New science on glucosamine's role in cellular health

New opportunities for vegetarian glucosamine use in products targeted to Generation X and Y.

Drs. Martin Lotz and Beatriz Carames from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA authored preclinical research exploring the mechanistic action of glucosamine in cellular health and concluded that their findings “suggest that glucosamine is an effective autophagy activator and motivate future studies on its efficacy in modifying aging-related cellular changes and supporting joint health.” 

New opportunities for vegetarian glucosamine.Autophagy is a critical mechanism in maintaining cellular health in joints and other tissues throughout the body.  The study results show that glucosamine activates autophagy in cell culture and in animal models.               

According the Jennifer van de Ligt, Ph.D., senior manager, Cargill Nutrition, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, “This preliminary research indicates that glucosamine may help to support healthy aging in the joints via activation of autophagy, one of the main cellular ‘housekeeping’ mechanisms.”

More than 400 million people worldwide have joint and bone concerns with the majority being from older generations. Generations X and Y tend to be very proactive when it comes to their health and are interested in using products like glucosamine.

59% of Generation X and Y survey respondents agreed with the following statement: “I have used functional foods/beverages in the past year,” according to the 2011 Health & Wellness Trends Database® and specific to Generation Y, 37% of the users of glucosamine or glucosamine/chondroitin cite “to maintain general health”  as the primary reason for using it.

More research is needed, but the preliminary findings from Scripps provide important foundational data for Cargill in its effort to help understand glucosamine’s potential mechanism of action.

As the only western producer of glucosamine, Cargill uses its own patented fermentation method to produce its vegetarian glucosamine product in a plant in Iowa—ensuring excellent quality control. Because it's produced from biomass on site, it's not exposed to the contaminants, environmental impact, or seasonality of supply related to shellfish.


Some Cargill products are only approved for use in certain geographies, end uses, and/or at certain usage levels. It is the customer's responsibility to determine, for a particular geography, that (i) the Cargill product, its use and usage levels, (ii) the customer's product and its use, and (iii) any claims made about the customer's product, all comply with applicable laws and regulations.