Report on Glucosamine Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of things that you should be aware of before using Glucosamine. These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Pregnancy: There is not enough reliable scientific information available to know if glucosamine is safe to take during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. Until more is known, do not take glucosamine while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Warning 2 – Asthma: There is one report of an asthma attack while taking glucosamine. It is not clear if glucosamine was the cause of the asthma attack. Until more is known, people with asthma should be cautious about taking products that contain glucosamine.

Warning 3 – Shellfish allergy: Because some glucosamine sulfate products are made from the shellfish (shrimp, lobsters or crabs), there is concern that glucosamine products might cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to shellfish. However, there are no reports of allergic reactions to glucosamine in people who are allergic to shellfish. There is also some information that people with shellfish allergy can safely take glucosamine products.

Warning 4 – Antidiabetics: Glucosamine increase the hypoglycemic effect of oral antidiabetics.

Warning 5 – Athletes: The NCAA lists products containing glucosamine as IMPERMISSIBLE for athletes.

Glucosamine sulfate is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately by adults.

Used as a natural health remedy: Glucosamine is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis. Most research suggests effectiveness on osteoarthritis of the knee. However, there is some evidence that it might also help osteoarthritis of the hip or spine.
  • Slow the breakdown of joints in people with osteoarthritis

Side Effects of Glucosamine

Most people have no or minor side effects from Glucosamine. However, when side effects do occur the most COMMON are

  1. constipation
  2. diarrhea
  3. drowsiness
  4. headache
  5. heartburn
  6. nausea
  7. upset stomach
  8. vomiting

Check with your doctor if any of these become severe or bothersome.

Seek medical attention right away if any of the following SEVERE side effects occur when using Glucosamine: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

Other side effects may also occur when using Glucosamine. (See form below)

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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