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What is Glucosamine for Dogs?

What is Glucosamine?
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What is Glucosamine for Dogs?

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is an essential building block for the proteins and lipids found in bones, cartilage and bone marrow.  It is a molecule made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Because glucosamine is an essential building block of cartilage, it has been widely used to slow or reverse the effects of arthritis.  The goal of using glucosamine as a supplement is to slow the degeneration of cartilage, or stimulate the repair of cartilage.  There are also reports that glucosamine can improve the body’s production of synovial fluid.  Synovial fluid is the lubricant within a join that allows the joint to move smoothly.  Ensuring that a joint has adequate synovial fluid is essential for the joint to move properly.  Synovial fluid in joints produces a coefficient of friction that is 14 times slipperier than a waxed wood ski on ice, and 4 times slipperier than Teflon. 

The Glucosamine supplements often pair glucosamine with another molecule to form a salt.  A salt is a combination of an acid and base, such as sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl), the elements that make up ordinary table salt (NaCl).  The glucosamine salts are used to make it easier for the body to absorb and use glucosamine.  Some of the common forms are glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and n-acetyl glucosamine. 

Glucosamine, Wikipedia (accessed 8/2011)
Glucosamine, Drug Digest (accessed 8/2011)
Coefficients of Friction, Physics Link, (accessed 8/2011)
What Is Glucosamine And Chondroitin And How Effective Are They In Treating Pain Resulting From Osteoarthritis?, ABC News, Ricardo Cruciani, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Beth Israel Medical Center, November 17, 2008

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