Glucosamine is a natural compound normally formed in the human body from glucose. Glucosamine is required by the body for the synthesis of an important family of macromolecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These long chains of modified sugars (mucopolysaccharides) make up many body tissues, including tendons, ligaments, cartilage, synovial fluid, mucus membranes in the digestive and respiratory tracts, and structures in the eyes, blood vessels, and heart valves.
Researchers have found that glucosamine is the key precursor for all the various sugars found in GAGs, and further, that glucosamine occupies the pivotal position in connective tissue synthesis, acting to stimulate collagen production, and connective tissue.
As humans age the amount of glucosamine normally synthesized by the body declines, leading to a deficiency in the production of these important biological chemicals that form the major cushioning ingredients of the joint fluids and surrounding tissues. This further leads to specific tissue weakness as tissues in the joints become damaged and the lubricating synovial fluids in the joint spaces become thin and watery. The normal cushioning is lost leaving the bones and the cartilage to scrape against each other inside the joint space.
These problems also occur in the spinal column where the individual vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, separated only by the cushioning disc. The space between the vertebrae is where many nerves leave the spinal cord. Any injury to this part of the back can cause the gelatinous cartilage to soften, putting pressure on the nerves, causing damage and loss of nerve function. Glucosamine Sulfate has been shown to help increase the thickness of the gelatinous material, creating more support for the joints and vertebrae.