Your body is able to manufacture glucosamine on its own, which means it's not an essential nutrient. The chemical is the precursor to a substance called glycosaminoglycans, or GAG, which makes the cushion between your bones and joints. Although not essential, supplementation with glucosamine has been shown to help reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis, according to MedlinePlus. There are ways you can get glucosamine in your diet naturally, though it's not found in many foods.
The cartilage found at the ends of the bones of meat and poultry are a source of glucosamine. You may have a difficult time chewing the cartilage to get the benefits, however. The Jade Institute suggests you cook the bones with cartilage into a broth to help leach out some of the joint-promoting nutrients.
Shells of Shellfish
Shellfish shells are often the source of glucosamine in your supplements. Like the cartilage in meat, the shells of your shrimp, crab and lobster are difficult to eat. You may be able to make a flavorful broth out of the shells similar to the bone broth to get some glucosamine. Additionally, you can grind the shells up into a powder with a food grinder and add to soups, stews or savory baked goods such as crepes or biscuits.
As a nonessential nutrient, glucosamine is not found in high amounts in the diet, reports the Council for Responsible Nutrition. If you're not able to make a soup out of bones or grind sea shells, you may want to consider a natural supplement to help increase glucosamine intake. Due to the lack of regulation in the supplement industry, however, consult your doctor to help you find the most natural and safe supplement to use.
Glucosamine may be helpful to those with osteoarthritis, but there's not enough evidence to support its use for any other reason, including knee pain and weight loss. Additionally, you should be cautious about adding supplements or using other means to increase your intake of glucosamine if you're pregnant or nursing, have an allergy to shellfish or have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes.