ingredients
  • Uncoated pills can be difficult for some people to swallow

Transforme Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg offers a lot of glucosamine in a single pill. With 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulphate, you’ll get more than three times the amount found in 400 mg pills and 150 percent more than you’d find in 1,000 mg tablets.

The high dose can be both good and bad. For many people, it’s overkill, as most don’t need more than 1,000 mg of glucosamine at a time. Individuals with osteoarthritis of the knees are better off taking a lower dose multiple times a day than a high dose once a day.

If you have high cholesterol or back pain, taking one 1,500 mg pill of glucosamine a day can be beneficial, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The tablets are designed to be easy to swallow, as they are coated. Although each pill is about 3/4 inch long, they have a dividing line across the centre that makes them easy to break in half

Pros

  • Easy to swallow design
  • Good option for people with back pain or high cholesterol
  • Made in the UK following GMP

Cons

  • No mention of the source for the glucosamine or whether the product is suitable for vegetarians
  • High dose means they aren't ideal for everyone

Incite Nutrition Glucosamine Sulphate 1500 mg is another high-dose glucosamine supplement, with 1,500 mg per tablet. The high amount of glucosamine in the tablet might be too much for some people but ideal for others. Remember to discuss your options with your GP before you start taking any supplements.

The pills are made in the UK in a GMP certified facility. The supplements are also free of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Each bottle contains 365 tablets, which is a full year’s supply if you take one a day.

The manufacturer of the supplement is a family-run company. It has a 100 percent guarantee, meaning you’ll get your money back if you aren’t satisfied with the effectiveness of the glucosamine.

Pros

  • Doesn't contain sodium
  • High dose of glucosamine can be appropriate for people with back pain or high cholesterol levels
  • Made in the UK, GMO-free
  • Large number of tablets in a single bottle
  • 100 percent money back guarantee from manufacturer

Cons

  • Pills are on the large side, and some people have had trouble swallowing them
  • 1,500 mg of glucosamine is too much for most people
  • Contain shellfish

How to Choose Glucosamine

The human body naturally produces glucosamine. It's found in the fluid around the joints, according to the US National Library of Medicine and it plays a role in the development of cartilage. As you get older, your body naturally produces less and less of it, which can affect the functioning of your joints. Glucosamine isn't just found in the human body. It's also in the shells of crabs, lobster and shrimp. Using a glucosamine supplement made from shellfish is fine if you're not allergic to shellfish and aren't vegetarian. Otherwise, you might want to look for a supplement that is produced in a lab or that is made from plant-based sources. Vegetarian glucosamine tablets are occasionally made from corn, for example. Glucosamine supplements are available in several forms, including powders, tablets and capsules. The different types of supplements might also contain a different kind of glucosamine. The types most commonly available include:
  • Glucosamine sulphate
  • N-acetyl glucosamine
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride
  • Glucosamine + Chondroitin
  • Glucosamine + Manganese
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, chondroitin and manganese are often added to glucosamine supplements to improve their effectiveness and to provide better support for bone health. The medical centre warns that it is possible to get too much of a good thing from manganese, though. If you're going to choose a supplement that contains the mineral, make sure you pick one with less than 11 mg, the maximum recommended daily amount. Generally speaking, glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride are the two forms you're most likely to see for sale at the chemist's. N-acetyl glucosamine is usually available as an injection or as an enema, administered by your physician. Consumer Reports sent samples of a variety of supplements to independent labs for testing. The tests looked at the levels of heavy metals found in the supplements, whether the supplements contained the amount of glucosamine they claimed to, and how well the supplements dissolved. Fortunately, all of the supplements contained the amount of glucosamine they claimed to on their packaging. None of the products contained notable amounts of heavy metals, which is also good news.

Benefits of Glucosamine

According to the US National Library of Medicine Glucosamine might not be effective for every person who has osteoarthritis. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK does not recommend that doctors offer glucosamine on the NHS, as there is little evidence to suggest that is particularly useful for all patients with osteoarthritis. Although you aren't able to get the supplement from the NHS, you can purchase it yourself online or at a local chemist. While the supplement won't benefit everyone, there is little evidence suggesting that it is harmful to take.

How to Take Glucosamine

How you should take glucosamine depends on the form of the supplement. Whatever you do, do not exceed the dose recommended on the packaging or by your physician. The supplements come in a range of forms, including capsules and tablets, which you can swallow with water. You can also find liquid glucosamine or glucosamine powder. The powder form of the glucosamine is often mixed with water for drinking. The liquid form might be packaged like a bottle of juice or meant to be taken as drops.

Risks or Disadvantages of Glucosamine

The risks or side effects of glucosamine are usually mild and rare. Some people might experience a bit of stomach upset, especially if they take the supplement on an empty stomach. Glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride might contain levels of potassium or sodium that are problematic for people taking certain medications or with certain conditions. There's also the chance that the supplement will interact with certain medications. If you're taking any blood thinner, you might want to talk to your GP before taking any form of glucosamine. If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, you might want to speak to your GP before taking glucosamine. The supplements might interfere with insulin's effectiveness. Usually, people with diabetes who take glucosamine also have to monitor their blood sugar levels carefully. Finally, glucosamine isn't recommended for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant. Since it doesn't provide any benefit for children, it's also not recommended for people under age 18.  

Conclusion

Although they aren't suitable for vegetarians or those with shellfish allergies, Simply Supplements Glucosamine 1000mg tablets seem to be the best of the bunch. They contain a moderate amount of glucosamine, so that you don't have to swallow multiple pills throughout the day, but not too much of the active ingredient. They also contain a form of glucosamine that is more bioavailable than other varieties. Before you start taking glucosamine or any supplement, be sure to check in with your GP to make sure it's a good option for you. Also, remember that the supplements need time to work. It might take up to a month before you notice any improvement.

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