Glucosamine Sulfate vs. Glucosamine Hydrochloride – What You Need To Know

Not all glucosamine is created equal.

If you have arthritis or another form of joint pain, there is a good chance that a friend, relative, or doctor has suggested trying glucosamine.  Glucosamine is very effective for some people, while other people don’t believe it works.  Part of the reason people have such varied responses to glucosamine is because of the type of glucosamine they’re using.

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

There are actually two different forms of glucosamine:

  • Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium
  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride

And unfortunately, not many people know the difference.  At Flexcin, we’ve studied joint pain and joint pain remedies extensively, and have 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 and is often used in joint supplements to relieve joint pain caused by arthritis. It’s probably the most well-known component of joint supplements, so well-known that many joint supplements are just known as “glucosamine.” Unfortunately, your body’s natural glucosamine levels fall as you age, and this can lead to a slow breakdown of the joint compounds – which 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 can be drastic.

Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium

Glucosamine sulfate potassium (GSP) is the most common type of glucosamine found on the market and is the one most studied in animal and human 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 used in the construction of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and a thick fluid that is found around the joints. Taking a supplement with GSP could increase the cartilage or fluid around the joints and/or stop or slow the breakdown of these substances.

Glucosamine sulfate potassium is stabilized 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 has been shown to work as well or better than some non-prescription pain medications, and is said to improve movement and 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.

Many times, sulfur and sulfa are confused, but these elements are not the same thing. Allergies to drugs containing sulfa are very common, worrying some people about sulfur in joint supplement products. However, sulfa drugs combine sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, and allergies are triggered by the actions of the molecule, not by the sulfur. It is actually impossible to have an allergy to sulfur. Sulfur is a chemical element found in sulfites, sulfates, and sulfa drugs. It is an indispensable element needed for the functions of the human body.

The National Institutes of Health, through their patient focused website “Medline Plus,” states that “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, which is needed by the body to produce and maintain cartilage. Glucosamine hydrochloride is more concentrated than the sulfate version and contains significantly less sodium. GHCl is often times combined with chondroitin in hopes for better results, but this is not currently supported by findings in trials and research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) site Glucosamine HCl as offering “little benefit to those suffering from osteoarthritis” (Source:, and notes that there are limited 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 required for building and repairing cartilage, while glucosamine hydrochloride does not.
  2. The research on glucosamine hydrochloride is not substantial, while glucosamine sulfate has been clinically shown to improve joint health.

According to additional published 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 stabilized form of glucosamine sulfate, while other formulations or different glucosamine salts (e.g. hydrochloride) have never been shown to be effective. (Source:

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

Studies suggest that glucosamine sulfate may work in treating and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis and other joint issues. As you shop for a joint supplement it’s crucial to know what types of ingredients are included. At Flexcin we hand pick our components based on efficacy and quality. Our ingredient choices are based on years of research and the constant evolution of our unique formula.

On top of utilizing glucosamine, Flexcin also uses CM8 (Cetyl Myristoleate).  Cetyle myristoleate is a natural compound discovered by a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and is used in the treatment of arthritis.  In fact, there have been three patents awarded for the treatment of arthritis by Cetyl Myristoleate, and is the only compound to have such patents.  You can read more about the highly-effective compound at

And if you’re looking for a highly effective joint supplement, we invite you to take a look at Flexcin.  It’s all natural, made in the USA, and is backed by our 100% money-back guarantee.  Learn more at

Justin Check

Justin Check is an NCSA certified personal trainer & fitness nutritionist, and the owner/operator of Check Total Health. He has over 8 years in the health and fitness industry, and is an advocate of natural supplements in conjunction with proper diet and exercise in order to help people attain the highest quality of life possible.Justin can be found at

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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