N-Acetyl-Glucosamine(NAG) is a natural component of shellfish and is an extremely exciting ingredient for beauty care – it is a special form of glucosamine that is synthesised into hyaluronic acid in our body when digested.
Hyaluronic acid is a key skin component that helps our skin retain moisture and keeps skin cells hydrated and youthful. As hyaluronic acid levels fall with increasing age, leading to drier skin, adding N-Acetyl-Glucosamine to your diet naturally increases production of hyaluronic acidiand helps to re-hydrate and smooth your complexion. Being a special form of glucosamine with antioxidant qualitiesii, N-Acetyl-Glucosamine alsoprotects skin from inflammation caused by free radicals and helps extend the life of skin cells.
Recent research has demonstrated just how valuable NAG is for skin rejuvenation. N-Acetyl-Glucosamineis actively used by fibroblasts in the skin to synthesize collagen. Our fibroblasts become less effective with age, leading to a 20% - 25% loss of collagen by the time we are 40,increasing to a 35% - 40% collagen loss & the first wrinkles by the time we are 50. A good supply of NAG has been shown in clinical trials to boost fibroblast activity and increase collagen synthesis1by an average of 33% in the reported test. ie N-Acetyl-Glucosaminemeasurably increases the rate at which fibroblasts produce bothhyaluronic acid and collagen – which is fabulous news for older skins. The studies show that NAG increases the effectiveness with which skin fibroblasts make a) hyaluronic acid, b) synthesise collagen and that c) NAG also protects skin cells from free radical damage. The researchers concluded thataging fibroblasts exhibited more « youthful behavior » and have longer useful lifespans under the influence of NAG. The scientists concluded that NAG is extremely helpful for stimulating and optimizing collagen synthesis and is a very effective anti-aging nutrient for the skin.
The antioxidant activity of NAG also protects skin from free radical damage. One of the stressors for skin, especially during aging, is too much UV radiation, which may overload an impaired antioxidant system in older and less efficient skin. One study has found that NAG reduces the amount of free radical damage from UV radiation to fibroblasts, in turn preventing the activation of enzymes that break down skin collagen and accelerate skin agingiii. As damage to fibroblasts activates enzymes that break down skin collagen ; protecting these fibroblasts from damage keeps our skin looking younger for longer.
N-Acetyl-Glucosamine is also very helpful for maintaining the integrity of mucous membranes, in particular in our gums, eyes2and stomach, joint lubrication and disc hydration.
iii Połubinska A, Cwalinski J, Baum E, Bręborowicz A. N-Acetyl-Glucosamine Modulates Function of the Skin Fibroblasts Int J Cosmet Sci 2013 May - Department of Pathophysiology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.