We know glucosamine is one of the top supplements for supporting joint health. Studies have shown that, in addition to relieving joint pain, glucosamine protects and improves joint structure, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. This makes it effective in combating the effects of arthritis, osteoarthritis and other problems of the musculoskeletal system. (1,2)
Glucosamine’s greatest contribution to joint health is that it generates both a type of cushioning and a lubricating substance which make movement easier, helping joints to work better. Like a well-oiled machine, glucosamine helps the joints and ligaments glide better, strengthens the bones and muscles, and softens the cartilages. Combined, this helps us move easier and with less pain, even as our bodies age. (3)
As with other supplements and natural products, glucosamine provides other benefits as well. For example, it:
But we already knew all that. The real surprise was provided by a new study which, despite being very small and requiring more research to be considered an irrefutable fact, is very promising.
Research conducted by the Department of Family Medicine at West Virginia University was recently released, demonstrating the role that glucosamine potentially plays in reducing general mortality, but especially mortality linked to cardiovascular diseases (6).
The research analyzed data from 16,686 adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010, combined with mortality data from 2015. According to conclusions reached during participant follow-up, those who took glucosamine/chondroitin daily for at least one year were 39% less likely to die from all causes. However, in the case of cardiovascular disease, the data was even more striking showing a reduced mortality risk of up to 65%.
While it is true that this epidemiological study is far limited, and only includes people from one state in the United States, there has been a similar study conducted in England with similar results. Therefore, researchers have suggested undertaking further clinical research to confirm the relationship between glucosamine and reduced mortality risk.
These encouraging results may also be linked to other research showing that glucosamine, by helping to improve mobility while decreasing joint pain and inflammation, increases quality of life. This undoubtedly improves chances of leading a more active and healthy life. (7)
Of course, until there is official confirmation, we cannot say glucosamine’s effect on mortality. Even once it is confirmed, it would still not be the ‘magical’ pill to maximize health and much less a replacement for physical activity. However, it does confirm our conviction that following the proper habits, the right diet, monitoring our health under the supervision of a professional and consuming appropriate supplements can improve our quality of life. We will follow that motto while science does its thing to show us the healthy route to follow.
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