Most people take the glucosamine supplement to ease the discomfort of aching joints. While a new study has found glucosamine could have a positive effect on a different sort,
A massive study of nearly half million medical records suggests that those who take this popular supplement appear to have a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions
Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans used data from UK Biobank to investigate suspicions that glucosamine might have health benefits aside from alleviating the pain of bad knees
In many countries around the world, including UK, US, and Australia, glucosamine is sold over the counter as a food item. That means authorities are confident that it will not harm you in a small enough dose, but stop short of recommending it as a form of therapy.
Not that it stops retailers from promoting it to consumers as a scientifically-supported treatment for inflammatory conditions , including osteoarthritis
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that occurs naturally in animals and fungi, forming a part of biochemical 'building' structures such as chitin
This makes glucosamine a stepping stone to other polysaccharide compounds used in construction of tissues such as cartilage. Taking this compound is supposed to help repair the worn articular cartilage in our spines ̵
It is true that research generally leads to significant improvements in the symptoms of joint degeneration and inflammation, especially if used in conjunction with another supplement called chondroitin sulfate. 19659003] But there are doubts about the quality of methodologies, especially among studies run by companies with a potential conflict of interest.
Until there is a strong consensus of a clear causal relationship between the supplement and health claims, the case for glucosamine will remain somewhat cloudy. 19659003] This new study – whose authors have declared that they have no conflict of interest – may not cast any decision on this issue when it comes to joint pain, but it adds an interesting new perspective. over 466,000 records of individuals who showed no sign of having a cardiovascular disease event. They were then quizzed on their use of supplements such as glucosamine
Over the next seven years, participants were tracked for signs of heart disease and stroke
Adjusting for factors such as smoking, body mass index, diet, and age, researchers found that one in five participants who were regular consumers of glucosamine were less likely to suffer from some kind of cardiovascular condition
Breaking it down, they were 9 percent less likely to have a stroke and 18 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. They also had a 22 percent lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease
Taking smoking into account, regularly taking glucosamine dropped the risk of cardiovascular disease for current smokers by more than a third
The research does not directly help us unravel the potential mechanisms of the additional glucosamine impact on our health. However, in the context of other research, increasing levels of glucosamine in the blood could help reduce levels of c-reactive protein, which is associated with inflammation
As usual, more research could help build a solid case. Given the fact that nearly 18 million people die of cardiovascular disease every year, the evidence that a simple supplement could make a big difference is worth it.
Meanwhile, glucosamine supplements should still be taken with the figurative grain of salt. 19659003] While they're a fairly benign supplement for most of us, there are risks for anyone using it alongside medications such as warfarin.
This research was published in The BMJ .