Glucosamine is one of the most popular dietary supplements for people with joint problems. But, there is no specific guideline to know the effective dose of glucosamine for knee pain.
Dosage for supplements is difficult to get right, you see. There are so many brands, each one with its own manufacturing process and dose, it’s very easy to get lost.
But, don’t worry – this article will help you navigate through all that mess. This is what you’ll learn:
- Best dosage of glucosamine according to its form
- What happens if you take more than you should?
- Side effects of glucosamine sulfate supplements
- Who should not take glucosamine supplements?
Tap on any of the topics above to go straight to that section.
What’s the right dose of glucosamine for knee pain?
This will depend on the form of glucosamine:
Dosage of oral glucosamine
The recommended dose for treating osteoarthritis knee pain is 500mg orally, three times a day. Or, one daily dosage of 1500 mg. (1)
Studies suggest trying a daily dose of 1500 mg for 4 to 8 weeks first. If you get a good response with this, you can continue taking it at 1000 to 1500mg every day. (1)
You may need 2 to 4 months of treatment to feel pain relief, though.
Quick tips about oral glucosamine
Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride are the most common oral forms of this supplement. They are available in tablet, capsule, and powder forms.
Dosage of glucosamine in topical formulations
It works by providing a concentrated dose of glucosamine at the target site – the knee joint. Also, it has fewer side effects than the oral form.
Are glucosamine supplements toxic at higher doses?
Glucosamine is safe when taken in the amounts suggested by the manufacturer. To date, there aren’t studies evaluating the risk of glucosamine toxicity with high doses.
That’s why it’s best to stick to the manufacturer’s dose. However, some people may feel some side effects after taking this supplement.
Related: How glucosamine works for knee pain
Side effects of glucosamine sulfate supplements
The risk of side effects increases when glucosamine is taken in a dosage much higher than the recommended amount.
But this risk is very low, compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (1)
Yet, it’s preferable to take the supplement along with meals to prevent a gastric upset. Few people may have minor side effects such as nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, skin rashes, etc.
Further reading: 5 side effects of glucosamine and how to avoid them
Who should be careful while taking glucosamine supplements?
Diabetic patients should take glucosamine sulfate supplements with caution. They may increase insulin resistance. (3)
Also, people taking blood thinners such as warfarin should avoid this supplement.
And for those with shellfish allergies, make sure you check the ingredients first. Most glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish.
Fortunately, there are also some plant-derived glucosamine supplements that are equally as effective.
Can you get glucosamine naturally from foods?
Yes. Some natural sources of glucosamine include shellfish, crabs, green-lipped mussels, beef, or pigtails.
How much glucosamine should I take a day for knee pain?
The recommended dose of oral glucosamine for knee pain is 500 mg thrice a day or a total of 1500 mg daily. (1)
Conclusion: Dosage of glucosamine for knee pain
Topical glucosamine is a safer alternative with less risk of side effects. Glucosamine cream can be applied 2 to 3 times per day for knee pain relief.
But, keep in mind that studies on glucosamine have variable results. Some report significant improvement on knee pain, while others find it to be only slightly better than placebo. (1)
- Biggee BA, Blinn CM, McAlindon TE, et al. Low levels of human serum glucosamine after ingestion of glucosamine sulphate relative to capability for peripheral effectiveness. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2006;65:222-226.
- Reichelt, A et al. “Efficacy and safety of intramuscular glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis of the knee. A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.” Arzneimittel-Forschung vol. 44,1 (1994): 75-80.
- Archives of rheumatology vol. 31,4 340-345. 1 Oct. 2016