What is glucosamine?

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Glucosamine (official abbreviation GlcN, official symbol square divided into two triangels, upper right half blue, lower left half white) is one of the two monomeric building blocks of chitosans, together with N-acetylglucosamine, where neighboring units are linked via β-1,4-glycosidic bonds. Its systematic name is 2-amino-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranose, indicating that it is a derivative of glucose (the most common monomeric or simple sugar) where the hydroxyl (-OH) group at the ring carbon 2 is replaced by an amino group (-NH2). Depending on the pH of the solution, the amino group can be protonated and then carries a positive charge (-NH3+). This property is responsible for the solubility and the polycationic character (i.e. carrying multiple positive charges) of chitosans in slightly acidic solutions (below pH 6). GlcN can be produced from chitin by full depolymerization and full de-N-acetylation, using acid hydrolysis. Most of the commercially produced chitin is converted into GlcN to be used in anti-arthritis treatments.