Which glucosamine supplements are best?

While a number of joint supplements promise to provide relief to arthritis and joint pain, not all these claims are sufficiently backed by science. However, glucosamine is one of the supplements with some evidence showing it may ease pain and improve joint function.

If you decide to try a glucosamine supplement, the best options are those high-strength supplements that also include other pain-relieving ingredients. A top pick is the Arazo Nutrition Glucosamine Chondroitin Joint Support Supplement.  

What to know before you buy a glucosamine supplement

Function

Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of tendons, ligaments, cartilage and the fluid around the joints. Based on this function, it’s been hypothesized that taking joint supplements containing glucosamine may protect the cartilage and joints from damage and possibly help those with arthritis to slow down the progression of the disease. 

If the arthritis is of inflammatory origins, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, glucosamine may also be used to treat the symptoms of these conditions due to its anti-inflammatory action. 

Interactions 

If you’re wondering what drugs and foods to avoid when taking a glucosamine supplement, there are some things to know. For patients on blood thinners or anticoagulants such as warfarin, taking your drug with glucosamine can increase your risk of bruising and serious bleeding. If you have diabetes, only take glucosamine sulfate under the supervision of your doctor. 

People with shellfish allergies should also check the label of the supplement, as some glucosamine products are made from the shells of lobsters, shrimps and crabs. If you’re taking a cancer medicine, glucosamine may affect the effectiveness of your drug, so it’s best to discuss it with your doctor before you start taking a supplement.

Forms 

Some common forms of glucosamine include glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine chondroitin, glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetylglucosamine. Pure glucosamine supplements often come as either glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride. If you’re hypertensive, the former may not be an ideal option, since the sulfate form is stabilized using sodium chloride, which can raise your blood pressure levels.

Another form of glucosamine is the combination that exists with chondroitin as glucosamine chondroitin, which may be a better option than using glucosamine alone.

What to look for in a quality glucosamine supplement

Recommended daily intake 

Most studies recommend 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate, which is usually taken in divided doses, and the supplement can be taken at this dose for up to 6 months without causing any harm. 

However, you may not need to take up to 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine to experience improvement, as this dose may lead to unpleasant side effects such as headache, heartburn and nausea in some people. To get the right dosage, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking glucosamine.

Ingredients

While there are pure formulations of glucosamine, some supplements include other ingredients that may also help relieve joint pain and support mobility such as MSM, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, Boswellia extract and turmeric. For some people, taking high-strength glucosamine without any other ingredients is sufficient to provide a marked improvement in their condition, while others swear by the combination of glucosamine with these joint-relief ingredients. 

Serving size

While the serving size is usually indicated on the label of the supplement, these recommendations may fall below what you need to effectively manage the symptoms of arthritis. Generally, the recommended dosage is usually 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams per day. When choosing your ideal glucosamine, this should be your reference dosage. 

However, if the supplement you’re considering contains less than this amount, you may have to take multiple pills. For convenience’s sake, opt for a product with a serving size that allows you to take just one pill daily.

How much you can expect to spend on a glucosamine supplement

Depending on the pill count, expect to pay from $0.12-$0.35 per pill for your glucosamine supplement. Another factor to consider is the milligrams per pill. For instance, a 1,500-milligram glucosamine capsule that costs $0.15 might be a more cost-effective option than a 500-milligram capsule that costs the same price.

Glucosamine supplement FAQ

What are the side effects of taking a glucosamine supplement?

A. The most common side effects of glucosamine are nausea, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. In rare cases, the supplement may cause drowsiness, skin reactions and headaches.

Can I take glucosamine on an empty stomach?

A. While there’s limited research to show that taking glucosamine before food is better than taking it after food, some users have reported that taking it with your food can prevent a stomach upset.

What’s the best glucosamine supplement to buy?

Top glucosamine supplement

Glucosamine Chondroitin Turmeric MSM Boswellia - Joint Support Supplement

Arazo Nutrition Glucosamine Chondroitin Joint Support Supplement

What you need to know: This option contains a blend of supplements with evidence of benefits in relieving symptoms due to arthritis including joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.

What you’ll love: It contains high-strength glucosamine, which allows for a convenient once-daily dosage. There’s an assurance of quality and purity since the supplement has been tested by a third party and is made in a GMP-certified facility. While the glucosamine component is made from shellfish, it doesn’t contain the shellfish protein that can cause allergies.

What you should consider: Some users complained about the large size of the pills.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top glucosamine supplement for the money

Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Joint Supplement For Men and Women, Move Free

Move Free Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Joint Supplement

What you need to know: Apart from its joint-relief ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, this supplement also contains calcium to support your bone health.

What you’ll love: The tablets are small and easy to swallow. In addition to glucosamine, the supplement contains two other ingredients, chondroitin and MSM, to alleviate joint discomfort and improve mobility.

What you should consider: This supplement is not gluten-free.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Nature's Nutrition Glucosamine and Vitamin E Joint Support Gummies

Nature’s Nutrition Glucosamine and Vitamin E Joint Support Gummies

What you need to know: If you have difficulty swallowing pills, these gummies can make it easier to take your glucosamine supplement thanks to their soft texture and tasty raspberry flavor.

What you’ll love: This supplement combines glucosamine with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. It’s been tested by a third-party lab to verify its quality and potency. The gummies are raspberry flavored, which makes them easy to take.

What you should consider: It contains 160 milligrams of glucosamine, which might not be sufficient to offer a significant improvement in joint function unless several gummies are taken daily.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Ayotola Ogunsipe writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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