Glucosamine & Chondroitin FAQ's
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is derived from glucose and glutamine (an amino acid). It is used to produce substances in the body that attract and bind water into tissues, making them more resilient. It is especially important to maintain properly functioning joint structures.
How is glucosamine manufactured?
Glucosamine is produced by removing the proteins and minerals from the shells of shrimp and crab. This is done primarily in China, with some coming from other Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia.
NOW has developed the Official AOAC Method for testing glucosamine and has used this method for the past five years.
What is the source of NOW's Chondroitin?
NOW's Chondroitin is derived from bovine tissue from cattle. As with all of our raw materials, we screen Chondroitin very carefully for the presence of any undesirable microbes. NOW’s state-of-the-art analytical lab has developed a method of testing chondroitin, which is currently being verified by independent labs around the world and is expected to become an Official Method used to test all products containing chondroitin sulfate.
NOW's Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM Products are “Simply the Best”
By Joseph Zhou, Ph.D., Director of Lab Methods, NOW Foods
Quite a few of NOW customers have sent their feedback to us, commenting that they have tried many other brands of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM products and did not get satisfactory results. But they are happy with NOW products because, in their words, these products work!
Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are combination components that promote joint health. Glucosamine is a basic building block of the cartilage that cushions the joints, and chondroitin is a more complex constituent substance of that cartilage, while MSM provides plentiful amounts of the mineral sulfur to the cartilage. Studies have shown that glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM can each effectively relieve occasional pain and stiffness without the side effects of conventional analgesics. As pharmaceutical products may contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, a significant number of consumers want to try natural joint support nutrients first.
The secret of how NOW’s joint support products show high efficacy is their quality. NOW’s scientists have developed many excellent analytical methods to support product development and maintain quality control. These analytical methods are backed by rigorous science. Most of them consist of the innovative use of simple procedures, thus requiring less time and lower costs to run than standard tests. NOW’s analytical methods are recognized by AOAC International, a 120-year-old not-for-profit scientific association committed to worldwide confidence in analytical results. For example, AOAC’s Expert Review Panel (ERP) on glucosamine and chondroitin respectively selected NOW’s glucosamine and chondroitin methods as the best methods for further laboratory validation. After AOAC rigorous single laboratory validation (SLV) and collaborative study, the glucosamine method is now an AOAC Official MethodSM, designated as AOAC method 2005.01, and the method is now widely used throughout the industry. NOW’s chondroitin method is currently in the process of AOAC validation and is expected to become another AOAC official method. We are now performing the single laboratory validation of NOW’s MSM method for AOAC.
The AOAC Official Method Program is the result of a contract between the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements with AOAC International. The purpose of the contract is to provide government agencies and the dietary supplements industry with AOAC Official Methods that are applicable to commercially available dietary supplements and raw materials.
Accurate and precise analytical methods guarantee and promote good quality products. For example, NOW’s analytical method for chondroitin sulfates is an enzymatic HPLC method. Because both the specific enzyme and modern HPLC separation techniques are used, this method is extremely selective and highly accurate only to chondroitin sulfates. Each component of chondroitin sulfate being tested can actually be identified and seen on a chromatogram, which is a visual representation of the test results.
In contrast, the USP CPC (Cetyl Pyridinium Chloride) titration method for chondroitin sulfates has very poor selectivity. (In principle, all sulfated and non-sulfated glycosaminoglycans, proteins, dextran sulfate, and surfactants with suitable molecular weight as polyanion score positively in the CPC titration method.) This means that the current USP method can be ineffective in identifying pure versus adulterated materials, and the test results from this imprecise method could make poor quality or adulterated chondroitin sulfates seem to be identical to better quality material.