N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG)

nag n-acetyl glucosamine

Key Studies on N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG)

  • N-acetylglucosamine, is a normal component of human breastmilk. (R1)
  • Crohn’s disease (CD) is associated with the formation of thick biofilms by invasive E.coli on the surface of the epithelial layer of intestines. These virulent strains of E.coli are also causative for lesions in the CD patients.  
  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) prevents the formation of Biofilms by the adherent and invasive (AIEC) strains of E. coli.  These biofilms promote intestinal colonization and resistance to various immune mechanisms. (R2) Thus NAG has found its use in the treatment of CD and studies have shown that symptoms related to chronic inflammatory bowel disease were significantly reduced in addition to reduced inflammation. (R3)
  • Usually in the body, the activation of the NAGC gene represses the production of NAG and allows the formation of biofilms in bacteria. NAGC gene activation also causes the formation of Type 1 fimbriae (finger like protrusions from the cell) to facilitate adhesion to the cell surface and cell-to-cell aggregation. (R4)
  • Another study (2011) has also shows that NAG supresses’ destructive auto immune responses in relation to multiple sclerosis and further inhibits the growth and functioning of abnormal cells. (R5)

Possible side-effects

  • Can cause possible harm to Asthma patients by triggering asthma attacks. 
  • Certain adverse effects such as rashes, itches and wheezing, especially in people who are allergic to shellfish.


  • R1. Glucosamine. In Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed), Bethesda (MD), 2006.
  • R2. Sicard, J. F.; Vogeleer, P.; Le Bihan, G.; Rodriguez Olivera, Y.; Beaudry, F.; Jacques, M.; Harel, J., N-Acetyl-glucosamine influences the biofilm formation of Escherichia coli. Gut pathogens 2018, 10, 26.
  • R3. Salvatore, S.; Heuschkel, R.; Tomlin, S.; Davies, S. E.; Edwards, S.; Walker-Smith, J. A.; French, I.; Murch, S. H., A pilot study of N-acetyl glucosamine, a nutritional substrate for glycosaminoglycan synthesis, in paediatric chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Aliment Pharm Ther 2000, 14 (12), 1567-1579.
  • R4. Nickerson, K. P.; McDonald, C., Crohn’s Disease-Associated Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli Adhesion Is Enhanced by Exposure to the Ubiquitous Dietary Polysaccharide Maltodextrin. Plos One 2012, 7 (12).
  • R5. Grigorian, A.; Araujo, L.; Naidu, N. N.; Place, D. J.; Choudhury, B.; Demetriou, M., N-Acetylglucosamine Inhibits T-helper 1 (Th1)/T-helper 17 (Th17) Cell Responses and Treats Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. J Biol Chem 2011, 286 (46), 40133-40141.