Glucosamine and Diabetes

Glucosamine and Diabetes

Last updated on November 2nd, 2016

Glucosamine is a type of simple sugar but, unlike glucose and other simple sugars, it doesn’t seem to affect insulin sensitivity or blood glucose levels to the same degree as glucose does.  There has been some research to indicate that glucosamine worsened insulin resistance, resulting in an increase in blood glucose levels; however, later research proved otherwise.
Glucosamine and Diabetes

Glucosamine is a common dietary supplement.  It is one of the most used dietary supplements in which it is used to treat the pain of osteoarthritis.  This is why it is important to find out if glucosamine has an effect on blood sugar levels as many people with osteoarthritis also suffer from elevated blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes.

Several recent studies have shown that glucosamine doesn’t affect blood sugar levels or insulin sensitivity; however, it has been found to interact with certain medications a diabetic might also be taking, including Coumadin (warfarin)—a medication used to treat blood clotting disorders.  Because of this, it is recommended that patients with diabetes who want to take glucosamine should first talk to their doctor before taking the supplement.

The Results of One Study

One study was performed on the effects of glucosamine on diabetes.  Researchers recognized that many people taking glucosamine are overweight, which increases their risk of having type 2 diabetes. If glucosamine were found to increase blood sugar levels, then it probably shouldn’t be used to treat osteoarthritis in diabetic patients.

As part of the study, the researchers took note of the fact that glucosamine causes insulin resistance in both mice and rats, which have similar patterns of glucose metabolism as humans.  It was felt that glucosamine increased insulin resistance by entering the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, resulting in high blood sugar levels among animals tested.

Because glucosamine seemed to affect the blood glucose levels in animal studies, the researchers wanted to find out if the same held true in human participants who suffered from osteoarthritis.  The researchers looked at 7 patients who were obese and 7 patients who were not overweight to see if taking glucosamine affected insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The results of the study showed that 3 of the obese participants and 2 of the thin participants had problems with glucose intolerance before taking glucosamine. When glucosamine was given for four weeks, the insulin resistance was checked.  It was discovered that there were no changes in glucose levels.

Glucosamine and DiabetesThis study confirmed the results of other studies, indicating that it is probably perfectly safe for diabetic patients to take glucosamine for their osteoarthritis without having to worry about elevated blood sugar levels from taking the supplement.  As mentioned, it is a good idea to discuss the taking of this supplement with your doctor before starting to take the supplement for osteoarthritis.

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