About Proteoglycan

“Proteo” refers to protein; “Glycan” refers to polysaccharides; Proteoglycan is one of the “glycoprotein” in the sugar and protein complex.

It has excellent moisture retention property, keeps firmness and elasticity of the skin, and includes a buffering effect in the cartilage which helps in joint movements. A precursor is glucosamine.


Proteoglycans are extracts from the salmon's nasal cartilage and are used as ingredient in cosmetics and health foods.

Considering the entire circumstance of salmon consumption, salmon heads are discarded in the manufacturing process of marine products; this imposes a demand for more efficient utilization of resources. 

Consequently, Kakuhiro Company and Hirosaki University collaborated to develop and establish techniques of extracting large quantity and high purity proteoglycans from salmon nasal cartilage. Until then, very small quantity of proteoglycans are extracted from tracheal cartilage of cattle.

There are high expectations for proteoglycan as medical substance and raw material for cosmetics. However, it was a very expensive substance costing 30 million yen per gram when extracted from the tracheal cartilage of cattle. Furthermore, the issue of mad-cow disease problem has become a negative element in this raw material.

To address this problem, an extraction technology of proteoglycans from the nasal cartilage of salmons was made possible to supply proteoglycans at a cost of less than 300,000 yen per gram, opening the road for its use in health care related fields.

And with even more reduction in its cost, it has come to be utilized also incosmetics.

In Ainu language*, salmon is called “kamuichieibu”; kamui” meaning God; and “chieibu” meaning fish. Salmon was believed to be, the fish bestowed by God.

Since ancient times it was believed in Japan that salmon “has a hidden power”. The nasal cartilage in the salmon’s head was said to be the jewel of the sea.

 *Ainu is the language spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Salmon Nasal Cartilage