Glucosamine sulfate is probably safe for many people when used appropriately. However, some people may be more likely to experience problems than others. Therefore, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking glucosamine sulfate if you have:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Glucosamine and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Glucosamine and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Glucosamine Safety for more information, including any available warnings and precautions.)
Glucosamine sulfate is an amino sugar naturally found in the human body. It is important for the production of certain proteins, lipids (fatty molecules), and other substances. Most researchers think that glucosamine sulfate works for arthritis in several ways, such as:
- Decreasing inflammation
- Stimulating chondrocytes, the cells that make and maintain cartilage
- Decreasing the production of certain compounds that degrade cartilage.
Glucosamine sulfate is one of the three different forms of glucosamine (the others are glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine). Interestingly, some researchers believe that it is actually the sulfate portion of the compound in glucosamine sulfate, not the glucosamine itself, that is responsible for the anti-arthritis properties. This might help explain the mixed results seen in clinical studies of glucosamine for arthritis, since the other, non-sulfate forms might not work at all. However, it is not yet clear if there are any true differences between the different types.