Life Extension Magazine®
Meditating woman supplementing with gludosamine for longevity

In the News: Glucosamine Supplementation

Reducing salt supports immune function; glucosamine linked to lower mortality; magnesium lowers heart failure risk; metformin improves post-surgery survival among diabetics.

Glucosamine Supplementation Linked to Lower Mortality Risk

Woman practicing yoga pose

There was a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, digestive diseases, or any cause, among individuals who supplemented with glucosamine, in comparison with those who didn’t, a study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found.*

Researchers looked at 495,077 participants enrolled in the UK Biobank study. During a median of 8.9 years, 19,882 deaths occurred, which included 3,802 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 8,090 from cancer, 3,380 from respiratory disease and 1,061 from digestive disease.

Regular use of glucosamine supplements was reported by 19.1% of the participants at baseline.

Those individuals who regularly supplemented with glucosamine, compared to those who didn’t, had:

  • 27% lower risk of death from respiratory disease,
  • 26% lower risk of dying from digestive disease,
  • 18% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease,
  • 6% lower risk of dying from cancer, and
  • 15% lower risk of death from any cause.

Editor’s Note: Glucosamine is a nutritional supplement used in the management of arthritis and joint pain. These newly identified benefits are being studied now to ascertain if supplementing with 500-1500 mg a day of glucosamine might be an effective way to reduce the risk of age-related disorders and all-cause mortality.

* Ann Rheum Dis. 2020 Jun;79(6):829-836.

Eating Less Salt Helps Support Healthy Immune Function

Man reaching for salt shaker

One simple way to help maintain healthy immune function is to lower salt intake, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine.*

Researchers studied the effects of a high-salt diet in mice and humans. Mice infected with listeria that received a high-salt diet had 100 to 1,000 times more of the bacteria in their spleens and livers than animals that consumed normal diets.

In humans who consumed an extra six grams of salt per day, immune cells in the blood known as granulocytes were less effective against bacteria, and levels of glucocorticoids increased.

When a high amount of salt is consumed, it is filtered by the kidneys, whose sodium chloride sensor activates salt excretion in the urine. This sensor is also responsible for the accumulation of glucocorticoids that inhibit the function of granulocytes that primarily attack bacteria. When granulocyte function is impaired, infections are more severe.

Editor’s Note: Additionally, according to the World Health Organization, “Salt intake of less than five grams per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart attack.

* Sci Transl Med. 2020 Mar 25;12(536).

Reduced Heart Failure with Higher Magnesium Intake

Woman having blood pressure taken

Research findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association show a lower risk of heart failure among participants in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) who had a greater intake of magnesium, compared to those whose intake was low.*

The study evaluated data from 97,725 postmenopausal women who were free of heart failure on enrollment. Questionnaires completed by the participants after enrolling were evaluated for magnesium intake from food and supplements. During a median follow-up period of 8.1 years, 2,153 hospitalizations for heart failure occurred.

Compared to the top 25% of magnesium consumers, who ingested an average of 461 mg per day, women whose intake was among the lowest 25% at 207.5 mg per day had a 26% greater adjusted risk of heart failure.

When magnesium from food alone was analyzed, the risk of heart failure for those consuming the least amount was 32% higher than the group with the greatest consumption.

Editor’s Note: “Women represent a large proportion of the growing heart failure epidemic, yet data are lacking regarding optimal dietary and lifestyle prevention strategies for them,” the authors stated.

* J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Apr 7;9(7):e013570.

Metformin Use Associated with Improved Postoperative Survival Among Diabetics

Woman being wheeled out of operative

A lower risk of readmission or mortality following surgery was found among patients who were using the antidiabetic prescription medication metformin, research reported in JAMA Surgery revealed.*

The study included 10,088 diabetics who were hospitalized for major surgery between January 2010 and January 2016. There were 5,962 individuals who had a prescription for metformin during 180 days prior to their surgery, who were matched with 5,460 people who did not have a prescription.

Having a prescription for metformin was associated with a 28% lower 90-day postoperative mortality risk compared to the risk experienced by those who were not using the drug.

Metformin was also associated with a lower 30-day and 90-day postoperative risk of readmission, indicating fewer postoperative complications.

It was further determined that metformin was associated with a 22% increase in five-year survival in comparison with not having been prescribed the drug.

Editor’s Note: Preoperative inflammation, as determined by the ratio of white blood cells known as neutrophils to leukocytes, was significantly lower among metformin-treated patients, which may be one mechanism through which the drug confers its protective effects.

* JAMA Surg. 2020 Apr 8;155(6):e200416.