In April 2023, the National Health and Medical Commission accepted the application of N-acetylglucosamine as a new raw food ingredient. It is a functional ingredient related to bone and joint health.
Perhaps within 1-2 years, N-acetylglucosamine may be approved for use in common foods. At that time, another general will be added in the bone and joint field.
Why Pay Attention To Bone Health?
According to the “Chinese Residents’ Knee Joint Health Index,” the current prevalence of bilateral knee osteoarthritis in China is 15.6%. Among them, 7.7% are 40-49 years old, 13.4% are 50-59 years old, 25.4% are 60-69 years old, 31.7% are over 70 years old, and more than 70 million are middle-aged and elderly patients. Skeletal problems that are prone to occur in middle-aged and elderly people manifest in symptoms such as weak bones, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, back pain when climbing stairs, and muscle weakness.
The data released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that my country has the largest number of osteoporosis patients globally, reaching 160 million by the end of 2018. Relevant experts predict that the number will increase to 280 million by 2020. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease. It is a systemic bone disease characterized by low bone mass and damage to bone microstructure, resulting in increased bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture. It is also a widespread bone problem in middle-aged and elderly people.
What Ingredients Are Popular Or Potential For Bone Health?
Glucosamine Is A Basic Bone Health Raw Ingredient.
Back to the bone and joint health market, according to Euromonitor data, the sales of bone health food in China will reach RMB 12.1 billion in 2021, with a CAGR of 17%. It will continue to maintain double-digit high growth in the future, and it is expected to reach RMB 18.3 billion in 2025.
According to the online follow-up survey of overseas bone and joint dietary supplements, the main raw ingredients for building bone in this market in 2022 will still be glucosamine and calcium, each accounting for 45% of the market share.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine, known as ammonia sugar, is an amino monosaccharide extracted from shelled marine organisms. Glucosamine has been used for arthritis in Europe since the 1960s. In the mid-1990s, it became popular in the United States, and in recent years it has become popular in cross-border e-commerce channels.
Glucosamine-related products’ market size
In 2022, the online sales of dietary supplements containing glucosamine will reach RMB 378 million. Its leading brands are as follows.
Glucosamine is mainly used in medicine and health food in China. In 2019, the relevant policies formulated by the National Health Commission recommended chondroprotective agents containing glucosamine hydrochloride (sulfuric acid), chondroitin sulfate, and other ingredients, which consolidated the identity of glucosamine in the field of bone health.
Most registered health food products related to bone health contain glucosamine, which consumers highly recognize, and its market share in the health food market is gradually increasing.
N-Acetyl Glucosamine Will Be A Bone Health Potential Raw Ingredient.
As mentioned above, the raw material N-Acetylglucosamine recently accepted by the National Health Commission, or NAG for short, is an Amide derivative of Glucose. Monosaccharides formed by linear polymerization through (1,4)-β-bonds are the basic units of many important polysaccharides in biological cells.
N-Acetylglucosamine is primarily distributed in milk and shells (chitin) of crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs in nature. The human body is distributed in the whole body’s skin, articular cartilage, and intestinal mucus. It is a constituent of hyaluronic acid in the dermis and is the second-largest carbohydrate after cellulose. It is present in large amounts in breast milk.
NAG is a component of glycoprotein, proteoglycan, GAG, and other connective tissues. It is an excellent substrate for synthesizing hyaluronic acid and stimulates collagen synthesis in body cells. As a monomeric sugar of chitin, NAG has many functions in medicine and health food. It is an important component in the health field and has an extensive application prospect in food.
In December 2022, the China Bio-Fermentation Industry Association approved the release of several group standards, such as “N-acetylglucosamine (fermentation method)” and “glucosamine salt (fermentation method).”
Looking at the global NAG regulations, Japan has approved using NAG as a food additive sweetener, and the US FDA has approved NAG as a dietary supplement. Most of the NAG products related to cross-border e-commerce on online platforms are ordinary supplement products.
N-Acetyl Glucosamine vs Glucosamine
First of all, the manufacturing process of NAG and Glucosamine is different.
From the perspective of production, N-acetylglucosamine is the precursor of ammonia sugar.
N-Acetylglucosamine Ferment uses Glucose as the main raw material. Converted to N-Acetylglucosamine by microbial fermentation, then N-Acetylglucosamine was obtained through refining.
Glucosamine (fermentation method) uses Glucose as the main raw material, converted into N-acetylglucosamine by microbial fermentation, and is a glucosamine salt obtained by deacetylation and refining processes.
Glucosamine is the product of the deacetylation of N-Acetylglucosamine.
Secondly, the application and efficacy of NAG and Glucosamine are also different.
Presently, about 295 registered health foods related to glucosamine, most of which enhance immunity and increase bone density. There are only two types of N-Acetylglucosamine registered health food, and their functions are anti-oxidation and immune regulation.
It can be seen that the industry’s recognition of glucosamine’s efficacy in bone health is higher. N-Acetylglucosamine still needs more in-depth research in bone health, and its market and application development have a lot of room for development.
Of course, N-Acetylglucosamine differs from glucosamine in terms of stability, utilization rate, and body absorption rate. Each has its unique advantages, and the specific application depends on the needs of the product.
2 New Raw Ingredients Related To Bone Health Are Worth Noticing.
According to research at home and abroad, new functional raw supplements ingredients, such as turmeric and cetyl fatty acids, contribute to bone health.
Turmeric is the dry rhizome of turmeric, a plant in the ginger family, and its main active ingredients are curcumin and volatile oil. In recent years, many studies have confirmed the potential of curcumin in sports performance and post-exercise recovery, adding another bone health ingredient. Domestic curcumin is only used as a food additive in my country and cannot be used as a functional raw material for bone health. The domestic market mainly has related products through cross-border e-commerce.
For example, the German brand Medicom® curcumin uses piperine technology to improve bioavailability, especially for the joint health of middle-aged and elderly people.
Cetyl fatty acid CFA
Cetyl fatty acid, or cetyl myristoleate, is a group of natural fatty acids. Cetyl fatty acid can regulate the body’s immune system, correct the wrong instructions of T cells (memory lymphocytes) to macrophages, help solve human arthritis, block the pathogenesis of arthritis, help the generation and balance of joint lubricating fluid, and lubricate Joints, relieve and reduce pain, improve flexibility.
The Italian company Pharmanutra SpA’s cetyl fatty acid product has been successfully approved as a new resource food in the EU, and it can be used as a food supplement for adults.
The release of the European Union’s regulations on cetyl fatty acid as a new food resource may provide a new direction for the bone health market with homogeneous products.
Currently, on the online channel, the joint health products of the American brand CATALO, whose main ingredient is a combination of cetacean fatty acids, are mainly aimed at people with severe joint degeneration.
At present, bone and joint health is no longer the exclusive pain point of the elderly. There are hidden or explicit bone and joint health problems from women to young people. The market obviously needs more bone and joint health products focusing on subdivided, professional, and individual needs.
In the bone and joint products on the market, there are only a few mainstream health ingredients, such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, calcium, and vitamin products. At present, the products have the problems of conservative dosage forms, monotonous segmentation dimensions of the population, and homogeneity of functional raw materials. Therefore, enterprises need to promote the diversification of products and design different products for different segments of people from the dimensions of formula matching, dosage form, experience, and effect. The refinement of bone and joint health is imperative.
In order to support more and more brands launching bone health products with different ingredients in the market, Nutri Avenue is ready. As a raw ingredients supplier, we offer various bone health ingredients, whether familiar to people or potential. Please get in touch with Nutri Avenue to help you and your products get high-quality raw ingredients for building bone.