is glucosamine sustainable?

If your best friend has four legs, then you’ve probably seen this ingredient in every joint supplement available in the market.   Glucosamine has been a key ingredient in US joint care supplements for over two decades. Today, import volumes total between 7,000 and 10,000 tons per year for human and animal supplement usage. 

Most of this glucosamine is manufactured from the residue of Asian shellfish production. However this traditional source creates a number of significant health and environmental problems.

a common allergen for dogs

Glucosamine sourced from chitin,  a main compound found in the shells of shrimp, crab, and lobster, one of the most common allergens for humans and yes, dogs!  Some of the allergic reactions seen among dogs are upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, skin reactions, or allergic shocks.

destruction of our oceans

But that’s not all, the shellfish used for Glucosamine mostly comes from shrimp, which is one of the most unsustainable fisheries in the planet.  Shrimp is caught by trawling, a form of fishing that drags a giant net through the bottom of the ocean, taking with it entire ecosystems.  From catching an outrageously high amount of bycatch, or non-target species (such as turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, non-commercial fish, etc…), as well as coral reefs.  Trawl nets in general, and shrimp trawls in particular, have been identified as sources of mortality for cetacean and finfish species. When bycatch is returned to the sea, it is often dead or dying.

environmental problems of glucosamine

Let’s get more specific though, to produce 1 metric tonne of glucosamine HCI, the conventional supplier would need 2,000 kg of chitin, 5,000 kg of sodium hydroxide (also known as lye), and 17,000 kg of 30% HCI.

During this process of obtaining the chitin from the shellfish, up to 460 metric tonnes of wastewater is generated, contributing to extreme water pollution caused by the widespread use of toxic pesticides and veterinary drugs mixed into fish feeds, in addition to creating high levels of toxic waste materials.  

The production of glucosamine is energy intensive, at a time when electrical generation is still largely dependent on fossil fuels.  It’s also inefficient, harmful to the planet and most critically, will not be sustainable. Manufacturing glucosamine from shellfish creates 5.5 times its weight in solid waste and 455 MT of wastewater.

the sustainable alternative

At Mokai, we use a unique Glucosamine that is just as effective as conventional glucosamine but it’s allergen-free and sustainable!  Our plant-based glucosamine outputs the exact same material as shellfish derived glucosamine but from non-GMO corn, using a unique fermentation process.  

better in every way

saves water

Shellfish glucosamine manufacturing requires 480 – 500 metric tons of clean water to make 1 metric ton of glucosamine HCI. Mokai’s glucosamine only requires 2 metric tons of clean water to produce the same amount of glucosamine, 99.9% less water! 

reduces solid waste

Producing 1 metric ton of traditional shellfish glucosamine requires 30 – 40 metric tons of shellfish shells, and creates 5 – 6 metric tons of solid waste requiring landfill. Mokai’s glucosamine is shellfish free and produces significantly less solid waste. Only 2% of waste compared to shellfish glucosamine

produces less harmful gases

Mokai’s glucosamine requires significantly less hazardous chemicals, reducing the air pollution created in producing these chemicals that go into making shellfish-derived glucosamine.

join our community

Get exclusive offers, updates, and pet health tips.

Free U.S. shipping

Free U.S. shipping on orders $50+