According to the UK Biobank study, regular use of glucosamine supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. The study was published in The BMJ.
The results suggested that glucosamine might help prevent CVD events, including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. However, researchers said further clinical studies are needed.
Glucosamine is one of the popular dietary supplements used to relieve joint pain and osteoarthritis. Although the efficacy of glucosamine on joint pain is an ongoing debate, there has been emerging evidence suggesting that glucosamine may play a pivotal role in preventing cardiovascular disease and ultimately reducing the mortality rate. However, there is no conclusive evidence yet.
To understand and explore these potential associations, a team of researchers led by Professor Lu Qi at Tulane University, New Orleans, looked at data from the UK Biobank, a large population-based study that included over half a million British men and women.
The study included an analysis of more than 466,000 participants without CVD. They completed a questionnaire on their supplement use, including glucosamine. The investigators took traditional risk factors into consideration, such as age, sex, weight, BMI, diet, ethnicity, lifestyle, and medication.
The researchers analyzed the death certificates and hospital records to monitor CVD events, including CHD, stroke, and CVD death. They found that approximately one in five participants reported glucosamine use at the start of the study.
The team also found that glucosamine use reduced the risk of total CVD events by 15% and CHD, stroke, and CVD death by 9% to 12%.
The investigators have also found that the association between glucosamine supplement use and CHD was stronger in current smokers.
The authors said there could be several mechanisms explaining these results. For instance, regular glucosamine use has been linked to reducingC-reactive protein (CRP), a chemical that causesinflammation.
In spite of the large population-based study, it was an observational studyso it cannot establish the exact cause. At the same time, the researchers have pointed out a few limitations, such as the information on dose, duration of use, and adverse effects of glucosamine.
The researchers concluded, “Habitual use of glucosamine supplements to relieve osteoarthritis pain might also be related to lower risks of CVD events. Further clinical trials are warranted to test this hypothesis.”