We received this enquiry just the other day and it’s a frequent question we are asked about Flex Jointcare;-
“We are currently giving one of our dogs Flex Sprinkles. The vet has suggested we give her a supplement that includes 1000mg glucosamine – are you able to advise how much is in the Flex Sprinkles please?”
Glucosamine is just one of a family of building blocks found in cartilage. Collectively this group of compounds is called glycoaminoglycans, and chondroitin and glucosamine are the best known examples, though there are many more, and all essential for good health.
Over the past 50 years it has been common to use man made glucosamine (and/or chondroitin) as a basis for joint supplements. They are normally synthesised from prawn shells.
About 15 years ago the NHS withdrew glucosamine from its approved treatments after publication of a major global study of joint care supplements. Their reason was that is was not a cost effective treatment; though it has a small positive effect. Simplified, you could say it is about 25% effective.
When we developed Flex Sprinkle 10 years ago we chose Green Lipped Mussel as the principle ingredient on the grounds that its overall effectiveness was proven to be around 70% by that same global study. As it happens Green Lipped Mussel does contain the glycoaminoglycans that I mention above. But they are bound within the mussel cells and cannot be accurately measured. We believe that one reason for Green Lipped Mussels effectiveness is because the full spectrum of glycoaminoglycans (including lots of Chondroitin) is present in a natural form – and they are better absorbed and more effective than synthetic glucosamine alone. If I were to estimate a glucosamine content based on all the reading I have done I would say that a scoop of Sprinkle contained about 35mg (3%).
In summary I think it is fair to say that we just don’t share some vet’s views about glucosamine. There is no harm in synthetic glucosamine and so one can still follow that advice, but I hope that advice is balanced with the overall scientific picture based on the most recent research that I have tried to portray.