What are the Effects of Glucosamine on Diabetes?

People who have diabetes commonly develop osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints. The supplement glucosamine is used frequently for arthritis because it stimulates cartilage repair, reduces joint pain and inflammation and increases joint lubrication. There can be adverse effects of glucosamine on diabetes because glucosamine is 10 times as powerful as regular glucose in causing insulin resistance. There are conflicting results from studies on this subject, however.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. The body either does not produce enough insulin, or the cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes; type 2, or insulin-resistant diabetes; and gestational diabetes.

There can be an effect of glucosamine on diabetes because although glucosamine technically is a carbohydrate, the body is not able to convert it into glucose. There also is a concern that glucosamine might interfere with the normal regulation of the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway. Glucosamine can worsen glucose intolerance for patients when the intolerance is untreated or undiagnosed. There seems to be the greatest potential effect on individuals who have type 2 diabetes, because insulin is produced but not administered properly.

To become fully aware of the effect of glucosamine on diabetes, researchers have found that diabetics need to be studied on an individual basis. Reports have shown that when a person who has diabetes is managing the disease properly according to his or her doctor's specifications, glucosamine does not tend to have negative consequences. Those individuals, however, who are not managing the illness properly seem to have adverse effects.

Glucosamine is overall a very safe supplement and has been studied clinically since the early 1980s. It is commonly recommended by doctors and pharmacists for use in arthritis. Its goal is to decrease pain and increase joint movement. A typical dosage of glucosamine is 1,500 milligrams daily. It might take several weeks or even months before symptoms might be noticeably reduced.

The effect of glucosamine on diabetes is an important issue because more than 170 million people worldwide suffer from the disease. In the United States, type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, affecting almost 95 percent of the country's diabetic population. As with most medical issues, the effect of glucosamine on diabetes is a subject that needs further research.

A doctor should be consulted before glucosamine is taken by an individual who is a diabetic. Glucosamine is a supplement, so it is not monitored in the same way as legal drugs. When the supplement is approved by a doctor, an individual should closely monitor his or her blood sugar to prevent any dangerous glucose level increases.


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