Glucosamine HCl (vegetarian)

Glucosamine HCl is a salt of the amino monosaccharide, glucosamine. Glucosamine exists naturally in human cartilage (the tough tissue that cushions joints) and in some fungi and algae 1,2,3,4,5. Commercially produced glucosamine is made from shellfish 4,6,7 or may be produced from plant sources 8,9. These plants provide vegetarian sources of Glucosamine HCl.

Supplemental glucosamine has been used and studied for a number of years in Europe; In the U. S., it has gained popularity as a dietary supplement 10,11. The amount of absorption of orally administered glucosamine through the intestines is somewhat unclear. Muniyappa et al. 2006 12 states: “Although the limited absorption of orally administered glucosamine is not widely acknowledged, it has long been known that the active transport of glucosamine in the small intestine does not occur” 13. Following an intravenous dose of 800 mg in humans, the fraction not metabolized (broken down, used, or absorbed) or incorporated into plasma protein was excreted, mainly in the urine 5. Glucosamine that is not absorbed through the intestine may be utilized by colonic bacteria 13,14,15. There appears to be minimal concern for some side effects (i.e. gas) 3,4,7. Clinical studies have consistently reported that glucosamine seems safe 7. One study used a standard dose of oral glucosamine at 1,500 mg/day for 6 weeks 12 and the usual dosing schedule is 500 mg, three times daily in many other studies 2,5,7,10. Glucosamine hydrochloride, taken orally (by mouth) for 1 to 2 years is possibly safe for most adults, as cited by numerous studies reported from the Natural Medicines database 6. Glucosamine HCl (veggie) means that this this ingredient is manufactured without using any animal derived materials and is suitable for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

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


  1. The Merck Index. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., 2006. (The Merck Index is available online with a subscription at
  2. Shane-McWhorter L. Glucosamine... Merck Manual. Professional version. Merck & Co., Inc. . . . Kenilworth, NJ. Revised 10/2018.
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). National Institutes of Health (NIH). Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Last modified 9/24/2017.
  4. U. S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). National Institutes of Health (NIH). Medline Plus. Glucosamine Hydrochloride. Last reviewed 10/10/2018.
  5. Barclay TS, Tsourounis C, McCart GM. Glucosamine. [Abstract]. Ann Pharmacother 1998;32:574-9.
  6. Glucosamine Hydrochloride. Natural Medicines Database. Professional. Last reviewed 1/9/2019. Last updated 1/0/2019. Product ID 747. (Subscription needed for access-,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=747
  7. Institute of Medicine (IOM) (US) and National Research Council (NRC) (US). Committee on the framework for evaluating the safety of dietary supplements. Dietary Supplements: A framework for evaluating safety. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005. Appendix E, Glucosamine: Prototype monograph summary.
  8. Benavente M, Arias S, Moreno L, Martinez J. Production of glucosamine hydrochloride from crustacean shell. Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology 2015;3:20-26.
  9. Shahidi F, Arachchi JKV, Jeon Y-J. Review. Food applications of chitin and chitosans. [Abstract]. Trends in Food Science and Technology 1999; 10(2), 37-51.
  10. Dahmer S, Schiller RM. Glucosamine. Complementary and Alternative Medicine. American Family Physician 2008; 78(4):471-476.
  11. Adebowale AO, Cox DS, Liang Z, Eddington ND. Analysis of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate content in marketed products and the Caco-2 permeability of chondroitin sulfate raw materials. JANA 2000; 3(1):37-44.
  12. Muniyappa R, Karne RJ, Hall G, Crandon SK, Bronstein JA, Ver MR, Hortin GL, Quon MJ. Oral glucosamine for 6 weeks at standard doses does not cause or worsen insulin resistance or endothelial dysfunction in lean or obese subjects. Diabetes 2006; 55:3142-3150.
  13. Simon RR, Marks V, Leeds AR, Anderson JW. A comprehensive review of oral glucosamine use and effects on glucose metabolism in normal and diabetic individuals. [Abstract]. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 2011;27:14-27.
  14. Salyers AA, West SE, Vercellotti JR, Wilkins TD. Fermentation of mucins and plant polysaccharides by anaerobic bacteria from the human colon. Appl Environ Microbiol 1997;34:529-33.
  15. Anderson JW, Nicolosi RJ, Borzelleca JF. Glucosamine effects in humans: a review of effects on glucose metabolism, side effects, safety considerations and efficacy. [Abstract]. Food Chem Toxicol 2005;43:187-201. or