Glucosamine supplements may increase diabetes risk

Glucosamine supplements have become a popular option for individuals with arthritis and other conditions who are looking to improve their joint health. However, the findings of a new study indicate that prolonged exposure to this amino acid may kill pancreatic cells and increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Writing in the Journal of Endocrinology, researchers from Laval University said that many glucosamine users take more than the recommended daily dose, hoping to increase the effects. However, this may rapidly accelerate the death of pancreatic cells.

Frederic Picard and his team of investigators observed that large amounts of glucosamine lower the body's levels of SIRT1, a protein that is critical to cell survival. This can lead to the death of pancreatic cells, reduce the body's ability to produce insulin and increase the chances of developing diabetes.

"The key point of our work is that glucosamine can have effects that are far from harmless and should be used with great caution," said Picard.

He added that SIRT1 levels often naturally decrease in seniors, the age group to whom glucosamine supplements are primarily marketed. Taking supplements may double the loss of the protein.
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