Does glucosamine increase diabetes risk?

Q. I have osteoarthritis but Type 2 diabetes also runs in my family. I know my own fasting glucose tends to edge up if I am not careful about my diet. Is there evidence that I should avoid glucosamine?

A. As the name suggests, glucosamine is a type of sugar. And there was some early research (mostly in animals) that raised concerns. The studies suggested that glucosamine might cause higher blood sugar and/or reduce the body’s response to insulin. Either one of these could raise the risk of diabetes or exacerbate the condition.

Subsequent research put these concerns largely to rest. However, if you have diabetes or a predisposition (including family history), it’s definitely worth running this one by your doctor. No study, no matter how large, can predict with 100% accuracy how your body might respond to a treatment. If nothing else, she can check your blood sugar periodically to be sure that glucosamine is not having any adverse effects.

See also: Does glucosamine really work?


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