Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Osteoarthritis health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article


Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound found in the body that plays a part in healthy joints, ligaments and cartilage. It is also sold as a food supplement as glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride.

Some people use glucosamine to relieve mild or moderate symptoms of osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says the use of glucosamine products, so called nutraceuticals, is not recommended for the treatment of osteoarthritis. This means it is unlikely to be available on prescription from the NHS.

In 2010, a review of 10 trials published in the British Medical Journal on glucosamine alone, or in combination with chondroitin, found it was not useful in reducing osteoarthritis joint pain. Neither did it have an impact on the narrowing of joint space in osteoarthritis. However, it also commented that glucosamine supplements were not found to be harmful.

Glucosamine cautions and side-effects

Some forms of glucosamine are made using shellfish products, so this type should be avoided by people with shellfish allergies.

Glucosamine can affect blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Caution is also advised for people with asthma or cardiovascular disease and cholesterol problems.

Glucosamine may cause some mild side-effects, including:

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 03, 2017

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
man in mirror
How smoking affects your looks & life
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
man holding sore neck
Could you have a hormone imbalance?
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
Allergy myths and facts
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver