Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a prominent precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is part of the structure of the polysaccharides chitosan and chitin, which compose the exoskeletons of crustaceans and other arthropods, cell walls in fungi and many higher organisms. It represents one of the most abundant monosaccharides. Commercially it is produced by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons or by fermentation of a grain such as corn or wheat. Nowadays it is becoming one of the most common non-vitamin, non-mineral, dietary supplements used by adults.
Glucosamine is a derivative of an amino acid and is required for the creation of cartilage tissue (the cushioning material between joints) and plays a role in collagen formation (or the structural component of tendons, ligaments, cartilage and even skin). This means it is an important supplement for runners and other endurance athletes who are likely to suffer wear-and-tear injuries.
Any sportsman who experiences a high degree of joint stress will benefit from glucosamine supplementation - runners, weightlifters, rugby, football and tennis players. It can help prevent joint damage and improve recovery. Research suggests that 400-800mg of glucosamine a day can lessen the risk of injury, while higher doses -up to 1600mg - can speed up the recovery process.