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Joint care for vegetarian vegan market from GreenGrown glucosamine

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Eco-friendly joint care: Glucosamine for vegetarian and vegan markets

Glucosamine has been a key ingredient in US joint care supplements for over two decades.

Today, import volumes total 7,000-10,000 tons per year for human and animal supplement usage. Most of this material is manufactured from Asian shellfish production residue.1

However, this source creates significant primary environmental problems that result from current aquaculture techniques. A recent article from Scientific World Journal lists a number of these issues: destruction of coastal mangrove swamps; damage caused by effluent to human drinking water and agriculture; and excessive and uncontrolled use of antibiotics, among others.2

Secondarily, the processing of shellfish residue material into glucosamine uses large quantities of sodium hydroxide and lye which create further wastewater disposal problems.

By contrast, GreenGrown glucosamine is produced through a fermentation process that begins with non-GMO corn. The result is an eco-friendly USP-grade glucosamine sulfate and hydrochloride that is molecularly identical to the shellfish derived material but without the negative environmental costs.

Vegetable glucosamine adds value to joint care products

Due to its long-term popularity, today’s joint care supplement market is crowded with choice. Formulas based on glucosamine derived from shellfish still form the core of many brands.

However, these products don’t address the needs of the growing number of vegan and vegetarian consumers, a group that makes up a signification portion of supplement consumers. In the US, 35% of supplement users say that a vegetarian source is important when choosing a supplement.3

Vegetarian-aware consumers tend to buy three times more supplements than other shoppers, and their purchasing patterns demonstrate brand loyalty.4​ GreenGrown speaks directly to this consumer group.

A fully verified vegetable-based glucosamine source

Because of the high purity level (greater than 98%) of USP glucosamine, traditional methods, like High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) or other commonly used methods cannot definitively confirm that the source of the material is of vegetable or shellfish origin. Further confusion can also arise because final processing of both sources of glucosamine is often done in the same facilities.

GreenGrown is the only glucosamine source that can guarantee 100% vegetable origin through objective testing. This testing is achieved using Isotopic Signature Carbon Tracing (ISCT), a method developed by Ethical Naturals Inc (ENI) for glucosamine identity, and granted a patent in 2009. This is an essential step in today’s supply chain to assure identification, safety and quality.

This source identification is also important for correct labeling, as products containing shellfish may trigger allergic reactions. All batches of GreenGrown are tested by ISCT to confirm 100% vegetable origin.

The value and protection of international patents

Many major brands today sell products internationally, and this is just one reason why US and international patents are highly valued. The process for manufacturing vegetable source glucosamine by fermentation was developed by Arkion Life Sciences and the patents for the technology were first granted in the US.

Since then, 20 patents have been granted in 12 countries: China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Korea. ENI is the exclusive licensee of these patents that cover glucosamine production by fermentation. Through these extensive patents, ENI assures that brands selling GreenGrown are protected from infringement and potential lawsuits in major markets worldwide.

The GreenGrown supply chain: audited and certified

The facility in which GreenGrown is produced is regularly audited for non-GMO and GMP compliance, and the quality of all lots is verified through ENI’s rigorous testing program. The material is supplied through ENI’s NSF Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) certified distribution facility, based in Redwood City, CA.

GreenGrown glucosamine is available in several specifications that make it ideal for use in beverage, cosmetic, tableting and encapsulation applications.


1.​ ChemAnalyst.News. Glucosamine Prices to Remain on the Decline, Market Experts Predict.
2. ​Scientific World Journal. World Aquaculture: Environmental Impacts and Troubleshooting Alternatives.​ Published online 2012 Apr 29.
3.​ Natural Marketing Institute, Supplement/OTC/Rx Database (SORD) Overview, 2013.
4.​ HealthFocus International – Global Shopper Views on GMO’s 2015.

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