Glucosamine HCl (vegetarian)

Glucosamine HCl is a salt of the amino monosaccharide, glucosamine. Glucosamine is naturally found in human cartilage and in some fungi and algae 1, 2. Commercially produced glucosamine is made from shellfish or grains such as corn or wheat. Supplemental glucosamine has been used for the past 25 years in Europe 3. In the U.S., it has gained popularity as a dietary supplement.
  The amount of absorption of orally administered glucosamine through the intestines is somewhat unclear. The fraction not absorbed and incorporated into cartilage is excreted, mainly in urine 2. Glucosamine that is not absorbed through the intestine may be utilized by colonic bacteria 4, 5. There appears to be minimal concern for side effects indicated with glucosamine supplementation. Clinical studies have consistently reported that glucosamine appears safe 6.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. The Merck Index. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., 2006.
  2. Barclay TS, Tsourounis C, McCart GM. Glucosamine. Ann Pharmacother 1998;32:574-9.
  3. Russell AL. Alternative therapies and alternative medicine. J Rheumatol 1999;26:1417.
  4. Crociani F, Alessandrini A, Mucci MM, Biavati B. Degradation of complex carbohydrates by Bifidobacterium spp. Int J Food Microbiol 1994;24:199-210.
  5. Salyers AA, West SE, Vercellotti JR, Wilkins TD. Fermentation of mucins and plant polysaccharides by anaerobic bacteria from the human colon. Appl Environ Microbiol 1977;34:529-33.
  6. Anderson JW, Nicolosi RJ, Borzelleca JF. Glucosamine effects in humans: a review of effects on glucose metabolism, side effects, safety considerations and efficacy. Food Chem Toxicol 2005;43:187-201.