Impact of Glucosamine Supplementation on Gut Health

Nutrients. 2021 Jun 24;13(7):2180. doi: 10.3390/nu13072180.


Glucosamine (GLU) is a natural compound found in cartilage, and supplementation with glucosamine has been shown to improve joint heath and has been linked to reduced mortality rates. GLU is poorly absorbed and may exhibit functional properties in the gut. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of glucosamine on gastrointestinal function as well as changes in fecal microbiota and metabolome. Healthy males (n = 6) and females (n = 5) (33.4 ± 7.7 years, 174.1 ± 12.0 cm, 76.5 ± 12.9 kg, 25.2 ± 3.1 kg/m2, n = 11) completed two supplementation protocols that each spanned three weeks separated by a washout period that lasted two weeks. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover fashion, participants ingested a daily dose of GLU hydrochloride (3000 mg GlucosaGreen®, TSI Group Ltd., Missoula, MT, USA) or maltodextrin placebo. Study participants completed bowel habit and gastrointestinal symptoms questionnaires in addition to providing a stool sample that was analyzed for fecal microbiota and metabolome at baseline and after the completion of each supplementation period. GLU significantly reduced stomach bloating and showed a trend towards reducing constipation and hard stools. Phylogenetic diversity (Faith's PD) and proportions of Pseudomonadaceae, Peptococcaceae, and Bacillaceae were significantly reduced following GLU consumption. GLU supplementation significantly reduced individual, total branched-chain, and total amino acid excretion, with no glucosamine being detected in any of the fecal samples. GLU had no effect on fecal short-chain fatty acids levels. GLU supplementation provided functional gut health benefits and induced fecal microbiota and metabolome changes.

Keywords: diversity; gastrointestinal; gut health; metabolomics; microbiota; stool.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Glucosamine / administration & dosage*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage


  • Polysaccharides
  • maltodextrin
  • Glucosamine