Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) depletion

Glycosaminoglycans (Mucopolysaccharides) are long chains of sugar molecules such as glucosamine. They comprise the first line of defense of mucous membranes of gastrointestinal tract and the bladder. They are also found in fluid around the joints, cartilage, connective tissue and skin. Examples of GAGs include Chondroitin sulfate, Dermatan sulfate, Keratan sulfate, Heparin, Heparan sulfate and Hyaluronan.

Glycosaminoglycans functional deficiency is implicated in many conditions, such as autoimmunity, arthritis, bowel hyper permeability (leaky gut) and bladder hyper permeability, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma [srs], Alzheimer’s disease, protein intolerance, gastroesophageal reflux disease, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatic diseases, CFS, MS and fibromyalgia. The outcomes of deficiency are adverse effects on digestion, intra-nutritional balance, immunity, musculoskeletal health and cognitive functions.

When intestinal wall is missing the GAGs layer absorbs undigested proteins into the blood stream, conditions that are thought to be autoimmune in nature begin to occur. This includes the Crohn’s disease, IBS, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The cells identify proteins as invasive bio-material and mount an autoimmune response. Same applies to bladder dysfunctions such as interstitial cystitis where the metabolites of urine leak into the bladder tissues initiating an autoimmune response that results in ulceration.

When glycosaminoglycans are depleted, individuals are plagued with anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal issues such as low gastric acid and enzyme insufficiency, animal proteins indigestion, histamine rich foods intolerance, mineral, amino acids and vitamin depletion, joint and muscle pains, urinary tract and bladder inflammation and neurological disorders.


Glycosaminoglycans deficiency causes have not been clearly established, however, the following are possibly implicated

  • Biotin deficiency [srs]
  • Thyroid dysfunction that affects deposition of glycosaminoglycan
  • Deficiencies in precursors of glycosaminoglycans such as glucosamine which is a precursor for chondroitin synthesis due to digestive dysfunctions


To optimize the glycosaminoglycans synthesis, the following can be considered. These supplements can be taken 1 to 2 hours after a meal for 8-10 weeks, with reduced dose as a maintenance after the treatment.

  • Combo, in devided doses
    • Glucosamine is a direct precursor to glycosaminoglycans. N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG) is a more potent type.
      Usage: 1200-1500mg daily
    • Chondroitin sulfate supplementation can help to spare usage of glucosamine required for chondroitin synthesis
      Usage: 1000mg daily
    • MSM provides bioavailable source of sulfur, reduces lactic acid and muscle soreness
      Usage: 1000mg daily

      Important! Glucosamine is mostly made from the shells of shrimp, crab and lobster, rich in arginine content. If you have any types of herpes infections or shellfish allergies, avoid glucosamine supplements and restore your GAG layer with bone broth instead.

  • L-Glutamine required for tissue repair, intestinal villi growth, synthesis of human growth hormone,
    Usage: 500-1000mg daily
  • Zinc 15mg/1mg copper are essential for growth and healing
  • Aloe Vera is a traditional nutrient used to treat many health issues that are directly associated with deficiency of Glycosaminoglycans.


Minimizing consumption of certain foods can help with maintaining of the glycosaminoglycans bioavailability. The following has been found to contribute to glycosaminoglycans destruction

  • Fermented foods and alcohol
  • Wheat and breads
  • Yeast (promotes growth of bacteria that penetrates the intestinal walls)
  • Histamine rich foods

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