Glucosamine: uses and effectiveness

Glucosamine It is a substance that uses the organism for the regeneration and synthesis of cartilage. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of rheumatic disease among the general population, wears down the slippery cartilage that covers the ends of the bones and allows the joints to move smoothly.

Many studies have been done to evaluate the efficacy of glucosamine and, despite this, their results have been varied. Some of them used a placebo as a comparator, while others used other medications for the same indication.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that this substance It can be given as a medicine or as a dietary supplement to strengthen these structures. Normally, glucosamine is extracted from crustacean animals, such as lobster, shrimp or crabs.

Uses of glucosamine

As well mentioned at the beginning of the article, Glucosamine is used in those diseases in which the cartilage wears away, as is the case with rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis and osteoarthritis.

This substance It is the precursor of the molecules involved in the development of cartilaginous tissues: glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. The use of glucosamine in diseases such as osteoarthritis is apparently safe, according to the data we have today thanks to the clinical trials carried out.

Further, its possible immunomodulatory effect in other autoimmune diseases is being studied apart from arthritis and osteoarthritis, such as multiple sclerosis. However, these studies are still in the study stage in animal models.

What are arthritis and osteoarthritis?

It is very common for the population to confuse arthritis with osteoarthritis because both diseases affect the joints and present similar symptoms, as pain in them.

Arthritis is a disease that always causes inflammation of the joints. This inflammation will therefore cause pain and swelling thereof. It is usually autoimmune. However, It can be a consequence of other diseases, such as gout. You have any of the following characteristic symptoms:

  • Pain even at rest.
  • Joint stiffness, especially when waking up.
  • Swelling with synovial fluid effusion inflammatory.
  • Other symptoms that vary according to the affected organ.

As for osteoarthritis, it is a chronic disease and is the one that most affects the Spanish population, with women being the most affected. It is characterized because the joints degenerate and are usually related to age.

Thus, Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease in which inflammation occurs. It is a degenerative disease normally related to the age and aging of the joints. Among the symptoms associated with this disease, are:

You may also be interested in reading: Amazing natural remedies for joint pain

Studies conducted on the efficacy of glucosamine

Numerous studies have been conducted on the efficacy of glucosamine.. For example, one carried out in 2012 wanted to verify the effect on pain relief in the diseases mentioned. The treatment of glucosamine was studied together with an NSAID compared to glucosamine alone. The result was positive.

Another study carried out in 2015 wanted to compare the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine with celecoxib for knee pain. It was performed in patients with osteoarthritis. The result was similar efficacy in reducing the main symptoms of the disease, after treatment for 6 months.

Finally, and as we mentioned, another study was carried out on the effect of glucosamine that did not give the expected results for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Read also: Hip osteoarthritis: what it is and what are the symptoms


As we can see, the results of the studies are a bit variable, so the effects of glucosamine in some rheumatic diseases are still unknown.

Research continues in this area in order to make the most of this substance and to be able to advance both in rheumatology and in medicine in general.