Glucosamine is a modified version of glucose
, with an amino group (-NH2)
, attached to carbon 2.
It is the basic subunit from which a variety of polysaccharides are built up.
In the human body it is particularly useful in building up healthy joints, so it has become a staple line
in many health food shops, and there is considerable focus on its perceived action against osteoarthritis.
However the body makes its own glucosamine, so the amount provided by pills seems insignificant, and there is little clinical evidence for its effectiveness. It can only be considered as a dietary supplement, not a pharmaceutical drug.
The amine group ionises, so glucosamine is stabilised with other additives. In fact glucosamine sulphate is thought to be more effctive than other compounds such as glucosamine hydrochloride