N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE

OTHER NAME(S):

2-Acetamido-2-deoxyglucose, Acetylglucosamine, Acétylglucosamine, Glucosamine, Glucosamine-6-phosphate, Glucosamine N-Acetyl, N-Acetil Glucosamina, N-Acétyl Glucosamine, N-Acétyl-Glucosamine, N-Acétylglucosamine, N-Acetyl D-Glucosamine, N-Acétyl D-Glucosamine, NAG, N-A-G, pGlcNAc, Poly-N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Poly-NAG, p-GlcNAc.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

N-acetyl glucosamine is a chemical that comes from the outer shells of shellfish. It can also be made in labs.

Don't confuse N-acetyl glucosamine with other forms of glucosamine, such as glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulfate. They may not have the same effects.

Read glucosamine product labels carefully for their content. Most glucosamine products contain glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride. Although glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride are marketed together in combination products with N-acetyl glucosamine, there haven't been any human studies that have evaluated these combinations for treating osteoarthritis.

You may also see chitosan as an ingredient in some glucosamine products. Chitosan is a form of N-acetyl glucosamine that has been chemically altered.

N-acetyl glucosamine is taken by mouth for osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

N-acetyl glucosamine is applied to the skin to reduce dark spots caused by aging and sun exposure.

How does it work?

N-acetyl glucosamine might help protect the lining of the stomach and intestines.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Dark spots on skin due to aging and sun exposure. Early research shows that applying a cream containing 2% N-acetyl glucosamine and 4% niacinamide to the face decreases dark spots caused by aging and sun exposure. It's unclear if applying a cream containing only N-acetyl glucosamine would have the same effect.
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. There is some early evidence that N-acetyl glucosamine taken by mouth or rectally might decrease symptoms of IBD in children with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of N-acetyl glucosamine for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

N-acetyl glucosamine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in doses of 3-6 grams daily, when applied to the skin, or when used rectally in doses of 3-4 grams daily.

There has been some concern that glucosamine products might cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to shellfish. Glucosamine is produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. But allergic reactions in people with shellfish allergy are caused by the meat of shellfish, not the shell. There are no reports of allergic reactions to glucosamine in people who are allergic to shellfish. On the positive side, there is also some information that people with shellfish allergy can safely take glucosamine products.

There has also been concern that glucosamine might increase the amount of insulin in the body. Too much insulin might lead to high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol and other blood fats called triglycerides. While animal research seems to confirm that glucosamine can increase cholesterol, researchers haven't found this effect in people. In fact, research findings to date show that glucosamine does not seem to increase blood pressure or raise cholesterol levels in people over age 45 who take glucosamine sulfate for up to 3 years.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of N-acetyl glucosamine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Researchers aren't sure why, but glucosamine might make asthma worse in some people. If you have asthma, use caution when trying N-acetyl glucosamine.

Diabetes: Some early research suggested that glucosamine might raise blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, more reliable research indicates that glucosamine does not seem to significantly affect blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. As long as you routinely monitor your blood sugar, you can probably take glucosamine, including N-acetyl glucosamine, safely.

Surgery: N-acetyl glucosamine might affect blood sugar levels and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking N-acetyl glucosamine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions

Interactions?

Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

!
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE

    Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. There are several reports showing that taking glucosamine with or without chondroitin increase the effect of warfarin (Coumadin) on blood clotting. This can cause bruising and bleeding that can be serious. Don't take glucosamine if you are taking warfarin (Coumadin).

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Medications for cancer (Chemotherapy) interacts with N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE

    There is some concern that N-acetyl glucosamine might decrease the effectiveness of some medications for cancer. But it is too soon to know if this interaction occurs.

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE

    There has been concern that glucosamine might increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. There was also the concern that glucosamine might decrease how well medications used for diabetes work. However, research now indicates that glucosamine probably does not increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Therefore, glucosamine probably does not interfere with diabetes medications. To be cautious, if you take N-acetyl glucosamine and have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.<br/><br/> Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

!
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) interacts with N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE

    There is some concern that taking glucosamine and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) together might affect how well each works. But more information is needed to know if this interaction is a big concern.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of N-acetyl glucosamine depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for N-acetyl glucosamine. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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