What are side effects of glucosamine supplements?

There are not enough long-term studies to tell what, if any, side effects glucosamine supplements may have if they are taken for many years. Preliminary results from a recent three-year study did not show more side effects from glucosamine than from a placebo.

Glucosamine does not raise blood sugar. Adverse effects range from minimal to absent. In one large, nonblinded study, about 2% of patients who used glucosamine sulfate stopped participation because of adverse effects. The most frequently mentioned side effects in study participants who take glucosamine sulfate are stomach pain or tenderness, heartburn, diarrhea, and nausea.

At this time, there are no known interactions with other supplements or medications and no conditions that would prohibit taking glucosamine, with the possible exception of diabetes. Animal studies suggest that glucosamine may reduce the efficiency with which insulin removes blood sugar from the bloodstream. There is no evidence that the same effect occurs in humans, and experts do not agree if there is a risk to diabetic patients.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.