Glucosamine Alternatives: What Works Better? 

Glucosamine Overview

Glucosamine is a natural component in the cartilage, synovial fluid, and inter vertebral disc. Its main role is to maintain the healthy functioning of the cartilage.

Research highlights that, following biological changes that are often propagated by factors like age and particular joint diseases like arthritis, the natural production of Glucosamine reduces.

Lesser levels of glucosamine in the body, is associated with  cartilage destraction. This is where glucosamine supplements such as Nutrilite Glucosamine-7, Bluebonnets Glucosamine MSM, Viartril-S Glucosamine, Kirkland Signature Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Vostok Glucosamine Chondroitin, Glucosamine Complex and Joint Movement Glucosamine come in.

Some of these supplements contain the most important form of glucosamine, glucosamine sulfate, often sourced from the shells of shellfish. Glucosamine sulfate alternative names include; 2-Amino-2-Deoxy-Glucose, D-Glucosamine, and Glucosamine Sulphate among others.

Source: ResearchGate

Since glucosamine is sourced from shellfish, individuals with shellfish allergy are usually unable to use glucosamine supplements. Potential alternatives for glucosamine in pain support ingredients include chondroitin, turmeric curcumin, aloe vera, ginger root, and MSM among others.

What glucosamine substitute in Ayurveda are available?

Although glucosamine is sourced from natural sources, some individuals may opt for Ayurvedic alternatives. Ayurveda is an ancient science whose medicinal options are believed to cause no side effects.

Nirgundi Joint Guard is an Ayurvedic joint pain relief topical oil formulated using three natural oils. This product claims to offer relief for both muscular joint and arthritic pain.

Some of the ingredients in this oil include;

  • Nirgundi (Chinese chaste tree) – this is one of the most popular herbs used to offer respite for joint pain. It is known to reduce swelling as well as excessive pain. According to Ancient Science of Life, nirgundi is considered more effective than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) as it has nutritive effects.


  • Sesame oil– according to the Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine journal, the topical application of sesame oil has the potential to reduce the severity of pain and frequency if used together with NSAIDs. The journal recommended sesame oil for its easy to use, low cost, and lack of adverse effects.

Glucosamine alternative for shellfish allergy

As explained earlier, glucosamine is sourced from shellfish shells. It, therefore, poses a risk for those with shellfish allergy. Luckily, not all joint pain products contain glucosamine. Theraworx Relief (foam and spray) is such a product.

Glucosamine Alternatives

Source: Therawork

It is a topical analgesic that promises to work fast in preventing and reducing muscle cramping. It claims to work through; lessening both leg and foot cramps and relieving muscle cramps and soreness. The ingredients present in Theraworx Relief include;

  • Aloe vera– this is a succulent plant that is native to Northern Africa. The leaves of this plant contain aloe gel which according to the Central European Journal of Immunology is used to treat minor wounds, thermal and radiation burns, inflammatory skin disorders, and osteoarthritis pain.


  • Grapefruit extract– this natural ingredient is rich in antioxidants and minerals. It has been used for joint care. The Experimental and Molecular Medicine journal claims that grapefruit extract showed protective properties against joint damage in a study it conducted regarding knee joint arthritis.


Which glucosamine substitute in homeopathy are available?

Homeopathy is a medical system that claims that the body can cure itself. For this treatment method, minerals and plants are usually used in little amounts to stimulate the healing process. There are homeopathic alternatives to glucosamine for arthritis, these are;


  • Rue– this herb contains several anti-inflammatory flavonoids which can reduce oxidative damage and inhibit inflammation caused by arthritis as well as other conditions. The International Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine claims that rue is important especially for tight muscles and ligaments following injuries.


Glucosamine alternative for diabetics

Although glucosamine is a form of glucose, some studies refute its negative effects on diabetics. To be on the safe side, products with ingredients such as turmeric curcumin and omega 3 fatty acids may be better options for diabetics.

Glucosamine vegetarian alternative

While glucosamine for osteoarthritis is effective, vegetarians are unable to consume it. A good vegetarian option is ApresFlex which is derived from the Boswellia serrata gum resin. This plant produces the Indian frankincense.

Glucosamine vegetarian alternative

Source: Life Extension


What is glucosamine chondroitin?

Glucosamine chondroitin is a dual treatment that contains both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate in its ingredients. Chondroitin like glucosamine is derived from the cartilage of animals. It is therefore not suitable for vegetarians too. This dual treatment is usually popular in the USA as it is considered more effective than using it as individual supplements (that is glucosamine supplement and chondroitin supplement).

Does glucosamine for joints work?

Yes, glucosamine may work. This is because it may boost the glucosamine levels in the big joints (knee, hip, lower back) which will in turn reduce and prevent future cartilage destruction.

Can you take turmeric curcumin and glucosamine together?

Yes. According to the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, there are no negative interactions between these two ingredients. Moreover, this study claims that a combination of turmeric curcumin and glucosaminoglycans improves joint motion.

What glucosamine alternative for dogs and cats is good?

For cats and dogs, there are several glucosamine alternative supplements that their pet owners can check out. A good example is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) which is a naturally occurring sulfur compound in body cells. This ingredient is claimed to help in the prevention and treatment of arthritis.

Products for cats and dogs include;

  • Ventri-science MSM
  • Flying Basset Organics MSM

Also read the most Common Alterntive for Flexoplex

Final Thought

Glucosamine is a popular ingredient in natural joint supplements because of the role it plays in cartilage function in both humans and animals. It can be consumed alone or combined with chondroitin sulfate which is equally effective in joint health. Apart from supplements, arthritis sufferers can also learn about how to get glucosamine naturally in their bodies.

Glucosamine may not be ideal for vegetarians and individuals with shellfish allergy. Luckily, there are vegetarian and homeopathic joint health products in the market. Consumers with shellfish allergy can also find supplements or topical oils that work for them.

Therefore, do your research well when shopping for joint supplements. Learn about the ingredients that work for you and those that you should avoid. That way, you can reap the specific benefits from the joint support supplement you go with without missing on the general advantages of using organic solutions are alternative medicine.

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