Glucosamine sulfate, not glucosamine hydrochloride, is effective against osteoarthritis
Wendy Tao, B.Sc., Student Representative
Summary of why glucosamine sulfate, but not glucosamine hydrochloride, works in treating OA
Recent widely publicized findings of a British Medical Journal (BMJ) meta-analysis indicated that glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not work for reducing joint pain or impact the narrowing of joint space.
According to Lara Pizzorno at the Longevity Medicine Review, it is glucosamine sulfate (GLS), not glucosamine hydrochloride, is effective in treating OA. She stated that the possible mechanisms of action for the protective effect of GLS include direct stimulation of chondrocytes, incorporation of sulfur into cartilage and protection against oxidative-stress related degradation. Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to enhance human mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis and maintain cartilage matrix gene expression in chondrocytes. In addition, the sulfate salt of glucosamine sulfate forms one half of the disaccharide subunit of keratin sulfate which decreases in patients with OA. Last but not least, sulfur, an essential component of cysteine, is the rate-limiting peptide in glutathione formation and sulfur is also required for both glucuronidation and sulfation that transform xenobiotic compounds into a form to be excreted from the body.
Andrew Shao, PhD, senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) stated, “The majority of published studies involving glucosamine and/or chondroitin are positive." He added “Even the GAIT trial, with a 60 percent placebo effect showed that Glucosamine and Chondroitin were effective at reducing pain in knee osteoarthritis patients with moderate-to-severe pain and outperforming the Rx drug Celebrex.” In conclusion, I believe the supplementation with glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate is a reasonable treatment for OA patients.