Glucosamine protects against deadly heart attacks
Glucosamine is more than a supplement that protects joints from wear and tear. There are also increasing indications that glucosamine is an anti-aging supplement with a broad health-promoting effect. The most recent clue is an epidemiological study that researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans published in BMJ. This research suggests that glucosamine can reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.
In 2012, Australian health scientists published a study in PLoS One in which they charted the use of glucosamine among 266,848 people over 45. [PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41540.] This study showed that glucosamine was especially in vogue in people with worn joints. That is hardly surprising.
The research also showed that glucosamine users were less likely to have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. And that is remarkable. Does glucosamine protect against those diseases?
Restricting themselves to cardiovascular disease, the New Orleans researchers tried to answer that question. For this, they used the data from almost a half-million Britons, who had been collected in the Biobank study. The data collection began in the 2006-2010 period, and the researchers were able to follow the study participants until 2016.
When the research started, the study participants were free of cardiovascular diseases.
The study participants who used glucosamine were about 15 percent less likely to get a cardiovascular disease, and a good 20 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular disease than those who did not use glucosamine.
It was striking that the protective effect of glucosamine was greater in smokers than in non-smokers, but was absent in people who used anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Because smoking drives inflammation, and drugs like aspirin actually inhibit inflammation, Americans suspect that glucosamine protects against cardiovascular disease through reducing inflammation.
The researchers suspect that there is a link between the anti-inflammatory effect of glucosamine and the research results of Michael Ristow from 2014. Ristow discovered that glucosamine imitates the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet, thus extending the lifespan of laboratory animals.
"Habitual use of glucosamine supplement to relieve osteoarthritis pain might also be related to lower risks of cardiovascular disease events", summarize the researchers. "Further clinical trials are needed to test this hypothesis."
BMJ. 2019 May 14;365:l1628.
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