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Glucosamine

  • Chondroprotection is an ­important new concept in rheumatology, ­referring to the use of agents that actually build and protect the joint surfaces, rather than merely suppressing symptomatic expressions of joint erosion (Rheumatology ­[Oxford] 2006;45:129-38).
  • Glucosamine is an amino sugar and the core building block of mucopolysaccharides, which form a primary component of the ground substance of articular cartilage (Ann Pharmacother 1998;32:574-9).
  • Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to help maintain long-term, comfortable function of joint structures (JAMA 2000;283:1469-75; Ann Pharmacother 1998;32:580-7).
  • Recent research has shown significant chondroprotection of joint tissues with long-term use of glucosamine sulfate (Ann Pharmacother 2005;39:1080-7; Lancet 2001;357:251-6).
  • Other supplements containing glucosamine hydrochloride rather than the sulfate salt do not appear to reliably benefit joint health (N Engl J Med 2006;354:795-808; J Rheumatol 1999;26:2423-30). A report suggested that the sulfate portion might be a key factor in the effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate (Metabolism 2001;50:767-70).
  • Potassium chloride (KCl) is a more expensive stabilizer of glucosamine sulfate, but may be preferable to sodium-containing stabilizers.