Walk down any vitamin aisle and you’ll find dozens of different “Glucosamine” products for joint health. Most will also have MSM and/or Chondroitin. Look closely at the label though and you’ll most likely see either that the Glucosamine is either listed as Glucosamine HCL or Glucosamine Hydrochloride. HCL is just the abbreviation for hydrochloride. If you are lucky you may even see one listed as Glucosamine Sulfate. OK, so what is the difference between the sulfate and HCL forms? Well a bit of history. Most of the scientific studies which have been done have used the sulfate form – Over 18,000 for the Sulfate form and only 401 for the HydroChloride (HCL) form (visit www.pubmed.gov and search for the two.)
So what did all the scientific studies find? One study published in the American College of Rheumatology publication on Arthritis & Rheumatism in July of 2007 summed it up – The researchers looked at the wide range of results across all of these studies. Their conclusion “Glucosamine Hydrochloride is not effective” But there were positive results with Glucosamine Sulfate. So if Glucosamine Hydrochloride isn’t effective then why do all the stores sell the HCL form? Simple, cost. the HCL form is much cheaper than the sulfate form. So inexpensive in fact that they can add MSM and Chondroitin and it is still cheaper than Glucosamine Sulfate. So the real results you see are from the MSM and Chondroitin.
So what is the bottom line? If you want the best results chose a product with Glucosamine Sulfate. Even in studies which have looked at the combination of Glucosamine Sulfate plus MSM and Chondroitin the latter two ingredients don’t improve the results over just glucosamine Sulfate.
The dose of Glucosamine Sulfate which was found to be effective was at least 1,500 mg. Optimal is 4,000mg per day.
Now the challenge is finding a glucosamine sulfate product. Very few retail outlets carry the sulfate from, so you will have to look. The product I use incorporates glucosamine sulfate plus turmeric. Turmeric is a very potent anti-inflamitory agent and helps to reduce the inflammation in the joints. It is thought that it is inflammation in the joints which leads to destruction of the cartilage and ultimately to arthritis.