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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Tulane: Glucosamine Supplements Could Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Regular use of glucosamine supplements may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease events, according to a new Tulane University study published in The BMJ.

The findings suggest that glucosamine could help prevent coronary heart disease and stroke, but further clinical trials are needed to test the theory, said lead author Dr. Lu Qi, director of the Tulane University Obesity Research Center.

“Our study for the first time provides evidence from a large prospective cohort to show that habitual glucosamine use is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Qi, HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “Considering the observational nature of the analysis, we would desire additional investigations to further validate the findings and to explore the mechanisms.”

Glucosamine is a popular dietary supplement used to relieve osteoarthritis and joint pain. While its effectiveness on joint pain continues to be debated, emerging evidence suggests that glucosamine may have a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing mortality.

The researchers found that glucosamine use was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of total cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, and a 9 percent to 22 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and CVD death compared with no use. These favorable associations remained after taking account of traditional risk factors, including age, sex, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, lifestyle, diet, medication and other supplement use.

Despite the large sample size, this is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause, and the researchers point to some limitations, such as lack of information on dose, duration and side effects of glucosamine use.