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Protection from glucosamine extends beyond joints

27 December, 2012

Natural Health News — Glucosamine, an over-the-counter health supplement commonly taken by older people to keep joints supple, could help them live longer, US researchers have suggested.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle set out to discover whether the supplement, and its companion compound chondroitin, could have similar protective properties to aspirin, but without the chance of developing stomach ulcers that comes with taking the latter.

They followed 77,500 adults aged 50 to 76 years old living in Washington State (US) over an 8 year period. Those who took glucosamine had an overall 18% lower mortality rate while those who took chondroitin had a 14% lower mortality compared to those who did not take these supplements.

Even taking into account factors that could skew the results, such as age, gender, whether people smoked and social class, deaths from cancer and from respiratory diseases decreased in groups taking these supplements.

Those on glucosamine were 13% less likely to die of cancer and 41% less likely to die of respiratory disease, than those who did not. Overall there was a 33% reduction in risk of death from all other causes.

The authors suggested that the anti-inflammatory effects of these medicines may have been the reason for improved mortality. Both supplements are felt to be relatively safe with few side effects.

The study was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.