Glucosamine Supplementation Safe for Diabetics and Extends Lifespan in Longevity Studies
Source: J Arch Rheumatology (2016) and J Nature (2014)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 14, 2023)
In recent years some of patients and friends have walked into pharmacies and asked the pharmacist if its okay to take a glucosamine supplement for their arthritis if you have type 2 diabetes. In almost every case the pharmacist consulted their reference book and told the individual that glucosamine supplementation raises blood sugar levels and should not be taken by diabetics. Well, this is clearly wrong and outdated information. As reviewed in the journal Archives of Rheumatology in 2016, these researchers cited research showing that in 33 recent studies there was no evidence that glucosamine supplementation raises blood sugar levels, even in overweight subjects. Further, they cited other studies showing that glucosamine supplementation did not adversely affect blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. In addition, these researchers performed a double-blind glucose tolerance test on forty patients, who had osteoarthritis; half the patients ingested 1500 mg per day of glucosamine sulfate and the other half took the placebo.
The results showed that glucosamine supplementation did not raise blood sugar levels compared to the placebo. This is important because many type 2 diabetic patients are often overweight, which speeds up cartilage degeneration in weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips. In these cases, glucosamine sulfate supplementation can be used to relieve arthritic pain and to slow or halt further cartilage destruction that often leads pain and suffering, as well as the possible need for knee or hip replacement surgery. There are no drugs that can slow cartilage degeneration in our joints, only glucosamine sulfate supplementation has ever been shown to do this.
In a 2014 study, researchers also showed that glucosamine administered to round worms extended their lifespans by lowering glucose release and by stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis, as typically occurs with intermittent fasting or calorie-restriction. It also extended the lifespan of aging mice compared to mice not given the glucosamine supplement. Many of the longevity studies researchers cite are done on round worms, fruit flies, mice and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which have provided a great deal of insight into strategies humans can use to extend years of functional living and prevent age-related diseases. In fact, most of the revelations as to how our longevity Sirtuin genes functions were first identified in round worms, fruit flies, mice, and yeast. All the evidence points to the fact that glucosamine supplementation can help to prevent cartilage erosion linked to aging and arthritic changes, but it can also turn on key genes and mechanisms within our cells linked to longevity and disease prevention on many levels. In previous Lifestyle Update Medicine Videos, I have outlined the human studies showing that people using glucosamine have lower rates of certain cancers and heart disease.
I personal use and recommend a glucosamine sulfate supplement that also contains three natural anti-inflammatory agents (Quercetin, Bromelain and MSM), which makes it a faster-acting glucosamine supplement. I believe that everyone over forty years old should take a low-dose version of this supplement (one capsules per day, compared to 3 capsules for those with arthritis) to help prevent age-related cartilage erosion, as our body begins to make less glucosamine after the age of 40.I have included the 2014 and 2016 studies, showing that glucosamine is safe and effective to take even for diabetic and overweight patients and that experimental studies show how glucosamine switches on the longevity circuit within the cells of nematodes (round worms) and aging mice.
SAGHAFI M et al. Oral glucosamine effect on blood glucose and insulin levels in patients with non-diabetic osteoarthritis: A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arch Rheumatol. 2016;31(4): 340-345 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6190977/#:~:text=Other%20studies(22%2D25),glycemic%20control%20in%20diabetic%20patients
Weimer S et al. D-glucosamine and supplementation extends life span of nematodes and aging mice. Nature. 2014. Article No. 3563 https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms4563
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.