Of late, Glucosamine is largely being used as a dietary supplement to slow down the progression of different types of arthritis and heal various joint-related problems. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is naturally produced in the body and it is one of the building blocks of cartilage, a cushion-y material between the joints. However, as the age advances, levels of glucosamine drop considerably and the body loses its ability to synthesize glucosamine, as and when required. A few health conditions also lead to decrease in the glucosamine levels. In these cases, glucosamine must be included in the regular diet, in order to prevent inflammation of the joints and different types of arthritis.

Glucosamine is manufactured both from animal and non-animal sources. Glucosamine derived from animal sources is said to have its own limitations; the biggest limitation being its source. The conventional or the normal glucosamine is derived from chitin that is synthesized in the exoskeleton of the shellfishes. Due to its source, those who practice vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are not being able to consume glucosamine as a dietary supplement. Vegetarian glucosamine, on the other hand, is derived from non-animal sources such as wheat and corn. This is 100% safe, effective and an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans.

So, What exactly is vegetarian glucosamine and how does it work?

Glucosamine hydrochloride is the vegetarian form of glucosamine. Glucosamine HCl that is 100% safe and GMO-free has been warmly welcomed by the vegetarians, vegans and those individuals with crustacean allergies, lately. Apart from the HCl form, glucosamine is available in sulfate form too. However, glucosamine HCl is a far more concentrated and bioavailable source than the other form. It is also sodium free, whereas glucosamine sulfate will usually contain up to 35% salt.

Vegetarian HCl is normally manufactured by subjecting corn syrup to bacterial or fungal fermentation. Once the fermentation is complete, the bacterial residue (or the fungal residue) is removed from the obtained product, which is then subjected to series of filtration in order to obtain the high-quality vegetarian D-glucosamine HCl, in its purest form. Fermented glucosamine is considered natural and safe when compared to the chemically processed glucosamine.

Effectiveness of Vegetarian Glucosamine

38% of India’s population comprises of vegetarians. Milk and food from plant sources are the only means from which they are getting nutrients required for the bone and cartilage health, currently. An alternative source for these nutrients becomes paramount in order to keep the bones and cartilage free from inflammation. Out of all the nutrients, glucosamine is the significant biomolecule that is necessary to keep the cartilage and bones healthy.

A good number of studies show that vegetarian glucosamine products work just like the shellfish glucosamine only with no allergies and 100% safety. Since vegetarian glucosamine is domestically produced through natural phenomenon like fermentation, one can be sure of its quality and safety. Some of the primary benefits of vegetarian glucosamine include-

  • It fights against irritation in the intestine, stomach and the bladder area.
  • Aids in healing of injured tissues and fractures at a faster rate.
  • Minimizes joint pain remarkably.
  • Protects the joints from inflammation and other factors that lead to arthritis.

Glucosamine as a part of vegan diet

Veganism has become a hot topic in the recent years and it is predicted to become the biggest food trend in the year 2018.

Individuals who follow veganism refrain themselves from consuming food products derived from the animal sources. The only source of essential nutrients for them is the fruits, vegetables and the processed foods derived from the plants. However, the essential nutrients required for maintaining the bone health is largely present in milk, eggs, and other animal-derived foods. Vegan glucosamine HCl or the vegetarian glucosamine could be an excellent option in this case. Vegan glucosamine HCl is derived from vegetable sources like rice husk, wheat, and corn, and do not cause any allergies when consumed. Vegan glucosamine, as a dietary supplement will not only heal joint pain and arthritis but also keeps the cartilage healthy.

What is corn-derived Glucosamine?

Vegetarian glucosamine is derived from different sources such as soy, wheat, and corn. Out of all the sources, corn is largely used for D-glucosamine synthesis. Corn syrup is fermented either in the presence of bacteria or fungi, which will break down the sugars to alcohol (or acids) and amino sugars; here the latter is the product of interest. N-acetyl D-glucosamine is formed as the intermediate product during the fermentation reaction. This intermediate product is converted to D-glucosamine HCl in the next step, which is followed by purification and processing.

Strong reasons to opt for Vegetarian Glucosamine

  • Shellfishes are usually sourced from seashores and then processed to synthesize glucosamine. However, in recent years marine pollution has become a serious problem; the crustaceans in that ecosystem feed on contaminated food sources only. This makes the source itself questionable. This is not any different in the case of raw materials from other water bodies too. On the other hand, fermented glucosamine is a lot safer with very less concentration of heavy metals, least polluted and contaminated raw materials, and a series of purification processes.
  • Chitin processing in the case of shellfish glucosamine synthesis leads to environmental pollution; and, discarding the waste is another challenge. This makes shellfish glucosamine less environmental-friendly. However, the synthesis of vegetarian glucosamine does not have any negative impact on the environment.
  • Shellfish glucosamine is not only bad for those with crustacean allergies, but it is also bad for those with asthma. It has been observed that shellfish glucosamine is said to worsen the asthma symptoms. In the case of corn-derived glucosamine, the product does not contain the DNA from corn and thereby it is also safe for those who are allergic to corn products.
  • Healthwise speaking, products from vegetarian sources are said to slow down the aging process. Glucosamine HCl prevents glutathione depletion in the cells and eventually keeps the free radicals levels in check.

The effectiveness of both shellfish glucosamine and vegetarian glucosamine do not have much difference. But, more serious aspect to consider when it comes to these products is not their effectiveness, but their quality.