Glucosamine Use Correlates with a Sizable Reduction in Mortality, but Not Yet Convincingly

Researchers here note a study population in which glucosamine use correlates with a reduction in mortality risk that is of a similar size to that associated with exercise. One always has the suspicion that, even after controlling for such things, the use of less common supplements is just a marker for the small number of people who really care about their health, and who are putting in more effort across the board to maintain themselves. To become convinced that this is not the case, many studies producing similar results would have to exist, with many more participants taking glucosamine.

Consider the level of evidence for exercise to be similarly beneficial: dozens of studies, and hundreds of thousands of participants. Currently there are only a few such studies for glucosamine, and the one here is much less convincing than the other example published earlier this year, in which there were many more participants taking glucoseamine.

If we are to speculate on why glucosamine might have any sizable beneficial effect on health and mortality, then the first mechanism to consider is some form of reduction in the chronic inflammation that accompanies aging. Continual, unresolved inflammation is very disruptive to tissue function, and drives the onset and progression of all of the common age-related conditions. Glucosamine is used in connection with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, but the evidence is very mixed for it to have any meaningful benefit there. This is another reason to be skeptical. If there were a sizable, reliable reduction in inflammation accompanying the supplementation of glucosamine, then it would show up in that data. And it doesn't.

Glucosamine supplements may reduce overall mortality about as well as regular exercise does, according to a new epidemiological study. Researchers assessed data from 16,686 adults who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010. All of the participants were at least 40 years old. Researchers merged this data with 2015 mortality figures. After controlling for various factors - such as participants' age, sex, smoking status and activity level - the researchers found that taking glucosamine/chondroitin every day for a year or longer was associated with a 39 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. It was also linked to a 65 percent reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths. That's a category that includes deaths from stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart disease, the United States' biggest killer.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Mortality in a US NHANES Cohort

Limited previous studies in the United Kingdom or a single US state have demonstrated an association between intake of glucosamine/chondroitin and mortality. This study sought to investigate the association between regular consumption of glucosamine/chondroitin and overall and cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in a national sample of US adults. Combined data from 16,686 participants in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 to 2010, merged with the 2015 Public-use Linked Mortality File. Cox proportional hazards models were conducted for both CVD and all-cause mortality.

In the study sample, there were 658 (3.94%) participants who had been taking glucosamine/chondroitin for a year or longer. During followup (median, 107 months), there were 3366 total deaths (20.17%); 674 (20.02%) were due to CVD. Respondents taking glucosamine/chondroitin were less likely to have CVD mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.51). After controlling for age, use was associated with a 39% reduction in all-cause (HR = 0.61) and 65% reduction (HR = 0.35) in CVD mortality. Multivariable-adjusted HR showed that the association was maintained after adjustment for age, sex, race, education, smoking status, and physical activity (all-cause mortality, HR = 0.73; CVD mortality, HR = 0.42).


i think this study is very interesting and seeing that glucosamine is dirt cheap and obtainable anywhere, its something to consider using. i am and have been taking it for a few years seeing as there is other studies that show simular results and has even increased longevity in both mice and worms.

Posted by: scott emptage at December 9th, 2020 4:18 PM

Perhaps a better solution to aging is using CRISPR to alter genes associated with aging. University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found that the expression of GATA6, a protein that plays an important role in gut, lung and heart development, was repressed in the reprogrammed cells compared to the control cells. This repression led to an increase in the activity of a protein essential to embryonic development called sonic hedgehog (SHH) as well as the expression level of yet another protein, FOXP1, necessary for proper development of the brain, heart and lung. "Thus, we identified the GATA6/SHH/FOXP1 pathway as a key mechanism that regulates MSC aging and rejuvenation," Dr. Li said.

Posted by: Tj Green at December 10th, 2020 4:02 AM

This paper studied glucosamine/chondroitin. What is chondroitin ? Why the article title only cite glucosammine ?
I'm male 57yo. I started to take glucosamine 1 year ago after reading another article like this. No notable effect.

Posted by: Marco S at December 10th, 2020 5:35 AM

All the supplements we take to modestly tame aging inflammation. Some would argue to simply take LDN, Low dose naltrexone, for better results without a lot of supplements.

Posted by: august33 at December 10th, 2020 8:32 AM

Reason and others seem to think that the reason glucosamine extends life is something to do with inflammation. I have kept this little snippet of text that was from an interview of Dr. Michael Ristow.
I am pretty sure I posted this here at least once before. He seems to think it is because it helps our mitochondria:

Glucosamine: The new metformin? | Interview with Dr. Michael Ristow (part ii)
"Back in 2007 when we showed that increased ROS extends lifespan in C. elegans, we used a compound that completely blocks glucose metabolism, deoxyglucose. Since the cell can't metabolize glucose anymore, it enters an energy deficit similar to starvation, and responds by switching on its mitochondria. It turned out to be toxic in mice. Then a student in my lab said, "Why don't we use glucosamine?" Glucosamine only slightly inhibits glucose metabolism (glycolysis), and it's known to be completely harmless to humans. It's like the cell being on a diet: it still activates its mitochondria, still produces a bit more ROS, but not to the excessive level that it would with deoxyglucose. We took two year old mice, which is equivalent to something like 55 or 60 in humans, and gave them glucosamine, which caused both males and females to live longer. The effect was stronger in females, but it was independently detectable in both sexes."
Ever since then I have been taking a gram a day with no noticeable effects. Just hopeful for life extension.

Posted by: Dean at December 17th, 2020 3:44 PM
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