The launch comes at a time of continued growth for the US glucosamine market, which is currently worth $303m according to IRI data of mass-market sales (excluding Wal-Mart). "With this ingredient we can achieve dosage levels of up to 2000mg of glucosamine," Triarco president Rodger Rohde told NutraIngredients.com. "It can be squirted into a glass of water, or products like cheese and orange juice can be fortified with it. Functional foods and beverages are our primary focus with this as well as supplements." Typical glucosamine doses are around 500-750mg per product. Formulation issues had also been resolved, the company claimed. "Formulating and processing with glucosamine can be frustrating," Rohde said. "Triarco's new liquid glucosamine allows manufacturers to work with a highly concentrated glucosamine that remains truly water-soluble. Our liquid glucosamine is stable, easy to work with, tasteless, and colorless." Rohde said the launch of its liquid glucosamine, priced at a mark-up over its regular powdered versions, will be followed by liquid versions of other ingredients including zinc. Glucosamine has been found to rebuild cartilage, and is therefore considered a major joint health ingredient. It is often used in conjunction with chondroitin, which gives cartilage elasticity. Its price has ranged from $9-$9.50/kg at minimum and up to $20-$30/kg for top-drawer material in the past year. Bioavailability Some studies have shown that liquid glucosamine can be up to eight times more bioavailable than in pill-form. "According to the National Advisory Board, 100 milligrams of glucosamine consumed in tablet form resulted in an 8.3 percent minute stabilized concentration in the blood, whereas liquid glucosamine produced blood concentrations of 98 percent," said Triarco. The absence of filling and other ingredients common in pill-form supplements is thought to be one of the major factors bioavailability is increased in the liquid format. "Since Triarco's glucosamine is already in a highly water-soluble liquid form, free of the fillers and stabilizers often needed in powders, it is exceptionally bioavailable," said Dr. Mark Anderson, Triarco's research and development director. Developing market Bioavailability issues aside, Triarco said liquid versions were increasingly popular with older consumers who often had difficulty swallowing pills and who made up a large proportion of the glucosamine-buying public. Glucosamine, which is usually sourced from Chinese or Indian shellfish such as prawns and lobster, has been a strong supplements performer for several years in Europe as well as in North America, where the ingredient also has GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status for use in foods and beverages. It has been boosted by medical fraternity support with doctors, physiotherapists and osteopaths recommending it for joint problems such as osteoarthritis, a condition for which glucosamine has strong although not conclusive clinical support. A $14m Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), sponsored by the National Institute of Health reported positive results for osteoarthritis, while a recent study by Dutch researchers found glucosamine was no better than placebo among sufferers of hip osteoarthritis. Vegetarian sources of glucosamine are also becoming popular, with Cargill recently gaining approval to market its fungi-derived offering Regenasure in Europe. It has been on the US market since 2002. Chinese company Hygieia Health has a vegetarian version on market in the US and Europe it launched this year. Other joint health ingredients include collagen, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and hyaluronic acid.