Glucosamine is usually manufactured as a dietary supplement and this type of supplement usually includes chondroitin sulfate, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and shark cartilage. As a dietary supplement, glucosamine comes in different forms and these are glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and n-acetyl-glucosamine. While these forms of glucosamine are similar, their effects may vary when taken as a dietary supplement according to the National Institutes of Health.
The human body makes its own supply of glucosamine and in the body, this natural chemical is the fluid that surrounds the joints and the cartilage. Glucosamine is taken as a supplement supposedly to relieve and even cure the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis and other joint pains. However, research has yet to fully establish the effectiveness of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Glucosamine is manufactured artificially by extracting it from the shells of crustaceans via hydrolysis. Some manufacturing processes extract glucosamine from wheat or corn. The most common form of manufactured glucosamine is glucosamine sulfate. As a dietary supplement, glucosamine is often paired with chondroitin, MSM and shark cartilage. There is yet any scientific evidence that the addition of these ingredients adds any benefit to glucosamine supplementation.
Although scientific research has yet to prove the effectiveness of glucosamine as a treatment for joint pain, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database gives it a rating of "Likely Effective" for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine sulfate is also sold in the form of pain creams, but its effectiveness as a cream is also doubtful there is no evidence that glucosamine can be administered through the skin.