Life Extension Magazine®

Scientist analyzing blood cells

In the News: Glucosamine Associated with Reduced Risk of Cancer Mortality

Glucosamine lowers cancer mortality risk; whey improves glucose control; higher BMI diminishes response to vitamin D; higher omega-3 levels reduce kidney disease risk.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in June 2023. Written by: Life Extension Staff.

Glucosamine Associated with Reduced Risk of Cancer Mortality

Men and women who took glucosamine supplements had a lower risk of dying from cancer than those who did not, an article published in Frontiers in Nutrition reported. *

The study included 453,645 participants in the UK Biobank, which enrolled men and women aged 38–73 years from 2006–2010. These participants were followed until March 2021. None of the individuals in the current study had cancer at enrollment. Glucosamine supplements were used by 88,224 of the participants.

During a median follow-up of 12.1 years, glucosamine users had a 5% lower overall risk of cancer mortality, a 32% lower risk of kidney cancer mortality, a 16% lower risk of lung cancer mortality and a 24% lower risk of dying from cancer of the rectum, compared with those who did not use glucosamine. Among men who did not have diabetes or high cholesterol, glucosamine was protective against prostate cancer mortality.

Editor’s Note: Research findings indicate that glucosamine’s antitumor effects are achieved by inhibiting cancer cell proliferation, inducing programmed cell death, reversing tumor drug resistance, helping to prevent the formation of new blood vessels by tumors and other factors.

* Front Nutr. 2022 Nov 2;9:947818.

Whey Protein Improves Blood Glucose in Type II Diabetics

Consuming a large dose of whey protein before meals improves glucose control among type II diabetics, according to a study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.*

The crossover study included 18 type II, insulin naïve, diabetic participants who received either a drink containing 15 grams of whey protein or a nutrient-depleted placebo, 10 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner for seven days. This was followed by a two-week period with no intervention. Next, for an additional seven days, participants who had previously received whey protein were given a placebo and those who had received the placebo were given whey protein.

Continuous glucose monitoring showed improved daily blood glucose levels in association with whey intake. Participants experienced an increase of two hours per day of normal glucose levels during the week in which whey was consumed, in comparison with the week in which the placebo was administered.

Editor’s Note: “Nutrition plays an integral role in the management of type II diabetes and represents an opportunity to optimize glycemic control in a cost-effective manner,” the authors stated.

*BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2022 May;10(3):e002820.

Varying Responses to Vitamin D Supplementation Explained

New research published in JAMA Network Open continues to show an association between higher body mass index and diminished response to supplementation with vitamin D.1

Researchers evaluated data from a subset of VITAL (a trial of vitamin D3 2000 IU/d and omega-3 fatty acids 1 g/d for primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease).

For this study, 16,515 men and women were eligible for the analysis—those who contributed to baseline blood samples and repeated samples at the two-year follow-up in the VITAL trial. Treatment outcomes of vitamin D supplementation vs. placebo associated with vitamin D-related biomarkers were analyzed according to body mass index.

In the group that received vitamin D, the vitamin’s biomarkers increased compared with the placebo group. But the increases were less in participants with a higher BMI.

In a separate study, researchers found, due to volumetric dilution in obese patients, higher doses of vitamin D are needed to achieve the same serum concentration of vitamin D as compared to lean subjects.2

Editor’s Note: “Findings suggest that BMI may be associated with modified response to vitamin D supplementation and may in part explain the observed diminished outcomes of supplementation for various health outcomes among individuals with higher BMI,” the authors concluded. 

  1. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(1):e2250681.
  2. Obesity. 2012;20(7):1444-8.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Linked with Lower Risk of Kidney Disease

A study published in the BMJ found that having higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA, which are derived from seafood, is associated with a lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease.*

Data on 25,570 men and women from 19 studies were analyzed. Omega-3 fatty acids ALA, EPA, DHA and DPA were measured.

Participants were followed for a median of 11.3 years, during which 4,944 cases of chronic kidney disease occurred.

Researchers found that higher levels of seafood omega-3 fatty acid biomarkers were associated with an 8% lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Slower decline in renal function was also observed.

Editor’s Note: The authors noted that, “Patients with chronic kidney disease are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death because the condition could eventually progress to kidney failure that severely impacts health and quality of life.”

* BMJ 2023;380:e072909