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A Beautiful Use for Glucosamine Hydrochloride

By Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)

Huntington College of Health Sciences

While I like to use this blog to write about “new,” interesting, evidence-based nutraceuticals, I also like to write about alternative uses for “old” nutraceuticals. In this current blog posting, I’m going to do just that with regard to glucosamine hydrochloride.

Glucosamine’s Background
Glucosamine hydrochloride is a nutraceutical that has been extensively used in clinical research for the treatment of osteoarthritis1-3—and this is certainly the predominant use for this nutraceutical. Aside from the published clinical research demonstrating glucosamine hydrochloride’s efficacy for this purpose, this particular application makes sense when considering that, as one of the salt forms of the amino sugar glucosamine, glucosamine hydrochloride is a constituent of cartilage proteoglycans. In turn, proteoglycans are a major component of the extracellular matrix, sort of a “filler” substance that is present between cells in an organism. This is where they form large complexes, both to other proteoglycans, to hyaluronan, and to fibrous matrix proteins, such as collagen.

Glucosamine’s Application for Dry Skin
But consider that this proteoglycan relationship to the extracellular matrix, hyaluronan and collagen suggests other applications for glucosamine hydrochloride, such as improving dry skin health. In fact, research published in a Japanese journal back in 2001 provided evidence for this application.

A placebo-control double-blind study4 of long-term intake of glucosamine hydrochloride (1,500 mg/day for six weeks) was conducted in 32 women who usually tended to have dry and rough skin. The following findings were obtained:

  1. Examination by dermatologists indicated that glucosamine hydrochloride significantly improved dryness of the skin (p<0.05), easiness to apply make-up (p<0.05) and exfoliation (p<0.01).
  2. Determination of the moisture content in the skin revealed that glucosamine hydrochloride increased the moisture content in the skin.
  3. Microscopic skin surface analysis showed that glucosamine hydrochloride improved smoothness and scaliness of the skin.

These findings suggested that long-term intake of glucosamine hydrochloride was effective in improving moisture content and smoothness of the skin.


  1. Gang X, Gao L. [Therapeutic results of glucosamine hydrochloride for knee degenerative osteoarthritis]. Zhongguo Xiu Fu Chong Jian Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2008 Jan;22(1):29-31. [Article in Chinese] [ABSTRACT ONLY]
  2. Zhang WB, Zhuang CY, Li JM, Yang ZP, Chen XL. [Efficacy and safety evaluation of glucosamine hydrochloride in the treatment of osteoarthritis]. [Article in Chinese] Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2007 Jul 15;45(14):998-1001. [ABSTRACT ONLY]
  3. Qiu GX, Weng XS, Zhang K, Zhou YX, Lou SQ, Wang YP, Li W, Zhang H, Liu Y. [A multi-central, randomized, controlled clinical trial of glucosamine hydrochloride/sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis]. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2005 Nov 16;85(43):3067-70. [Article in Chinese] [ABSTRACT ONLY]
  4. Kajimoto O, Suguro S, Takahashi T. Clinical Effects of Glucosamine Hydrochloride Diet for Dry Skin. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kaishi 2001;48(5):335–343.

Professor Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the Provost for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 37 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at gbruno@hchs.edu.