Glucosamine hydrochloride vs.
Glucosamine hydrochloride was chosen instead of glucosamine sulfate
for a number of reasons. The hydrochloride form is more concentrated
than the sulfate form, and the hydrochloride form contains substantially
less sodium per effective dose than the sulfate form. Glucosamine
sulfate is stabilized with sodium chloride (table salt) and can
contain as much as 30% sodium. This is a consideration for individuals
who want to reduce their dietary intake of sodium.
Glucosamine hydrochloride offers the promise of the same efficacy
as glucosamine sulfate, since glucosamine is not absorbed intact
with its carrier. The body doesn't care how it gets glucosamine
as long as it is bioavailable. Nonetheless, we embarked on clinical
research to prove the efficacy of the hydrochloride form.
We first conducted pilot testing, which indicated benefit for those
with osteoarthritis. We then went forward with a full-scale, double-blind,
placebo-controlled intervention trial with glucosamine hydrochloride,
the results, of which, are published in the Journal of Rheumatology
listed in the references on the next page. Results showed a strong,
beneficial effect for between 60 and 70% of the subjects, compared
to their baseline symptoms.
Other clinical studies
"Pharmacokinetics of glucosamine in man" (Setnikar et.al.), a study
referencing the bioavailability of glucosamine, states that after
oral administration, glucosamine sulfate is rapidly split into glucosamine
and sulfate ions and absorbed. After absorption, the sulfate ions
enter the blood stream where a steady level already exists. None
of the clinical studies performed with glucosamine sulfate indicate
that sulfate contributed to the benefits shown in the study. As
a matter of clarification, while this study references glucosamine
sulfate, it was actually glucosamine hydrochloride that was radiolabeled
and used to prove the bioavailability of glucosamine. We can conclude
that since sulfate and hydrochloride are not the key building blocks
for the production of joint cartilage, it makes no difference whether
glucosamine has a sulfate or hydrochloride carrier, in terms of
There is no evidence to suggest that glucosamine
sulfate offers advantages over glucosamine hydrochloride. There
is no need for glucosamine hydrochloride to be stabilized with salt.
Hydrochloride offers a more concentrated form of glucosamine. Given
these facts, the glucosamine product of choice for consumers should
be Glucosamine hydrochloride
1. Houpt JB, McMillan R, Paget-Dellio D, Russel A, Gahunia HK Effect
of treatment of glucosamine hydrochloride in the treatment of pain
in osteoarthritic of the knee. J Rheumatology 1998; 25 (supplemement
2. Noack W, Fischer M, Forster KK, Rovati LC, Setnikar I. Glucosamine
sulfate in osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis Cart 1994;
3. Muller-Fabbender H, Bach GL, Haase W, Rovati LC, Setnikar I.
Glucosamine sulfate compared to ibuprofen in osteoarthritis of the
knee. Osteoarthritis Cart 1994; 2:61-9.
4. Setnikar L, Palumbo R, Canali S, Zanolo G. Pharmacokinetics of
glucosmine in man. Arzneimittelforschung 1993;43:1109-13.
5. Vaz AL. Double-blind clinical evaluation of the relative efficacy
of ibuprofen and glucosamine sulphate in the management of osteoarthrosis
of the knee in out patients. Curr Med Res Opin 1982;8:145-9.
6. Drovanti A, Bignamini AA, Rovati AL. Therapeutic activity of
oral glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis: A placebo-controlled,
double-blind investigation. Clin Ther 1980;3:260-72.
7. Pujalte JM, Llavore EP, Ylescupidez FR. Double-blind clinical
evaluation of oral glucosamine sulphate in the basic treatment of
osteoarthritis. Curr Med Res Opin 1980;7:110-14.