Why Glycosaminoglycans Are a Girl’s New Best Friend

Your body is poised to spring into action to repair the damage that time and the environment have done to your cells.  It just needs the raw materials to complete this task.

-Dr. Howard Murad in The Cellulite Solution, p. 39

I’ve been at this cellulite-investigating gig for over a year now, and I sense we are nearing a breakthrough.  That’s why I am so excited to discuss this latest evidence from Dr. Murad’s book with you. Let’s jump right in.

A Brief Recap of Cellulite Anatomy

Dr. Murad treats cellulite by prescribing the nutritional supplements the body uses to rebuild connective tissue. As you recall, cellulite forms when the connective fibers that attach the fat cells to the skin become weakened, allowing the buoyant fat cells to push through the dermis until they are visible at the surface. If we strengthen this connective tissue, the fat cells will stay below the skin where they belong.

As a side note, this understanding of cellulite anatomy explains why cellulite recovery is not a simple matter of losing weight.  In fact, losing weight can make cellulite worse if it further starves the connective tissue of necessary nutrients.

Rebuilding the Connective Tissue

As Dr. Murad explains, the skin’s connective tissue is called the dermis, also known as the body’s matrix. The dermis is the primary water reservoir for the entire body. Drawing on Dr. Murad’s cellular water principle which we discussed last week, rebuilding the dermis is a critical step in restoring full hydration to all the cells in the body.  That’s why a damaged dermal layer could be reflected in chronic dry skin, chapped lips, or a flaky scalp.

The dermis is composed of collagen, elastic fibers, and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).  There are several different types of GAGs.  One of them is hyaluronic acid. Commonly injected into the skin during mesotherapy treatments, hyaluronic acid is a natural moisturizing agent found in the eyes, joints, and skin.  It can retain a thousand times its weight in water. The body makes hyalruonic acid and other GAGs from glucosamine.

Traditionally, human diets were rich in glucosamine and related nutrients because of the prolific use of bone broths.  These broths were slow-simmered, sometimes for days, and were valued for their health-giving properties (just think of the longstanding reputation of chicken soup). We rarely consume glucosamine in the modern diet, which is why Dr. Murad recommends a supplement to his cellulite patients.

But throughout the Cellulite Investigation thus far, I’ve learned that Nature generally does it better than the supplement companies.  So I did a little digging and discovered that glucosamine supplements are usually made from shrimp shells. Lucky for me, shrimp shells are the prime ingredient in one of my favorite foods!  More details in an upcoming post…

*This post is part of Monday Mania hosted at The Healthy Home Economist and Fight Back Friday hosted at FoodRenegade.

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Elizabeth Walling says:

Melissa, I just realized my silly Blogger follow list has not been showing your updates, so I am busy catching up on posts right now! I can’t believe I’ve missed two weeks of posts. Arrrrgh!

Bone broth is an awesome food. I wonder if the fact that it also helps restore digestive health might be connected to cellulite as well, since a healthy digestive system can eliminate toxins far more effectively than one in poor health. So bone broth might just be one of the top anti-cellulite foods. Right up there with coconut oil! (By the way, I’ve renewed my commitment to eat more coconut during the last few weeks and my cellulite is noticeably clearing up! Even a particularly large dimple I have looks to be about half of what it was. I’m impressed!)

Melissa says:

Sorry about the RSS feed, Elizabeth! It stopped working when I switched to WordPress. I tried to sent out an email about it through Google Friend Connect, but I don’t know if anyone received it. You can subscribe to the new feed through the RSS button in the upper right. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Peggy says:

Why, is that shrimp on the barbie? 😀 Melissa, would you pretty please, for those of us on kosher diets or the shellfish allergic, also tell us where we can get glucosamine apart from shellfish? I had to stop taking a glucosamine supplement years ago after a BAD reaction. I’d rather get it through food anyway!

Melissa says:

Chicken stock is another good option. Lamb and beef stock, too. Thanks for your question, Peggy!

Ellen says:

Thank you for this post could you please let me know which is the best type of glucosamine that I can buy. Also Peggy, could you please let us know what type of reaction you had to glucosamine?


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