Glucosamine Sulfate

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How does Glucosamine Sulfate work?

Glucosamine in the body is used to make cartilage, a "cushion" that surrounds joints. In osteoarthritis, this cushion becomes thinner and stiff. Taking glucosamine sulfate as a supplement might help to supply the materials needed to rebuild cartilage. 

Are there safety concerns?

Glucosamine sulfate seems to be safe for most people. It can cause some mild side effects including nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation. Uncommon side effects are drowsiness, skin reactions, and headache. Some glucosamine products do not contain the labeled amount of glucosamine or contain excessive amounts of manganese. Ask your healthcare professional about reliable brands.

Some preliminary research suggests that glucosamine sulfate might raise blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, more reliable research indicates that glucosamine sulfate does not seem to significantly affect blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Glucosamine with routine blood sugar monitoring appears to be safe for most people with diabetes.

There is some concern that glucosamine products might cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to shellfish. Glucosamine is produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. But allergic reactions in people with shellfish allergy are caused by the meat of shellfish, not the shell. There are no reports of allergic reactions to glucosamine in people who are allergic to shellfish. There is also some information that people with shellfish allergy can safely take glucosamine products.

Do not take glucosamine if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have asthma.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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