Glucosamine is an amino sugar necessary for the construction of connective tissue and healthy cartilage. It is the critical building block of proteoglycans and other substances that form protective tissues. These proteoglycans are large protein molecules that act like a sponge to hold water giving connective tissues elasticity and cushioning effects. This also provides a buffering action to help protect against excessive wear and tear of the joints. Without glucosamine, our tendons, ligaments, skin, nails, bones, mucous membranes, and other body tissues cannot form properly.
There are 4 benefits of glucosamine in skin care:
- it prevents liver spots and freckles
- it reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- it improves the moisture of the skin
- helps build collagen
Glucosamine works because it is a precursor of glycosmaminoglycan and proteoglycan, which are types of collagen found in our cartilage and skin. So, it is inducing the natural production of collagen in our body.
Glucosamine has a long track record of being safe. However, it is derived from shellfish. So, for those who are allergic to shellfish, it is better to avoid it. People who are diabetic should consult their doctor before taking it. Edible crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster, crab and crawfish can provide trace amounts of glucosamine in their shells and tails. In most Western culinary traditions, these hard exoskeletons are discarded because they are difficult to chew and digest. You can make use of the exoskeleton by grinding it thoroughly and blending it into soups, stews, pasta sauces and casseroles. (Personally, I love eating the tails dipped in hot sauce.) Note that shellfish meat contains little to no glucosamine; you cannot consume medicinal quantities of the compound by eating only the animal’s flesh.
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