Ingredients > N-acetyl-d-glucosamine

N-acetyl-d-glucosamine: Top Health Benefits For A Healthy Lifestyle

What Is N-Acetyl-d-Glucosamine?

You can’t define N-acetylglucosamine without first mentioning its parent, glucosamine. Glucosamine, also known as GlcN, is an amino sugar. It’s actually a compound produced when you substitute a hydroxyl group of glucose molecules with an amino group.1

Glucosamine has an acetylated derivative known as N-acetylglucosamine (or GlcNAc). Both compounds have been used as ingredients in various food products, cosmetic products, and within the pharmaceutical industry. N-acetylglucosamine is chemically similar to glucosamine, which also happens to be a natural substance found in your body’s cartilage.2

N-acetylglucosamine can be produced by the process of acid hydrolysis of chitin. Chitin is a linear polymer of the N-acetylglucosamine extracted from the shells of shrimp or crab. Furthermore, natural glucosamine exists in the fluids surrounding your joints and can also be found in your bones, bone marrow, and in some species of fungi. There are also synthetic forms of N-acetylglucosamine.3,4 

The amino sugar N-acetylglucosamine plays an essential structural role at the cellular level — specifically with the surface of various cells. Mostly, N-acetylglucosamine is a vital component of the bacterial cell wall, fungal cell wall chitin, and the collagen, enzymes, and glycoproteins that provide structural support to human cells.5

Digging Deeper Into N-acetyl-d-glucosamine

When you take a closer look at N-acetylglucosamine, you’ll find that it can be found in bromelain and ricin agglutinin in plants. But in humans, it is often found in glycoproteins.6

As of late, N-acetylglucosamine (and some of its derivatives) have been put to use in various dietary supplements. 7,8



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