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What Is Glucuronolactone?

Glucuronolactone is produced in the human liver.
Through the metabolism of sugar, or glucose, glucuronolactone is created.
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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 18 April 2014
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Glucuronolactone is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and is used to build many of the connective tissues. It is produced in the human liver through the metabolism of glucose. Aside from its natural uses, the chemical is used in many energy drinks. One of the reasons why it is so well known is that there have been several rumors involving medical problems following its consumption, although these have generally turned out to be false.

Connective tissues are a type of fibrous tissue that occurs naturally in the body. Glucuronolactone is an essential component of this type of tissue and is used to form the structure. As a compound, it has a melting point of around 347°F (175°C) and appears white when viewed outside the body.

When this chemical enters the body, it is quickly metabolized and converted into other substances that aren’t toxic. Aside from its normal uses, there are also some people who claim that the substance is of use for detoxifying the body, although whether this is true or not hasn’t been conclusively proven. Even so, there are a number of detox products available to buy which contain it.

In some cases, the chemical is also known as glucoronic acid lactone. Glucoronic acid is similar to glucose except that it has been partly oxidized. As a compound, the chemical can be found either in its cyclic or non-cyclic versions.

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One area for concern is that the substance is often included in energy drinks at much higher levels than would be found in a regular diet. Even so, the European Food Authority has decided that this is not a problem and does not pose a significant risk. There may, however, be a risk in excessive consumption of any drink that contains the chemical.

There are many claims made by health product manufacturers regarding the benefits of glucuronolactone. Most of these center on the substance's ability to increase a person's energy. Unfortunately, a number of these products also make false or untested claims. For example, some claim that many people don't have enough of it in their bodies but, in reality, a deficiency is extremely rare.

There are also a number of rumors circulating around the use of glucuronolactone by the government. The most popular is that the US military used the substance during the Vietnam War but had to stop due to various serious brain conditions. This has since turned out to be false; there are no official warnings regarding the safety of using the chemical.

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Discuss this Article

anon328950
Post 5

I've also noticed that Glucuronolactone is also available in electronic cigarettes now. There is a new disposable e-cig brand called NutriCigs that have products that promote energy, sleep and weight loss.

OeKc05
Post 4

Energy drinks can be expensive, and I found out I could be getting the same glucuronolactone benefits from a supplement. Since the capsules cost only a few cents each and a drink can be over $2, I decided to buy the capsules.

I take one before a workout, and I can do a lot more this way. I have a weight machine and a stair stepper, and taking the supplement allows me to work out longer without getting tired.

Also, I feel a lot more sharp mentally after taking one. I seem to function better at work if I take a capsule in the morning before I arrive. It removes the fog that sometimes surrounds my head early in the day.

seag47
Post 3

I saw some glucuronolactone powder for sale in a health food store, and I was surprised at how small the bag was. After reading the dosage, though, I understood.

One dosage is only a tenth of a teaspoon! That stuff must really pack a punch.

You are supposed to add that small amount to a glass of water and drink it once or twice a day. I didn't buy it, because I was scared of how potent it must be for that little amount to work for a person. Also, I am a petite female, and I feared that the dosage might be too much for me and my small frame.

Oceana
Post 2

@StarJo – My husband consumes an energy drink with taurine and glucuronolactone in it three days a week to help him wake up for work, and it hasn't had any bad side effects. He's been drinking them for about two years now, and if it were bad for him, surely he would have felt the effects by now.

He wakes up at 2:30 in the morning to get to work by 4:00. He has trouble staying awake while driving, but he has found that these energy drinks make him alert enough to get to work and do physical labor once he arrives.

I didn't know which ingredient was responsible for all the energy, but after reading this article, it seems that glucuronolactone is the key. I'm sure all that caffeine doesn't hurt, either.

StarJo
Post 1

I'm scared to drink anything that has mysterious chemical names in the ingredient list, like the taurine and glucuronolactone in energy drinks. If I don't know what something is, I don't put it into my body.

I drink tea, water, and juice, and that's it. I am very sensitive to caffeine, so an energy drink would probably kill me. I drank a soda with a lot of caffeine in it once, and I felt as if my heart were about to pound out of my chest!

Though glucuronolactone might not be something that will kill a person, I don't want to risk it. Any word that long sounds like something that belongs in a science lab and not in a beverage.

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