Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Akruti Khandkar (Journalist) on 02nd Jan 2021

Heard about Acetyl Glucosamine? Your Skin Might Need this!

Heard about Acetyl Glucosamine?

You might have heard of N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG), a skin-identical ingredient. In simpler terms, it's found in our skin in the spaces between the cells, and it is utilized to reduce dryness and support the skin's barrier. 

What Is Acetyl Glucosamine?

N-acetyl glucosamine or Acetyl glucosamine is a monosaccharide derivative of glucose. Acetyl glucosamine has numerous natural capabilities. For example, its association with hyaluronic acid. At the point when acetyl glucosamine is involved with glucuronic acid, it structures hyaluronic acid.

In humans, hyaluronic acid is a significant part of the extracellular matrix and is broadly disseminated in epithelial, connective, and neural tissues. It is generally copious in the skin, representing half of the body's total hyaluronic acid content. Hyaluronic acid is liable for keeping up the skin's moisture levels and improving its presence by giving it a dewy, hydrated look. As a substrate to the hyaluronic acid union, acetyl glucosamine can renew hyaluronic acid when levels become drained.  

Important points about Acetyl Glucosamine 

  • N-acetylglucosamine is a basic sugar got from the external shell of crustaceans.
  • Synthetically like glucosamine (a characteristic substance found in ligament), N-acetylglucosamine is thought to ease joint stiffness and ensure the stomach and digestive organs' coating diminishes dull spots on the skin caused by aging and skin damage. 
  • Accessible in cream, capsule, powder, tablet, and serum.  

How Acetyl Glucosamine helps in achieving skin benefits?  

Acetyl glucosamine works as an anti-aging skincare ingredient with the capability to replenish hyaluronic acid. Learn how it benefits the skin


Hyaluronic acid is a key atom engaged with keeping up skin hydration with the capacity to hold up to multiple times its weight in water. Young skin holds its strength and structure because of its rich flexibility of hyaluronic acid and high-water content. As per the Journal DermatoEndocrinology, the most sensational histochemical change seen in aging is the vanishing of hyaluronic acid in the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is recommended to be an important ingredient in beauty care products. However, it doesn't enter the skin proficiently because of its high atomic weight. Accordingly, since acetyl glucosamine is a structure square of hyaluronic acid and infiltrates through the skin, it is imagined that this ingredient can recharge hyaluronic acid in maturing skin. Lastly, this conceivably expands the skin's water content, bringing about a smoother complexion.  


Acetyl glucosamine has been found to lessen the presence of facial hyperpigmentation. Some examination proposed that acetyl glucosamine may diminish melanin's creation, a shade that gives skin its tone, through a few instruments, including quality guidelines of the qualities liable for melanosome transport. These progressions are accepted to be related to shade decrease, prompting a more brilliant, all the more even composition.  

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Another way acetyl glucosamine can improve the presence of aging skin is through exfoliation. This ingredient gives skin peeling properties like alpha and beta hydroxy acids without aggravation. Amino sugars like acetyl glucosamine could change how some skin cells separate and follow, prompting the standardization of skin's natural exfoliation mechanism. This could be useful for those with delicate skin since exfoliation with acids can prompt side effects, such as aggravation, redness, and photosensitivity.  

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For keeping up that skin hydration, hyaluronic acid has additionally been connected to protectively affecting collagen blend. Collagen is liable for the flexibility, perfection, strength, quality, versatility, and full appearance of healthy skin. Raised degrees of corrupted collagen and decreased collagen synthesis are known to cause indications of skin aging. By recharging hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine may, by implication, help to ensure collagen synthesis.  

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Health benefits of Acetyl Glucosamine

Customers have praised glucosamine as an over-the-counter solution for osteoarthritis. It tends to be taken alone or utilized with chondroitin to re-establish joint ligament and decrease joint agony.  

  • Aging skin. Early exploration shows that applying a cream containing 2% N-acetyl glucosamine and 4% niacinamide can diminish dull spots caused by sun damage or aging.  
  • Heart diseases. Individuals who take glucosamine may have a lower danger of heart diseases. However, it's hazy what portion or type of glucosamine may work best.  
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases: There is some early proof that N-acetyl glucosamine, when taken orally or rectally, may diminish IBD indications in youngsters with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's illness.
  • Stroke. Individuals who take glucosamine may have a somewhat lower danger of having a stroke. However, it's indistinct what portion or type of glucosamine may work best.  
  • Osteoarthritis. Contrasting to other dietary enhancements that need clinical research, glucosamine's impact on osteoarthritis has been extensively studied by scientists. Concerning N-acetylglucosamine explicitly, the supplement has its pros and cons. While N-acetylglucosamine encourages the creation of hyaluronic acid, it is inadequately consumed via ligament cells compared to glucosamine sulfate (implying that it has less effect in remaking cartilage).To accomplish suitable penetrability, a high dosage of N-acetylglucosamine would be required. In that capacity, N-acetylglucosamine might be more compelling in improving joint functioning than forestalling ligament misfortune.  
  • Multiple Sclerosis. A recent report/publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry recommended that N-acetylglucosamine can smother the impact on the body's immunity in response to multiple sclerosis (MS). As an immune system infection, MS can destroy the external layer (myelin sheath) of the nerve cells. It has been suggested that, by lessening the steady immune system irritation, a significant number of the trademark indications of MS can be delayed. No human-related examinations have been done so far. 

Is Acetyl Glucosamine Safe to use?  

  • When taken orally: N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when taken in portions of 3-6 grams day by day.  
  • When applied/used to the skin: N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when utilized for as long as ten weeks.  
  • If given as an enema (rectally): N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when utilized in portions of 3-4 grams every day. 

Exceptional Precautions and Warnings

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There isn't sufficient reliable data to know whether Acetyl Glucosamine is prudent to utilize when pregnant or breastfeeding. Look for a safe side and avoid the use. 
  • Asthma: Researchers aren't sure why; however, glucosamine may exacerbate asthma in certain individuals. If you have asthma, be alert while attempting to use N-acetyl glucosamine.  
  • Diabetes: Some early exploration recommended that glucosamine may bring glucose levels up in individuals with diabetes. In any case, a more dependable examination shows that glucosamine doesn't appear altogether to influence glucose control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. However long you regularly screen your glucose, you can most likely take glucosamine, including N-acetyl glucosamine, safely.  
  • Shellfish allergy: There is some worry that glucosamine items may cause susceptible allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to shellfish. Glucosamine is created from the shells of lobster, shrimp, and crabs. Hypersensitive responses in individuals with shellfish sensitivity are due to the meat of shellfish, not the shell. Yet, a few people have had a hypersensitive response after the use of glucosamine supplements. If you have a shellfish allergy, consult your doctor before utilizing glucosamine.  
  • Surgery: NAG or Acetyl Glucosamine may influence glucose levels and meddle with glucose control during and after surgery. Quit taking N-acetyl glucosamine, in any event, fourteen days before booking a surgery.  


Try not to befuddle N-acetyl glucosamine with different glucosamine types, for example, glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride. They might not have a similar impact.

Peruse glucosamine labels cautiously for their content. Most glucosamine items contain glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride.

Glucosamine hydrochloride and Glucosamine sulfate are advertised together in blend items with N-acetyl glucosamine. There haven't been any examinations that have assessed these mixes for treating osteoarthritis.