Can glucosamine mitigate joint inflammation?


Glucosamine HCl was able to reduce the level of joint inflammation in yearling Quarter horses when administered continuously for 12 weeks before a joint insult. The oral supplementation was 30 mg/kg of body weight, twice a day.

Although this was done in yearlings, the equivalent serving size in a 1000 lb horse is 13 grams twice per day, for 12 weeks prior to an insult.

This study is important in that it measured markers of joint inflammation. It shows that joint inflammation was reduced under an inflammatory challenge.

Glucosamine HCl is very affordable and has been utilized for years as one of the first joint supplements that owners give to horses. This study supports the use of glucosamine HCl.

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Deep Dive:

Researchers at Texas A&M conducted an experiment on the influence of glucosamine prior to an inflammatory challenge (Leatherwood et al., 2016).

In 14-week experiment, Quarter horses yearlings were assigned to either a control group, or a treatment group. The treatment group received 30 mg/kg of body weight, twice daily of 99.6% glucosamine HCl.

At 4 weeks and 12 weeks, sampling showed that the group that received the glucosamine had greater concentrations of glucosamine in the plasma and also in the joint synovial fluid.

At 12 weeks, an inflammatory solution (LPS) was injected into the radial carpal joint (knee) of the control horses and the treatment horses. Two weeks later, they measured PGE2 (a marker of inflammatory process), C2C (a marker of collagen degradation), and CII (a marker of collagen synthesis). The results showed that in the group that received the glucosamine, the PGE2 and C2C were significantly lower, while the CII was significantly higher than in the control group.  

An important detail of this study was that the glucosamine HCl was administered for 12 weeks prior to the joint insult. Also important was that the treatment serving size was high, which would equate to about 13 grams of glucosamine HCl twice a day for the average size horse.

This study was done in yearlings, but gives us insight into possible treatments for arthritis in horses. The advantage to using yearlings was that they did not have existing arthritis which could confound the results.



Leatherwood, J. L., Gehl, K. L., Coverdale, J. A., Arnold, C. E., Dabareiner, R. A., Walter, K. N., & Lamprecht, E. D. (2016). Influence of oral glucosamine supplementation in young horses challenged with intra-articular lipopolysaccharide. J Anim Sci, 94(8), 3294-3302.

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