There really are different forms, grades, and quality (purity) levels of what otherwise appears to be exactly the same ingredients… often with the same ‘first name.’

‘Calcium’ is probably one of the most common, and actually discussed examples found in nutritional supplements, but ‘glucosamine’ should be high on the list for anyone using joint supplements, because the differences are significant and important.


It’s akin to thinking all “Terry’s” are the same, all ‘trees,’ “bass,” or “cars” do the same thing, or that all petroleum products are the same.

There really are, scientifically different types of ‘glucosamine,’ with very different purposes, uses, absorption levels, and even different requirements for them to be actually used somewhere within a body. For example: the most commonly used type of glucosamine (HCl) used in supplements has been proven to scientifically NOT get to the joint tissues. It’s been proven to NOT have any significant impact on arthritis, joint injuries, or really any health of the joint areas. Yet, ‘glucosamine HCl’ continues to be the most commonly found form used in joint supplements on store shelves. That’s sad, really.

The reality is that the different types of glucosamine are very different, and how they function is absolutely different, what they do (and don’t do) in a body IS DIFFERENT!

Any company not clearly listing the TYPE of glucosamine their product contains, or those using the wrong type(s) in their ‘joint’ products, should be a sign that THAT COMPANY doesn’t really know much about nutrition!

The easiest analogy I can come up with is petroleum.

Everyone understands that there are different types of petroleum products, from those ‘plastic’ fuel cans, to motor oil, to diesel, to kerosene, to regular or unleaded, with and without ethanol, and even super high octane gasoline, to actual jet fuel. All are petroleum based, but each has a particular use…  certain benefits, when used for the right thing. Each can cause problems when used in the wrong way. Some might be impossible, damaging, or even dangerous when used wrongly. That plastic gas can isn’t going to get you very far if it’s empty when you’re out of gas, even though it’s made from petroleum. And putting jet fuel in the average car will make it sing for a time, until the heads burn up, block warps, or exhaust has major damage issues.

Different types of ‘glucosamine’ have a different purpose, different requirements. Even when they have a similar purpose (like fuel), there are very different ‘heat’ (efficiency levels… as well as where and how it can really be actually used). The type is vital to purpose & goals.

The same is true for most all nutrients. The manner in which nutrients are created, combined, manufactured, delivered to the body, and used within the body are all different.

These are all things that help determine the ‘bio-availability’ (absorption), function, effectiveness, actual levels, and safety of each given ingredient.

For instance, Glucosamine is available in

  1. Glucosamine HCL (though the ‘L’ is usually represented as a ‘lower case,’ which often has it confused with the letter ‘i’),
  2. N-ACETYL-Glucosamine,
  3. N-ACETYL-D-Glucosamine,
  4. Glucosamine Sulfate NACL form (same ‘i’ issue), and
  5. Glucosamine Sulfate 2KCL forms (same ‘i’ confusion).

~ the last of which is the higher absorption, function, and usability in a mammal’s joint tissues.

In addition, the vast majority of the clinical research studies done over the last 50 years, saying ‘glucosamine actually works’ used Glucosamine SULFATE, and NOT the Glucosamine HCL counterpart that populates retail shelves (over 20 to 1).

Furthermore, there are some major differences within the same compound. Yes, it can get very complicated. Which is why the professionals at MD’s Choice designed formulas that actively use the best forms, with specific ratios, with the optimum combinations of ‘contributing nutrients’ to create the most bio-available products. This ensures the maximum amount of key nutrients were safely made available to the body, to actively help the body either solve specific problems, or maintain optimum health.

No magic… just real science!

This video deals with so much surrounding the topic of ‘glucosamine’ and assorted other ‘ingredients’ commonly found in joint supplements. You can just listen to it, while doing other things… or read along, or turn off the sound and scroll through things. It’s about 50 minutes long… let us know if you have any questions.