Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)
What is it?
Glucosamine (C6H13NO5) is an amino sugar and a precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is also known as chitosamine. Glucosamine comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans and other arthropods, as well as the cell walls of fungi and many higher organisms. Although the product comes from shellfish, it is probably not unsafe in shellfish-allergic people as allergies come from the flesh; however, manufacturers still place a warning on labels. Any shellfish-allergic patients should check with their doctor before using glucosamine. Glucosamine, often in combination with chondroitin, has been used for the alleviation of the symptoms of arthritis, although its use is controversial and not fully backed by sound evidence. Glucosamine exists in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use in humans. However, in 2007, it was listed as one of the most commonly used nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products by adults for health reasons.
 Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. National health statistics reports; no 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008. Accessed April 1, 2014 at http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/news/nhsr12.pdf.
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