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Glucosamine Sulfate - What's all the Hype About?

Glucosamine Sulphate is a natural substance that is safer and a more effective alternative than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in arthritis therapy.  Several double blind placebo-controlled studies conducted in Europe have shown that this harmless amino-sugar, normally present in the body, is superior to the commonly prescribed arthritis drugs.  Glucosamine is found in high concentrations in the joint spaces.  It stimulates connective tissue production and repair without any side effects.

Glucosamine Sulphate is composed of a sugar molecule (glucose) an amine group, and a sulphur group.

The main action of Glucosamine is to stimulate the manufacture of cartilage components in joints, thereby addressing the underlying cause of arthritis, which is the degradation of the cartilage substance in joints.  Glucosamine Sulphate tends to normalize cartilage metabolism by inhibiting the degradation and stimulating the synthesis of cartilage around joints so that articular function is partially restored.  It's almost a nourishing substance to the joints.

Several double blind, placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated that this harmless amino-sugar, normally present in the body, is superior to the commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in relieving the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.  Because it stimulates connective tissue production and repair without any side effects, Glucosamine Sulphate has potential for actually repairing arthritic joints.

It works synergistically with herbs like devil's claw and yucca.

It also has analgesic properties.

Dosage: The usual dosage is 500mg, three times per day.  It's not a one day cure - most people need to take it for at least 90 days before they will truly appreciate the benefit.

Toxicity: No known toxicity:  Some studies have concluded that because of its non-toxic nature, and because it has the potential for actually repairing joints by stimulating the growth of new cartilage, Glucosamine Sulphate was better for long-term therapy than NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).


In many countries, including Russia, chondroitin sulfate and its attendant benefits is considered a drug.  Australia has a history of calling it Arteparon.

In an article entitled: Low Back Pain in Spinal Osteochondrosis - experience of treatment with chondroprotective drug by Shostak NA, Aksenova AV, Pravdyud NG, Sjemetov DA, I amnd Soldatov DG In Terapevitichjeskii Arkhiv 74(8). 2002. pg 67-69izd vo Medidtsina, Moscow, the following was stated.

To assess the response to chondroitin sulfate (structum) in low back pain (LBP) due to spinal osteochondrosis, 30 patients (mean age 51.4 years) with a definite primary PBP took structum in a dose of 1g/day for 24 weeks. The diagnosis was made according to WHO recommendations (2000). The response was assessed with uniform international questionnaires and a visual analogue scale.

73.4% of the LBP patients studies showed reduced pain syndrome and improved spinal function. It would be valid to include long acting chondroprotective drugs in the program of LBP in spinal osteochondrosis.


Glucosamine sulfate (GS) is a naturally occurring part of joint cartilage and forerunner for and stimulant of proteoglycan synthesis and the making of GAG which is necessary for development of the white fibrocartilage of the disc.  Unlike NSAIDs which relieve symptoms of and , over time, accelerate the destruction of , degenerative joint and disc disease, glucosamine has been shown in experiments to slow the progression of the degenerative disease and promote repair of affected cartilage:

A comparison of 2 groups - one receiving ibuprofen and one GS three times per day (total of 1500 mg) for 30 days - showed that the GS group reported less pain on rest, standing, and exercise.  The GS group's improvement was more pronounced, lasting for a period of 6 to 12 weeks after the treatment ended.

In a double-blind study of people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees, they compared a placebo group to a GS group.  The GS group showed significant reduction in pain, joint tenderness, and swelling treated with 1500 mg GS daily.

GS is able to stimulate proteoglycan synthesis by chondrocytes and has mild anti-inflammatory properties.  In a clinical trial GS was tested against ibuprofen.  Thirty-five percent of the ibuprofen group complained of adverse effects throughout the treatment, with seven dropping out of the study.  Only six of the 100 patients in the GS group experienced adverse effects.  Therefore, GS was viewed as effective as ibuprofen.



  • Ray: Cyclic antidepressants may increase hip fracture risk. J of Manip Med (12/91):46


  • Bockman RS et al: Steroid induced osteoporosis. Ortho Clin of N Amer 21(1):97
  • Fries: Prednisone greatly increases fracture risk. J of Musculoskeletal Med (6/92):16


  • Yoo: Suppression of proteoglycan synthesis in chondrocyte cultures derived from canine intervertebral disc. Spine 17(2):221-224
  • VanDerKraan et al: High susceptibility of human articular cartilage glycosaminoglycan synthesis to changes in inorganic sulfate availabitity. J of Ortho Reasearch 1990: 8(4): 565-71


  • Palmoski: Arthritis and Rheumatism 1985: 28: 548: DeVries: Arthritis and Rheumatism 1985: 28:922-9 Laan: Arthritis and sciatica drug weakens vertebrae. Backletter 1994:9(2):22

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