Arthritis Supplement Prolonged Life In Mice Study — By Mimicking The Effects Of A Low-Carb Diet

A recent study has shown that glucosamine, a popular arthritis supplement, is potentially capable of extending life — at least in mice. The researchers who conducted the study came from four German institutions, and have been conducting related experiments since 2007. Initially, Michael Ristow, one of the lead researchers, discovered that an excess of nutritive sugars could reduce lifespan in roundworms, but by impairing carbohydrate metabolism, the roundworms lived longer. When replicated in mice, however, the method did not succeed.

Now, in this follow-up study on glucosamine, the researchers also used roundworms and mice as test subjects, and divided them into control and test groups. When the roundworms ingested glucosamine, they lived five percent longer than roundworms that didn't ingest glucosamine.

But when it came to testing on the mice, the researchers saw a better discovery. The mice were around 100 weeks old, which translates to 65 years in human age. The mice that were fed glucosamine lived 10 percent longer than the control group mice — which would translate into eight more years of life for a human. Furthermore, the glucosamine improved the mice's glucose metabolism, which can reduce the risk of diabetes.

So why do arthritis supplements work? As the researchers discovered in their study, the glucosamine broke down amino acids in the roundworms and mice, and the amino acids were then metabolized more often than carbohydrates. As Ristow explained:

This reflects the metabolic state of a low-carb diet due to glucosamine supplementation alone – while these mice ingested the same amount of carbohydrates as their unsupplemented counterparts.

Therefore, the metabolism that a low-carb diet reinforces appears, provisionally, to lengthen life. It also seems to reinforce what Ristow had initially discovered in his 2007 study — that keeping away from too many nutritive sugars could be a good choice in terms of health.

That said, Ristow still has a few warnings about taking glucosamine, as he noted in a press release.

Unlike with our longer living mice, such an association is no definite proof of the effectiveness of glucosamine in humans. But the chances are good, and since unlike with most other potentially lifespan-extending drugs there are no known relevant side effects of glucosamine supplementation, I would tend to recommend this supplement.