Glucosamine review

It’s a popular alternative treatment for osteoarthritis but does it really work?
 
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04.How much to take

If — despite the shaky scientific evidence — you still want to give glucosamine a try, which brand is best?

There’s plenty of choice. We tested 26 glucosamine products and combinations of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, all widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies (see the Products compared table for details).

There are big differences in price, but of more concern is that some products don’t give you enough glucosamine or chondroitin sulphate to reach the levels tested in clinical trials — even if you take the maximum recommended dose.

 

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How much glucosamine?

Under government regulations, the amount of active ingredient per tablet or capsule must be not less than 92.5% (and not more than 107.5%) of the amount stated on the label.

We measured the amount of glucosamine per tablet or capsule and found that, while most were within the acceptable range, three of them (pictured right) don’t contain enough glucosamine to match the dose levels of 1500mg/day of glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulphate used in clinical trials, even according to their own labels. They are:

  • Nutralife High Potency Joint Care Arthritis Formula with Glucosamine and Chondroitin (90%)
  • Woolworths Select Glucosamine Complex 500mg
  • Wagner Joint Formula Glucosamine and Chondroitin (86%)

Compounding the problem, two of these products (Nutralife and Wagner) contain significantly less glucosamine than the label claims. The figures are highlighted in pink in the Products compared table.

How much chondroitin sulphate?

 The generally recognised therapeutic dose is 800 to 1000mg per day and in the big US trial the dose level was 1200mg/day.

Only three products in our analysis would give you 1200mg/day or more of chondroitin sulphate if you take the maximum recommended dose — these are highlighted in green in the table. They are:

  • Herron OsteoEze Active
  • GNC Glucosamine 750 Chondroitin 600
  • Enervite Super Joint & Arthritic Relief 1100mg
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