Glucosamine is a compound that forms part of the tissue and building structure of outer shells of crustaceans like crabs and shrimps.
It forms a part of the structure with other compounds like chitin and chitosan.
It is made naturally in humans and forms a part of the cartilage. It is to be used only as a dietary supplement.
However, science states that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate can help in treating arthritis.
Now some of those taking treatment for osteoarthritis are found to be obese or suffering from a metabolic disease which is why scientists wonder whether glucosamine can have an additional effect on body composition.
Glucosamine and Weight Loss
There is limited scientific evidence investigating the effect of glucosamine on body composition. Nevertheless, we will go over what they have to present.
Animal studies investigating the role of glucosamine on body weight
Cell culture and animal studies show that glucosamine treatment prevents the growth of developing fat cells into mature fat cells and prevents lipid accumulation.
An animal study demonstrated that the administration of glucosamine reversed the unhealthy changes brought about by a high-fat diet.
It reduced the deposition of fats, abnormal leptin levels, and insulin resistance.
This study shows that glucosamine can combat unhealthy metabolic changes associated with obesity.
Now here is an interesting study. Korean researchers investigating the effect of glucosamine on body weight split mice into two groups, one received a chow diet, and others received a high-fat diet.
Some mice from both groups received glucosamine.
It was observed that glucosamine increased body weight in mice receiving a chow diet and also impaired insulin activity in the liver.
To the contrary, it reduced body weight gain and insulin resistance in those receiving a high-fat diet.
What does this mean? Animal studies show that glucosamine administration can attenuate body weight gain caused by high fat diet and prevent accumulation of fats.
Studies on humans exploring role of glucosamine on metabolic health
In a study investigating the effect of treatment style on sedentary women with knee osteoarthritis, individuals were randomly allotted to high carbohydrate or high protein diet with an exercise regime.
They also received glucosamine and other supplements.
At the end of the study, reduction in body mass and fat mass was observed.
With an improvement in parameters related to osteoarthritis, reduction in insulin resistance was also seen.
Since multiple factors like diet and exercise are involved one can’t typically conclude that the weight loss was due to glucosamine.
Polyglucosamine is proven to reduce weight gain in animals and the effect increases with an increase in dosage.
In a clinical trial, participants received a low-calorie diet and exercise along with polyglucosamine or placebo.
After 25 weeks, the weight loss was 5.8kg in glucosamine group and 4kg in placebo group. It was concluded that polyglucosamine increases the weight loss outcomes of a low-calorie diet.
Theoretically, it is thought that since glucosamine is involved in a biological pathway, excess administration of it can induce insulin resistance.
But clinical trials on humans show that glucosamine does not cause any such harmful metabolic changes.
What does this mean? No significant studies are available that suggest that glucosamine supplementation can help reduce body weight.
There is no specific dose for glucosamine.
It is available as tablet, capsule or powder as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and n-acetyl glucosamine.
It is preferable to choose a supplement without manganese. The dose would as prescribed by the manufacturer.
Do not take any supplement without your doctor’s consent.
Side effects with glucosamine are minor and could be limited to gastrointestinal effects. In case you are allergic to shellfish do not take it. Possible drug interactions include:
- Blood-thinning medication
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood sugar lowering drugs
- Cancer medications
Glucosamine is approved as a dietary supplement but not for any specific condition. It is proven to effective in treating osteoarthritis.
Apart from animal studies which are limited, there is no other significant evidence that states that glucosamine helps in losing weight. we would definitely not recommend glucosamine for weight loss at least based on the scientific evidence available till date.