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Information @ A Glance

  • Glucosamine (C6H13NO5) is an amino sugar that is an important precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance. Glucosamine is commonly used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, although its acceptance as a medical therapy varies.
  • It is produced in an animal's body (and in yours!) from glucose, and is used in the maintenance and regeneration of healthy cartilage in joints. Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate help the body repair damage and wear and tear to cartilage. Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin only work when they get absorbed into the body - the problem Glucosamine sulphate is a very large sized molecule.


  • Glucosamine is made from a combination of sugar - hence the first part of the name glucos(e) - and an amine, which is a derivative of ammonia containing nitrogen (N) and hydrogen (H) atoms. It is a naturally occurring substance found in the body’s cartilage. It provides the building blocks needed for the body to repair and make body cartilage.
  • Glucosamine declines because of reductions of the converting enzyme i.e. Glucosamine syntheses. When the body supplies too little Glucosamine Sulfate to the joints, cartilage begins to break down. By taking Glucosamine supplements, it can replenish our body supply of Glucosamine and restore healthy joints that are damaged by osteoarthritis or other injuries.

Application & Technology

  • Oral glucosamine preparations are widely used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, purportedly functioning by a variety of mechanisms suggested by results of in vitro experiments, and generally using glucosamine concentrations well in excess of 100 mmol/l.
  • As glucosamine is able to effectively suppress acute EAE, has low or absent toxicity, and has been safely used in humans orally, it is suggested that a potential use for this drug alone or in combination with other disease-modifying immunotherapies to enhance their efficacy and reduce their doses in MS and possibly other autoimmune disorders.
  • Glucosamine is typically produced as glucosamine hydrochloride, but some manufacturers add sodium sulfate salt or potassium sulfate salt to make a mixture of glucosamine and sulfate salt. The counter anion of the glucosamine salt (i.e. chloride or sulfate) is unlikely to play any role in the action or pharmacokinetics of glucosamine.


  • Demand for an alternative glucosamine supply in Europe, which restricts much of the material being produced in China and is suffering from a shortage of raw material production elsewhere, prompted Cargill to apply for novel foods approval earlier than planned. A Company is aiming to produce active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) glucosamine, based on a novel production method.
  • A company, using shrimp residues from the waters around Iceland, claims to supply about 50 per cent of Japan's glucosamine, one of the fastest-growing markets for the ingredient since the government changed the status of glucosamine from drug to food. According to a Nutriceuticals consultant , it has tripled in sales since then to $58 million in 2003.

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