Glucosamine Sulfate vs. Glucosamine Hydrochloride

Not all glucosamine is equal

If you have arthritis or joint pain there is a good chance that a friend, relative, or doctor suggests glucosamine.  Glucosamine can be very effective for some people, while other people don’t believe it works.  Part of the reason people get different responses to it is because of the type of glucosamine they’re using. It is either the sulfate or hydrochloride form.

That’s right, not all glucosamine is the same.

There are two different forms:

  • Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium (GSP)
  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride (GHCl)

And unfortunately, not many people know the difference.  At Flexcin, we  study joint pain remedies extensively. We put together some information on Glucosamine in plain English that should help significantly when you’re looking for the right remedy.

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural occurring chemical compound in the body. It is often found in joint supplements as an ingredient to help relieve arthritis pain. It’s probably the most well-known component of joint supplements. It is so well-known that many joint supplements are just known as “glucosamine.” Unfortunately, your body’s natural glucosamine levels fall as you age. This can lead to a slow breakdown of the joint compounds. So this weakens your joints and causes joint pain. Glucosamine is also important because it contributes to cartilage formation and joint lubrication.  So, getting a joint supplement with glucosamine is a good thing.  However, there are two types of glucosamine you can get, and the differences between them can be great.

Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium

Glucosamine sulfate potassium (GSP) is the most common type of glucosamine found on the market and is the one most often found in animal and human study trials. It is taken from the shells of shellfish and can also be made in a lab. The body uses GSP to make a variety of other chemicals that are for the construction of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and a thick fluid that is found around the joints. Taking a supplement with GSP may increase the cartilage or fluid around the joints and may stop or slow the breakdown of these substances.

The way to stabilize Glucosamine sulfate potassium is with sodium chloride, also known as table salt. The sulfate part of GSP is the most important component. Sulfur is necessary for building and repairing cartilage. GSP is shown to work as well or better than some non-prescription pain medications. And, it is said to improve movement and reduce pain levels. Another advantage of GSP is that there is some evidence that shows that using this component in a joint supplement may actually keep joint problems from progressing.*

Sulfur vs Sulfa

Many people confuse , sulfur and sulfa. However, these elements are not the same thing. Allergies to drugs containing sulfa are very common. This often worries some people about sulfur in joint supplement products. However, sulfa drugs combine sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, and trigger allergies from the actions of the molecule, not the sulfur. It is actually impossible to be allergic to sulfur. Sulfur is a chemical element found in sulfites, sulfates, and sulfa drugs. It is an indispensable element for functions of the human body.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states “The most research showing benefit is for products that contain glucosamine sulfate.  Products that contain glucosamine hydrochloride do not seem to work as well.” (Source:

Glucosamine Hydrochloride

Glucosamine hydrochloride (GHCl) has less evidence available showing its effectiveness. It is also found in the shells of shellfish. Unlike Glucosamine sulfate potassium it lacks the sulfate component. This is the element your body needs to produce and maintain cartilage. Glucosamine HCl contains much less sodium. GHCl is often times found with chondroitin in hopes for better results. However, current findings in trials and research do not support this.

The NIH site Glucosamine HCl as offering “little benefit to those suffering from osteoarthritis” (Source: It also notes that there are few studies of glucosamine HCL in humans.

Differences Between the Two

Both glucosamine sulfate potassium and glucosamine hydrochloride are found in joint supplements that help reduce pain, inflammation, and increase joint health. The major differences between to the two are:

  1. Glucosamine sulfate potassium contains the sulfur the body requires for building and repairing cartilage. Glucosamine HCl does not.
  2. The research on glucosamine HCl is not substantial, while glucosamine sulfate is clinically shown to improve joint health.

According to additional research by the NIH, “The use of glucosamine in the management of osteoarthritis is supported by the clinical trials as performed with the original prescription product, that is, crystalline glucosamine sulfate.  This is the stabile form of glucosamine sulfate, while other formulations or different glucosamine salts (e.g. hydrochloride) has not shown to be effective. (Source:

As a result, many times people pick up a “glucosamine supplement,” but it’s not the right kind and the results are sub-par.  If you’re looking for a supplement with glucosamine, we highly recommend getting a supplement with GSP.

Studies suggest that GSP may work in treating and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis and other joint issues. It’s crucial to know what types of ingredients are in your supplements. At Flexcin we hand pick our components for efficacy and quality. Our ingredient choices are from years of research and formula  evolution.


On top of using glucosamine, Flexcin also uses CM8 (Cetyl Myristoleate).  Cetyl myristoleate is a natural compound. A researcher at the National Institutes of Health found it.  It is beneficial for the treatment of arthritis.*  There are three patents for the treatment of arthritis by Cetyl Myristoleate.  And, it is the only compound with patents for arthritis treatment.  You can read more about this compound at

If you’re looking for a joint supplement we invite you to take a look at Flexcin.  It’s made from natural ingredients, in the USA, and has a full money-back guarantee.  Learn more at

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Comments 12

  1. Doctors recommend Glucosamine Chondroitin . It sounds like the clucodamine sulfate would be better. Why? And, is it really helpful for Spinal Stenosis,and, discs that have started to wear down? I have lost 2 inches, and now have one leg shorter than the other. A lot of pain comes from this. I’m a senior, on low income, which the vitamens are expensive for seniors like us, so, I don,t know if this really will help me, to spend the money on this.

    1. I am 82 and have had good effect from Glucosamine hcl. I cannot say that it is “better” but would suggest the pain you describe is from overly tense muscles (or weak ones) which distort your spine and hips. To help with this you need gentle stretching and deep breathing exercises. A gentle course in Tai Chi Chih or other such regimens will help over a long period. At Amazon you can buy a used copy of “Super Power Breathing” by the Braggs for about $5 including shipping. This book has a lot of braggadocio: I am ONLY suggesting the actual breathing exercises as listed. And, like any work, it is better to start slowly and gently and not force your body. Gentle massage (esp Thai massage or self-massage) or acupuncture or non-force Chiropractic will also help, as will a warm bath with epsom salt in the water (especially after exercise). Good Health this New Year!

  2. I’m trying to avoid or at least postpone total knee replacement surgery.
    In reading over your information, I have a couple of questions –

    I understand that CM8 is very important. Some research I have read references “crystalline” glucosamine sulfate. In addition to wanting to know how much GS is in Flexin, could you also tell me the difference between “crystalline” GS and your GS?


    Don Charles

  3. I know someone who had spinal stenosis. He keeps bees too. He claims to have cured it by putting bees in a jar or container and letting them sting him in the area where the nerves were affected! CAusing an immune response to the inflammation caused by the bee sting.

  4. I also recommend getting a heel lift in your shoe (for the leg that is shorter than the other). One hip is lower than the other, thus one leg appears longer than the other; my chiropractor recommended the heel lift to balance the hips / length of leg issue. Also I use an exercise ball to strengthen my core muscles, which helps with weak muscles, which lead to back pain.

  5. I heard of the same techniques used by Chinese traditional Medicine doctor in China for many years with good effect.

  6. I’m 48 yrs old and i diagnosed already an osteoarthritis,i used to take a glucosamine sulfate,i already run out my glucosamine sulfate,,i would like to ask if is ok to change into a glucosamine hydrochloride

    1. There is nothing reported unsafe in glucosamine hydrochloride, so it is safe in that respect. However, the reports show it to be significantly less effective than glucosamine sulfate potassium.

    1. Well, Flexcin does contain Glucosamine Sulfate, but it also contains other ingredients such as CM8. So, Flexcin winds up being a stronger, more comprehensive product than Glucosamine Sulfate alone.

      As far as the problem being “solved”, there are a lot of factors. What type of injury or condition? How severe is it? So glucosamine, or really any other supplement doesn’t necessarily “solve” a problem (for example, there’s no actual cure for arthritis. If you have a torn ACL, there’s no supplement that can fix the tear, etc.). However, what Flexcin does do is lubricate the joints to reduce friction, promote healthy cartilage growth, reduce pain, and reduce inflammation. As far as how long it takes, most people see results in the first week or two, though it may take a full month to see the full results.

      Hope that helps answer your question. Please feel free to email as well if you have additional questions!

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