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Glucosamine Chondroitin & Glucosamine Sulfate

What is Glucosamine Chondroitin & Glucosamine Sulphate

Glucosamine Chondroitin and Glucosamine Sulfate supplements are used to help fight osteoarthritis and joint pains. (Osteoarthritis is the deterioration of cartilage in your joints.) Glucosamine and chondroitin are both found naturally in the body, and help to repair and from cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate helps draw water into your cartilage. and making it more elastic.

Glucose and an amino acid combines to form glucosamine. Glucosamine sulfate is a building block of cartilage, and is used by people affected by arthritis, and also athletes with joint pain problems. In a lot of joint supplements, you'll see on the label names such as Glucosamine Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate etc...

The main advantage of Glucosamine is that it's absorbed into the body much faster than other types of joint supplements - mainly because the molecules are very small.

Glucosamine Sulfate Research

Much research has been done on Glucosamine Sulfate, and the results are quite good. Below are two studies done on Glucosamine Sulfate:

Glucosamine Sulfate Study 1: 106 participants suffering from progressive joint-space narrowing were randomized into 2 groups - the glucosamine group and a placebo group. The glucosamine sulphate group had no joint space loss after a period of time, and the placebo group's condition worsened slightly.

Glucosamine Sulfate Study 2: In a study involving 212 subjects suffering from osteoarthritis, subjects were randomized into 2 groups - the glucosamine group and a placebo group. 1500mg of Glucosamine sulphate were taken by the glucosamine groups everyday for 3 years.

Radiographic images of the subjects knees were taken, and the Glucosamine group showed significant improvements compared to the placebo group, which made no improvements. This study also confirms supplementing Glucosamine Sulfate improves joint health.

Glucosamine Products Testing Done by ConsumerLabs and University of Maryland

In 2 similar, but unrelated studies done by ConsumerLabs and the University of Maryland, they each did a study testing different Glucosamine products for Glucosamine content. Surprisingly, many of the products did not pass the test - meaning the labels falsely labeled the Glucosamine and Chondroitin contents.

ConsumerLabs Results:

ConsumerLabs purchased 25 brands of glucosamine and Chondroitin products in early 2000, and tested each to determine the actual amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin as compared to the labeling. See their report here. Here's a summary of what they found:

  • Overall, almost 1/3 of the products failed the test
  • 6 out of 13 Glucosamine Chondroitin products failed due to lower than labeled Chondroitin levels
  • 2 out of 2 Chondroitin only products failed the test
  • All 10 Glucosamine only products passed the test

The main reason all products containing chondroitin failed is mostly attributed to the high costs of chondroitin. Chondroitin costs 4 times as much as glucosamine, to maintain a good profit, the manufacturers skimped a little (or alot) on the chondroitin contents.

University of Maryland Study Results:

In an unrelated study, University of Maryland tested 32 glucosamine / chondroitin products, and also found that many of the glucosamine chondroitin products' falsely label the amounts. Below is a brief summary of their findings:

  • 26 out of 32 products tested contained less than 90% of the chondroitin as stated on the labels
  • Some products contained as low as 33% of what the label reported
  • 17 out of 32 products (more than half) contained less than 40% of the chondroitin sulfate as stated on the labels
  • Only 5 out of 32 products passed the test
  • In 2 products, they even found varying amounts of chondroitin from capsule to capsule

Again, of the products that didn't pass, all failed on the reported Chondroitin levels compared to actual Chondroitin levels found - obviously, economics is a big deal, and the manufacturers didn't hesitate to skimp on the costly ingredient.  ($__$)

So what can we conclude? Simple, stay away from Glucosamine Chondroitin products, and just go for Glucosamine only products. Glucosamine isn't nearly as costly as chondroitin, and they manufacturers have no reason to skimp on it, so in all likelihood, you're getting what you pay for - this probably will not be the case with Glucosamine Chondroitin products.

Most studies show that taking 500mg of Glucosamine 3 times a day for a total of 1500mg is effective to improving joint health.