Primer: Glucosamine Purchasing Guide

Glucosamine has been shown in clinical study after clinical study to be effective at easing discomfort in those suffering from joint pain and promoting healthy cartilage. In ongoing clinical trials, glucosamine is showing great promise for its ability to promote joint health and put the spring back in your step. These studies show that glucosamine is a safe and effective natural supplement that is better for the body than NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Best of all, glucosamine lacks the long term detrimental effects so common with NSAIDS. But you already knew that. You just want to figure out how to find the best glucosamine product out there. Let’s go over some important criteria.

So You Want to Evaluate a Glucosamine Product?

Not all glucosamine products are created equal. In order to best evaluate a product, you need to consider five criteria. When your healthcare and joint discomfort is at stake, take a moment and consider the following:

What form is the glucosamine in?

The form the glucosamine comes in is critical. There are three ways to get glucosamine into your system. Oral (e.g. pill, powder or liquid), direct IV (into the vein) and intramuscular injection. Unless you really love daily needles, the liquid option is going to be your best bet. If you want maximum absorption, the quickest effects and the best results, make sure the glucosamine product you are using is a liquid and not a pill, as pills only offer up to 30% absorption. In addition, be especially aware of cream-based glucosamine products. They may be a waste of money, as there is very little clinical evidence that glucosamine can even be absorbed through the skin.

What is the total daily dose?

The dosage is the second most important thing. Almost every clinical study used at least 1,500 mg of glucosamine, and the majority of glucosamine products on the market today contain at least 1,000 mg per dose. It is true, liquid provides the best absorption when compared to pills, and we suggest you find a product that contains 1,500 mg of liquid glucosamine per serving (this dosage will vary for pets depending on their weight).

Are there any other ingredients I should look for?

Other synergistic ingredients are important. Glucosamine alone will provide some relief from discomfort, but look for products that contain other synergistic ingredients that work with the glucosamine to maximize your relief. If you suffer from arthritis, glucosamine is the “heavy hitter” while chondroitin sulfate comes in second place. Also look for other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as MSM, Aloe Vera Gel, Yucca Root, Boswellia, Vitamin A, C, and E. These “helper” ingredients boost the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin.

What type of glucosamine is best?

Because science has not decided which type is the most effective (or if there is any difference at all), make sure you are getting both glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine HCL to maximize your benefits from the two types.

What is the total cost?

The cost is another important consideration. The best products are going to be in the $30 to $40 a month. Be particularly weary of products that claim to be cheaper but DON’T provide a full month’s supply. This is more true with pills, where you commonly can get 60 pills but need to take 4 a day to get the recommended dose of glucosamine (1,500mg). If you are paying more than $2 a dose (for a 1,500 mg of glucosamine and other synergistic ingredients), you are paying way too much. Some of the best liquid products cost about a dollar a day.

Be sure to visit the Glucosamine Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine products broken down by 9 different categories such as price per month, quality and type. Learn what the best products out there are and how we ranked each.