Glucosamine... your questions answered
Glucosamine has become one of the most popular nutritional supplements in the UK and the number of people taking it worldwide is testimony to its effectiveness.
Glucosamine is a major building block of glycosaminoglycans, proteins that form part of cartilage (the tough bone protein that lines the surfaces of bones). It plays an essential role in the maintenance of joint health including the production of new cartilage.
Chondroitin is also a major building block of glycosaminoglycans found naturally in the body where it helps to attract fluid into the cartilage (acting a bit like a shock absorber to cushion the joints). The two work well together and are often found in combination products.
What’s it made from?The glucosamine used in supplements is typically derived from shellfish (from shrimp shells). We sell a Vegetarian Glucosamine HCl 750mg, derived from a corn source, which is also suitable for people with allergies to fish.
Which form is best?Glucosamine is available in two forms, glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl) and Glucosamine Sulphate (2KCl) and although we sell both forms, we always recommend the sulphate form as it this compound that has been used in pretty much all the clinical studies. Some companies favour the hydrochloride form but we see this as a commercial decision rather than one based on any sound clinical evidence.
Some companies point to the fact that the amount of true (or "free") glucosamine per gram of each compound varies and that the hydrochloride form provides more free glucosamine than the sulphate forms, however there is no evidence to show that it is more effective.
What about the potassium level in glucosamine 2KCl?The 2KCl part of the compound Glucosamine Sulphate 2KCl is simply potassium chloride, a harmless non sodium salt that is used to stabilise the Glucosamine. The amount of potassium in 2 of our 1000mg tablets is just 240mg, which is a small but useful contribution to the potassium recommended daily intake of 3500mg. It is now recognised that the typical modern day diet often falls short of this essential mineral
How much is recommended? And for how long?
The level generally recommended is 1500mg of glucosamine sulphate 2KCl for those with specific joint problems. As a general insurance level then 750mg is usually sufficient. Most studies have suggested that glucosamine needs to be taken for at least a month before any beneficial effects will be seen.
How safe is it to take?Glucosamine is a relatively simple molecule containing glucose with an excellent safety record; not surprising given that it is produced naturally within our bodies. It is perfectly safe for long term use.
And what about Chondroitin?Chondroitin as chondroitin sulphate is the form that's been used in most studies and the form we use for our chondroitin. Supplement labels typically provide the amount of "free" chondroitin in the product, but some products do not make this adjustment. For example, a label indicating 400mg of chondroitin may provide just 20% of this amount namely 80mg.
The reason is simply that real chondroitin is relatively expensive and so many manufacturers look to cut corners by buying lower cost material with very little chondroitin.
Chondroitin is typically sourced from shark species and we’re not satisfied that this is a renewable resource. We’re also concerned by reports of how cruel the shark fishing industry is. For this reason we’ve chosen to switch to bovine chondroitin for our supplements as this is a by-product of the beef industry and a well-regulated, high quality material.
What can I take with Glucosamine?Many customers take glucosamine in combination with other joint friendly nutrients such as fish oil, ginger and turmeric as there is no duplication with glucosamine. The truth is that there is no ‘right’ combination of products that can be recommended to everyone. That’s because our bodies are different, our diets are different and our joint problems quite unique to ourselves. That’s why some people will say, for example, that ginger is amazing while others swear by turmeric. So really the only way to find the ‘right’ combination for you is to try and see if it works for you.
Glucosamine products in our range- which one is right for you?We have 7 glucosamine products in our range. This does mean of course that you will have to choose just one, but the following guidelines will help you. There is no clear-cut answer unfortunately as to the right one to choose but the consolation is that none of these are the wrong choice! Whichever one you choose, remember that like all our products, they come with a full money back guarantee. If you need help choosing, remember that the Nutrition Advisors at Nature’s Best are a friendly team who are there to give advice, not sell, so they won’t even take an order if you offer it to them, they’ll transfer you to one of our customer services staff.