Glucosamine is more than a supplement that protects joints from wear and tear. There is more evidence that this substance is an anti-aging supplement with broad health benefits.
For example, the most recent information is an epidemiological study that researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans published in BMJ. This study suggests that glucosamine may reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.
What is It?
It is a special substance that helps restore cartilage, joints, and ligaments.
Painful sensations in the joints bother many people, especially with age. At the same time, mobility can be significantly limited because each movement responds with pain.
Glucosamine is a natural component of joint tissue. It is a special substance that promotes the restoration of joints, cartilage, and ligaments.
What are The Benefits?
- This supplement plays the role of building material for joints, in particular cartilage tissue.
- It promotes the formation of full-fledged elastic and resilient cartilage of the joints, prevents the development of inflammation in the joints’ tissues.
- It enhances joint fluid formation – a viscoelastic fluid that fills the joint, which facilitates the sliding of the joint surfaces relative to each other.
An adequate supply of glucosamine is especially important for older people since the formation of components of articular tissues in adults is slower, and damage to articular tissues, as a rule, occurs more easily, especially with excessive and inadequate loads.
The use of glucosamine, especially in combination with chondroitin, increases the resistance of cartilage to damage, supports the regeneration of joint tissues, suppresses inflammation in the joints, and reduces osteoarthritis symptoms.
Therefore, it is very important to obtain this building material from chondroprotective preparations constantly.
What are The Sources?
It can be of both animal and plant origin. The highest concentration of this substance is found in nature in chitin – the basis of shells of mollusks and crustaceans.
The shells of shrimp, krill, and crabs are valuable raw materials for the production of glucosamine.
Also, a high concentration of it is found in corn husks, mushrooms, from which glucosamine can also be obtained.
Glucosamine is found in many foods and can also be chemically synthesized.
The daily requirement for glucosamine for an adult is at least 700 mg/day. Therefore, to obtain a sufficient amount of this supplement, it is often necessary to consume it additionally in the form of chondroprotective preparations or biologically active food supplements.
Dosage Forms of the Preparation
It can be used in the following forms:
- Gelatin capsules. They are a modern form of release, which provides ease of intake and complete absorption of the substance since the capsule shell quickly dissolves in the gastrointestinal tract, and glucosamine is easily absorbed.
- Pills. They are glucosamine compressed with various fillers.
- Powder for oral administration. Before use, it is diluted in liquid.
- Injection. There are preparations of this supplement for intramuscular administration that can only be prescribed for use by the attending physician.
Study of the Relationship of Glucosamine Use With Chronic Diseases
In 2012, Australian health scientists published a study in PLoS One in which they tracked glucosamine use among 266,848 people over the age of 45.
This study showed  that glucosamine was especially in vogue in people with worn joints – 58 630 (22.0%) participants.
The study also found that glucosamine users were less prone to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Of all the health conditions examined, the only osteoarthritis was positively associated with glucosamine use, while cancer, heart attack or angina pectoris and other heart diseases were negatively associated with glucosamine use.
“Glucosamine use is inversely associated with the risk of heart attack or angina (odds ratio 0.79, 95% CI 0.73-0.86) and other heart diseases (0.82, 0.76-0.89). “
In the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study  also from 2012, the use of glucosamine was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality by 18%.
Does Glucosamine Protect Against These Diseases?
Restricting themselves to cardiovascular disease, the New Orleans researchers tried to answer this question.
To do this, they used data from almost half a million Britons, which were collected in the course of the Biobank study.
The British Biobank is the UK’s national health resource dedicated to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of diseases and promoting health throughout society.
Data collection began in the period 2006-2010, and researchers were able to trace study participants to 2016.
When the study began, the study participants did not suffer from cardiovascular disease.
Glucosamine Effects Study Results
Study participants who used this supplement were about 15% less likely to have cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 20% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who did not use glucosamine.
“Over a seven-year median follow-up, there were 10,204 CVD cases, 3060 CVD deaths, 5745 coronary heart disease cases, and 3263 stroke cases.
After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, race, lifestyle factors, dietary preferences, drug, and other supplementation use, glucosamine use was associated with a significantly lower risk of general CVD events (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI 0.80-0.90 ), death from CVD (0.78, 0.70-0.87), coronary heart disease (0.82, 0.76-0.88) and stroke (0.91, 0.83-1.00).”
Strikingly, the protective effect of glucosamine was greater in smokers than in non-smokers, but not in people who used anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.
Because smoking causes inflammation, and drugs like aspirin actually suppress inflammation, Americans suspect that glucosamine protects against heart disease by reducing inflammation.
Researchers suspect there is a link between the anti-inflammatory effects of this supplement and the findings of a 2014 study by Michael Ristow.
Ristow found that glucosamine mimics the effects of a low-carb diet, thereby extending the lifespan of laboratory animals.
We found that glucosamine inhibits glycolysis, thereby causing energy deficits that induce mitochondrial biogenesis and alternative fuel use, namely amino acid oxidation.
“This is accompanied by an increase in lifespan in both C. Elegans (laboratory worms) and aging mice, the latter also showing improved glucose metabolism. These findings imply that glucosamine supplementation may be a versatile approach to slowing aging in humans.”
“The habitual use of this supplement to relieve osteoarthritis pain may also be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” the researchers concluded.
“Further clinical trials are needed to test this hypothesis.”
It Reduces the Risk of Premature Death
More recently, another study was published in which epidemiologists monitored supplement users and those who did not use them and found that the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin significantly reduced the risk of premature death.
The authors of this study are Dana King and Jun Xiang from West Virginia University.
How Glucosamine Chondroitin Affects Life Expectancy
Glucosamine with Chondroitin is a widely used combination supplement used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain.
Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring compounds found in cartilage.
Several large clinical trials compared glucosamine/chondroitin with placebo or celecoxib but did not show significant improvement in arthritis pain, although glucosamine/ chondroitin did not show long-term safety concerns.
However, two recent large cohort studies, one in Washington state and one in the United Kingdom, found somewhat unexpected positive effects on a different outcome, long-term mortality. [4,5]
In a new study, Dana King and Jun Xiang sought to investigate the association of daily glucosamine/chondroitin intake with cardiovascular and overall mortality in a large American cohort.
The researchers used data from 16,686 Americans who participated in the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Six hundred eighty-five of them regularly used glucosamine and/or chondroitin.
Over the period that scientists could track study participants, a total of 20% of those observed died.
The main cause of death was cardiovascular disease. Of every five study participants who died, one died from cardiovascular disease. Age was the main predictor of mortality.
When researchers brushed off this factor and all other factors using statistical methods, they found that taking glucosamine or chondroitin reduced the risk of dying from all possible causes of death by 27%.
Even more convincing was the effect of glucosamine or chondroitin on cardiovascular mortality. It decreased by 58%.
The Positive Effect of Taking Glucosamine / Chondroitin
“Regular intake of glucosamine/chondroitin appears to be significantly associated with lower overall and cardiovascular mortality, and these findings are consistent with previous studies in other populations,” King and Xiang write.
“Given the strength of the association, 27% less chance of overall mortality and 58% less chance of cardiovascular death, prospective studies may be warranted.”
- Association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of cardiovascular disease: a prospective study in UK Biobank. Hao Ma, Xiang Li, Dianjianyi Sun, Tao Zhou, Sylvia H Ley, Jeanette Gustat, Yoriko Heianza, Lu Qi. BMJ 2019; 365 DOI: https: //doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1 … (Published 14 May 2019).
- Who uses glucosamine and why? A study of 266,848 Australians aged 45 years and older. Sibbritt D, Adams J, Lui CW, Broom A, Wardle J. PLoS One. 2012; 7 (7): e41540.
- Use of glucosamine and chondroitin in relation to mortality. Bell GA, Kantor ED, Lampe JW, Shen DD, White E .. Eur J Epidemiol2012; 27: 593 – 603.
- Ma H, Li X, Sun D, Zhou T, Ley SH, Gustat J, et al. Association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of cardiovascular disease: a prospective study in UK Biobank. BMJ 2019; 365: l1628.
- Bell GA, Kantor ED, Lampe JW, Shen DD, White E. Use of glucosamine and chondroitin in relation to mortality. Eur J Epidemiol 2012; 27: 593-603.
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