Glucosamine Slows Aging By Supporting Connective Tissue

Glucosamine Slows Aging By Supporting Connective Tissue

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen
Connective tissue (CT) is one of the 4 types of tissues that form the human body. (The others are the nervous, muscle and covering or “epithelial” tissue.) The connective tissue supports all the other tissues by binding them together. The connective tissue also nourishes, oxygenates, electrifies and detoxifies all the cells of the body. The connective tissue includes bones and the internal material within which the various organs of the body are embedded. The skin gets its resilience from supportive connective tissue, that is located in the dermis. The heart sits on a framework of connective tissue. The strength and elasticity of the arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic vessels depend on connective tissue, while even the blood itself is a type of liquid (actually gel) connective tissue.

Interestingly, the cells that compose the connective tissue are NOT connected to each other. They come close but they don’t touch. Rather, the spaces between CT cells are filled in with “grout”, which is really a type of jelly or biological gel substance, that is secreted from connective tissue producing cells (fibroblasts). This gel plays a major determining factor in the health of the connective tissue.

This jelly-like material is a type of matrix and because it is secreted outside of cells, it is called an extra-cellular matrix or ECM. This ECM is the prime determinant of the health of connective tissue and the body as a whole. That’s because, the way the system works, the ECM is responsible for feeding, breathing, and detoxifying cells. Once the ECM becomes defective or clogged up, with cell breakdown, death and disease begin. When we talk about connective tissue disease, when we talk about aging, when we talk about cancer, when we talk about ALL health challenges, what we are really talking about is some defect in the extracellular matrix. So, while all disease is cell disease, cell disease begins with a defective ECM.

Cartilage is a classic example of ECM. Collagen is a component of the ECM. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the ECM, as is chondroitin, bone, tendons, ligaments, muscle, and even blood (aside from the red and white cells). That means that pretty much all health issues that involve the structure of the body are at least partially issues with the extra-cellular matrix.

That makes working on producing a healthy ECM a critical element of health, wellness, and anti-aging. Once the ECM is formed, there’s not much that can be done, but what we can do is work on tomorrows ECM. That means working with fibroblasts by ingesting nutrients that support the health of the fibroblasts and giving the body raw materials that the fibroblasts can use to make a healthy ECM.

One of the most important of these supportive nutrients is a glucose derivative called glucosamine, an abundant sugar molecule that is produced in the human body. It’s found in cartilaginous foods like pig snouts and chicken feet, as well as the shells of shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Mushrooms are also a good source of this important biological raw material. Of course, the most important source of glucosamine, for most folks, is in dietary supplements, where it is derived primarily from the chitin, that forms the exoskeleton of crustaceans (crabs, prawns, and lobsters), as well as the cells of fungi.

Once ingested, glucosamine enters into the bloodstream and is delivered to the fibroblasts (the cells that form the connective tissue). There it plays a key role in the production of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, as well as keratan sulfate, which, along with collagen, are the most important components of the extracellular matrix. In fact, glucosamine production is the rate-limiting step in GAG synthesis. Without it, the ECM could not be produced. By eating glucosamine rich foods and by using glucosamine as a nutritional supplement, the production of a healthy extracellular matrix can be supported.

9 Ways Glucosamine Can Slow Down The Aging Process And Keep You Healthy

  1. Strengthens circulatory vessels
  2. Liquifies Blood improving the delivery of nutrients to extremities
  3. Improves production of bone mass
  4. Prevents fine lines and wrinkles
  5. Supports skin moisturization and reduces dry skin
  6. Facilitates electrical conduction in the heart
  7. Supports intestines, improving symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome and bowel disease
  8. Enhances the production of joint cartilage and reduces arthritis inflammation
  9. Help reduce receding gums and helps prevent gum disease

Did you know?

Cats and dogs will also benefit from glucosamine supplements. In a 2007 meta-review of 16 animal studies, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, researchers found that preparations containing glucosamine could provide a “moderate level” of comfort and were on a par with some prescription drugs. It’s available as a chewable, powder and as liquids made especially for animals. There’s also nothing wrong with using human glucosamine supplements for your pet. A good dose is around 25mg of glucosamine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.


Save your shrimp shells and make your own glucosamine soup! Because shells of crustaceans (lobster, crab shrimp and other shellfish) are natures best source of glucosamine, the inedible and under-appreciated substance can be used to produce a delicious anti-aging liquid. It’s super easy! Just boil some water and add as much shrimp shells as you can. The longer you boil (and simmer) the more glucosamine you’ll extract. Add some onion and salt or maybe garlic and you’ll be good to go. If you add some citrus, you’ll get extra benefits! Vitamin C is the key player in Connective Tissue production. So, if you squeeze in a little lemon or lime juice you’ll get a little extra flavor and maximize glucosamine’s tissue building properties. Vegans don’t fret; fungi are a non-animal source of glucosamine. So, you can make your glucosamine soup from boiling mushrooms.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Vitamin A

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

While all nutrients play important and unique roles, in the world of nutrition one vitamin stands out like a diamond among ordinary gemstones.  In a nutritional world of betas this stuff is truly vitamin version of an alpha male.  In fact, it’s actually called Vitamin Alpha or more simply, as most people refer to it, as Vitamin A.

Actually there’s really no such thing as Vitamin A.  Instead, the term is an umbrella designation for a family of compounds called retinoids that are found through the plant and animal kingdoms.  These ubiquitous chemical structures exist in a variety of forms and perform multiple functions in a healthy biological system.The three most common forms of retinoids are called retinyl palmitate, retinol and retinoic acid.

Vitamin A Alpha
Perhaps the most important retinoid role involves the division of parent cells and the development of resultant offspring, so-called “daughter cells”. These processes, known as mitosis and differentiation are the most important of cellular events.Mitosis involves a cell splitting in two and forming a parent and an offspring.  Via this process one cell, made up of the combined female egg cell and male sperm cell (it’s called a zygote from the Greek word for combined) turns into the 100 trillion cells or so of the human body.  Obviously, the division is critical to formation of an animal body and this most fundamental of all biological phenomena is initiated and regulated by Vitamin A.

Differentiation is even more critical.  Once a cell it divides it may need to shape up, so to speak.  Daughter cells have to develop to become mature liver, muscle, bone, heart or “whatever”cells.  They have to shape up and take on a certain form.  Offspring lung cells have to mature to do the things that a parent lung cells can do and the same is true for heart cells or muscle or bone cells any other cells that divide. This maturation processes is what is called differentiation and it is a sophisticated affair that requires a tightly choreographed chemistry, and biological precision.And, much like the maturation of human being from baby to teenager to adult, the process is fraught with danger.  Anytime a system is growing and maturing and developing it reaches critical points where its survival is threatened. These tumultuous juncture points can be a matter of life or death for any system including a cell.  Fortunately nature has provided support to sustain the cell in its stressful differentiation periods…it’s called nutrition!  In fact one of the most important roles for nutrients is to assure healthy differentiation and of the entire support nutrient the most important bar none, the most powerful maturation nutrient is none other than the biochemical family known as Vitamin A.

Under conditions of vitamin A deficiency cell division is accelerated and cell differentiation is suppressed.  The net result is the production of lots of un-differentiated.,immature cells.   This can show up as various health issues ranging from to asthma to cancer to birth defects to skin conditions like psoriasis and acne all of which involve the appearance of large numbers of rapidly dividing immature cells that can muck up ordinarily organized chemistry.  In all these conditions relatively high doses of Vitamin A (we’ll get to those in a moment) can provide effective therapeutic treatment.

Vitamin A plays another important role in the biochemical play of life.  It turns on the production of meat.  Not the kind of meat you get at McDonalds, but rather the kind of meat of that makes up the mass of the body.  Technically the meat is called collagen and connective tissue and muscle protein and it gets pumped out cells called fibroblasts when commanded to do so by the alpha vitamin, Vitamin A.  Breakdowns in connective tissue are behind degenerative disease and that means Vitamin A can be used to help prevent diverse and distinct disorders including osteoporosis, heart disease, aneurysms and circulatory issues.  It can accelerate the healing of tissue after surgery or burns or wounds or other physical trauma. It can reduce the development of fine lines and wrinkle saggy skin and plain old regular aging.   And, it’s not just sick or old folks that benefit from the body building benefits Vitamin A.  Kids need it too. The most important sign of Vitamin A deficiency in children which 100 million kids worldwide is suboptimal growth and development.  Without enough Vitamin A children will stop growing and eventually die. [Vitamin A Part 2]

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition