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What is glucosamine?

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A handy guide to: glucosamine

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Glucosamine is an amino sugar created naturally by the body. It is essential for the production of glycosaminoglycan, a molecule responsible for the formation and repair of cartilage. The amount of glucosamine your body produces decreases with age.

Sarah Brewer graduated as a doctor from Cambridge University. Having worked in hospitals and general practice, she gained a Master's degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey. She is the author of over 60 popular health books and writes widely on all aspects of health including complementary medicine. More from this expert.

  • Glucosamine in the body

    Glucosamine is predominantly found in cartilage, the soft tissue inside joints which cushions bones. Over the years cartilage could disintegrate due to general wear and tear, causing joints to become painful and inflamed. Repetitive strain or injury could also cause damage to cartilage tissue.

  • Glucosamine food sources

    There is no major food source of glucosamine so including a supplement in your diet could help ensure your body receives the levels it needs.

  • Glucosamine supplements

    Glucosamine supplements could help repair damaged cartilage and help alleviate painful joints. They are traditionally sourced from shellfish, however some supplements contain glucosamine derived from corn.

  • The five types of glucosamine

    1. D-Glucosamine Hydrochloride (HCL)
    2. D-Glucosamine Sulphate 2KCl
    3. D-Glucosamine Sulphate NaCl
    4. N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG)
    5. Poly N-acetyl-glucosamine (Poly NAG)

  • Glucosamine benefits

    A daily dose of glucosamine could help strengthen joints and shorten recovery time after injury. Glucosamine supplements could also help prevent the breakdown of cartilage and alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.


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