Glucosamine sulfate is a popular dietary supplement used to prevent and manage osteoarthritis of the knee. The supplement can lower joint pain, especially when used along with vitamin C, bromelain, chondroitin sulfate, and manganese.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal component of glycoaminoglycans found in the matrix of the cartilages in the joints as well as in the synovial fluids. The supplements may slow the cartilage damage in osteoarthritis patients and relieve pain just like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health to understand the short-term effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate found that glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulfate can lead to significant pain relief when compared to the control group. The researchers of the study, however, believe that more extensive research is needed before glucosamine can replace your existing prescription medications. You should talk to a doctor before you start taking glucosamine sulfate supplements to understand your overall treatment plan. You can also discuss the side effects and complications associated with the use of the supplement.
Most dietary supplements including glucosamine sulfate are made from animal products such as shellfish. If you are allergic to these foods, you should not use the supplements without the guidance of your doctor. Most experts recommend an initial dose of 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 of chondroitin daily for 6 to 8 weeks to treat the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. Once you start seeing the benefits, you may reduce the dose to 1000 mg of glucosamine and 800 of chondroitin or less. Do not discontinue your arthritis medications while taking glucosamine sulfate supplements.
You should also remember that the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, does not regulate the production and sale of dietary supplements such as glucosamine in the stores. Hence, make sure the product you intend to use has been tested for safety by independent testing agencies.
While glucosamine sulfate supplements are generally safe, side effects such as gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, insomnia and headache may occur in rare cases. You may also experience increased sun sensitivity and allergic skin reactions. The supplements may also cause temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Diabetes patients should be cautious while using glucosamine sulfate supplements as it may elevate your blood sugar levels. Glucosamine may also increase your risk of bleeding disorders, especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid glucosamine supplements.