Glucosamine for Joint Health in Animals

Importance of Joint Health

Joint health plays a significant role in the overall health and well-being of animals. Without healthy joints, animals can suffer from osteoarthritis; a condition characterized by chronic swelling and inflammation, limited mobility, stiffness, and joint pain. The good news is joint conditions like osteoarthritis can be treated and in some cases prevented with supplementary glucosamine.

Why is joint health such a key part of overall health in animals?

  • Cartilage begins to break down with age, making movement painful and more difficult
  • Glucosamine is an essential part of the body’s cartilage development process
  • Natural glucosamine levels decrease with age

Historically, most research on the benefits of glucosamine has been focused on humans. However, glucosamine has become widely accepted to treat animals to deliver the same benefits as shown to humans.

As part of TSI Group’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and customer-centricity, we have created the world’s first commercially available, plant-based glucosamine supplement: GlucosaGreen®. With transparent sourcing, pets can enjoy the benefits of glucosamine and owners can rest assured that they are choosing what’s best for both their pet and the planet.

Clinical Evidence

In early 2009, TSI Group envisioned a glucosamine supplement that was as good for the environment as is it for those who use it; human and animal alike. Between 2007 and 2016, clinical studies on the effects of glucosamine in humans found that:

  • Supplementation improved knee flexion and extension for athletes [1]
  • Significantly decreased CTX-II levels (a biomarker of collagen and cartilage degradation) [2]
  • Decreases the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. [3]
  • Reduced type 2 collagen degradation while maintaining synthesis[4]

Traditional Sourcing

Traditional glucosamine sourcing relies on the isolation of chitin, a key ingredient in glucosamine production. Chitin exists naturally in shellfish shells and fungal biomasses, which are commonly used in traditional glucosamine production. Unfortunately, traditional production of glucosamine has two significant drawbacks.

The first major concern in shellfish-derived glucosamine is the barrier to consumers with certain dietary restrictions including vegan and kosher diets, as well as shellfish allergies.

The second problem with traditional glucosamine, is its negative impact on the environment. Processing requires significant amounts of water and heavy chemicals and results in large volumes of hazardous waste. While processing with fungal biomasses resolves dietary and allergen concerns, extraction of chitin still results in significant water waste and hazardous by-products.

Sustainable Sourcing

TSI Group is driven by a commitment to creating sustainable equivalents to traditional supplements. Inspired by this commitment, our bioactive ingredients division developed a revolutionary process for developing glucosamine. This process was developed to produce glucosamine from glucose; a raw material by-product of fermented corn. The end result is the sustainable glucosamine product, GlucosaGreen ®.

GlucosaGreen® is bio-equivalent to the glucosamine produced from shellfish. In an effort to reduce water waste and overall environmental impact, our production process uses fermentation to convert non-GMO corn into glucosamine. While GlucosaGreen®  is created using corn fermentation, the end result is pure glucosamine—not glucose. This distinction is critical for humans with diabetes and animals with glucose sensitivities.

GlucosaGreen® ’s sustainable glucosamine production model isn’t slightly more sustainable; it is significantly more sustainable. For comparison, making a shellfish glucosamine tablet generates 5 ½ times its weight in solid waste. A portion of the extra waste is made up of hydrochloric acid, a toxic chemical byproduct. By using plant-based glucosamine, GlucosaGreen® is able to reduce hydrochloric acid waste by nearly 90%.

When it comes to sustainability, GlucosaGreen® does more than reduce harmful by-products. Our glucosamine manufacturing model saves 99.6% of the water needed for traditional glucosamine production. In fact, it takes nearly a billion gallons of water to produce enough shellfish-derived glucosamine to meet US demand.

Consumer Response

The call for corporate social responsibility grows stronger each year. For GlucosaGreen®, the commitment to sustainability is not only good for the planet, but also for business. In fact, a US consumer survey found that:

  • 60% of glucosamine users are willing to pay a premium for sustainably sourced products
  • 82% of dog owners will pay a premium when choosing a product for their pets
  • 55% of consumers will pay a 10% or higher premium
  • 73% say ingredient sourcing is an important influence when choosing supplement products for their pets. (A higher influence than products being ‘Vet Recommended’)

The Future of Glucosamine

Glucosamine use is expected to grow in the animal supplement market. With increased environmental regulations, glucosamine manufacturers will begin to rely more heavily on plant-derived glucosamine. Now more than ever, sustainable sourcing is a key factor in the consumer buying process. TSI Group is dedicated to the efficacy and sustainability of new and existing products, and glucosamine is no exception.

[1] Ostojic et al. Glucosamine administration in athletes: effects on recovery of acute knee injury. Res Sports Med 15:113-124, 2007.

[2] Yoshimura et al. Evaluation of the effect of glucosamine administration on biomarkers for cartilage and bone metabolism in soccer players. Int J Molec Med 24:487-494, 2009.

[3] Runhaar et al. The role of diet and exercise and of glucosamine sulfate in the prevention of knee osteoarthritis: Further results from the Prevention of knee Osteoarthritis in Overweight Females (PROOF) study Semin Arthritis Rheum 45: S42-S48, 2016

[4] Tomonaga et al. Evaluation of the effect of N‑acetyl‑glucosamine administration on biomarkers for cartilage metabolism in healthy individuals without symptoms of arthritis: A randomized double‑blind placebo‑controlled clinical study. Exp Ther Med 12: 1481-1489, 2016: