Glucosamine is a natural chemical produced by the body and vital for the formation of cartilage. Glucosamine production can reduce with age and biochemical or nutritional imbalances in the body. In this situation cartilage stops being able to repair and replenish following wear and tear, which can lead to conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine is, as a result, now used widely as a supplement for the prevention and management of joint and cartilage conditions, with doses of 1500mg proving safe and effective at reducing the rate of collagen degradation, and therefore pain and stiffness in the joints. Whilst there is no major source of glucosamine in the diet it is present in the shell of shellfish as well as bone, bone marrow and fungi. Glucosamine supplements come in the form of glucosamine sulphate or hydrochloride (HCL).
Research supports that both forms of glucosamine offer equal benefits for joint pain but the purity, stability and concentration of the glucosamine formulation is important. Whilst glucosamine sulphate is the most researched of the two forms it is relatively unstable and, as a result, the least pure. In order to stabilise glucosamine sulphate, it must be mixed with a large amount of inactive stabilising ingredient, in the form of sodium chloride (table salt). Thus, for every 2g of glucosamine sulphate you consume, only 1.5g is active glucosamine and the rest is fillers and sodium. Glucosamine HCL, however, is naturally very stable and as a result purer and more concentrated, with no need to add stabilising ingredients. The full dose taken will therefore be the active ingredient, making it a much more efficient option.
Glucosamine derived from Aspergillus niger is a vegetarian source and is highly bioavailable due to its plant derivation, meaning it can be much better absorbed and thus gets to where it is needed more quickly.