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From Alberta, Canada:

Can glucosamine sulfate increase blood glucose in people with diabetes? From what I've read so far, it seems as glucosamine might not break down to glucose, but it may impair glucose-induced insulin release (animal studies). Have you heard of any human studies? Should people with diabetes avoid it?


In the last few years glucosamine sulfate has become accepted as an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is reputed not only to diminish pain, but also to have some restorative action on the joint surfaces. There have not been any well organised clinical trials, however.

The normal dose of glucosamine is insufficient to affect blood sugar even in a diabetic and in any case it is rapidly attached to serum proteins or to cartilage tissues.

On the other side, there is some rather tenuous evidence that glucosamine can induce a degree of insulin resistance and is involved in some way in the development of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease). On balance I think that a person with Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis should avoid glucosamine unless the uncertain disadvantages are offset by a conspicuous benefit to the arthritis. This is an issue to be discussed with the physician involved.


Original posting 3 Oct 1998
Posted to Other Medications


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