What is N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine?

L. Roux

N-acetyl-D-glucosamine is a nutritional supplement derived from glucose; it is classified as a monosaccharide, a part of the carbohydrate family. It is sometimes used to help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and Crohn's disease. In addition to taking it as a supplement, it also can be consumed as part of a balanced diet that includes shellfish. N-acetyl-D-glucosamine may also be found in various commercial products such as night creams, lotions and anti-wrinkle creams.

An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis. Many individuals believe that glucosamine, taken with chondroitin, may help people with osteoarthritis.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis. Many individuals believe that glucosamine, taken with chondroitin, may help people with osteoarthritis.

Amino sugars are also partly formed by N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and it may be able to inhibit the synthesis of certain bacterial proteins in the body. It may also help to increase the skin's elasticity and to support the formation of healthy blood cells. It commonly is taken as a dietary supplement.

N-acetyl D-glucosamine helps stimulate the formation of cartilage.
N-acetyl D-glucosamine helps stimulate the formation of cartilage.

N-acetyl-D-glucosamine also helps to stimulate the metabolism of chondrocytes, which help form cartilage. The supplement may reduce the risk of arthritis and help to strengthen the body's joints. It also plays an important role in synovial fluid, which is used to lubricate the joints. In addition, it may also help to increase the range of motion in joints and reduce pain and inflammation.

Some anti-aging creams include N-acetyl-D-glucosamine as an ingredient.
Some anti-aging creams include N-acetyl-D-glucosamine as an ingredient.

Chitosan is another element that is composed in part from N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Chitosan may be used to remove excess fat from the digestive system by binding with the fat molecules and excreting it from the body. It is therefore used in many fat loss products. Chitosan is also a dietary fiber and may help to slow down the digestion process in the stomach.

N-acetyl-D-glucosamine also has the ability to bind with the wheat germ agglutinin, also known as WGA. The two together may stimulate the activation of the body's T-cells. These T-cells play a vital role in the immune system of the body and form part of the body's white blood cells.

There is no set dosage for N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and it is best to consult a healthcare professional before starting with a supplementation program. The nutritional supplement also is typically not recommended for use by children, as there is currently not enough evidence to support the claims that it may be safe for young children.

Side effects of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine may include an increase in the production of insulin in the body. It may lead to high blood pressure and also higher cholesterol levels. It may also cause allergic reactions for individuals who are allergic to shellfish products.

Some doctors also recommend physical therapy for patients using glucosamine cream to manage the symptoms of joint disorders.
Some doctors also recommend physical therapy for patients using glucosamine cream to manage the symptoms of joint disorders.

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