What is autoimmune disorders?
Tue. Apr. 29, 2014 by Karen Sanders, staff writer
(NaturalHealth365) Glucosamine, a popular supplement currently used to treat joint pain, may hold the key to prolonging human life. Just-published research supports this simple amino sugar’s ability to increase lifespan by as much as 10 percent – roughly eight years of human life.
What can we learn from mice and roundworms? In the study, published in the April 2014 issue of Nature Communications, researchers reported that glucosamine functioned to increase the lifespan of elderly mice by mimicking the effects of a low carbohydrate diet – without carbohydrate intake actually being reduced – and induced alternate fuel use, in the form of amino acid oxidation. It also had the effect of impairing glucose metabolism, thereby reducing blood glucose levels and the risk of diabetes.
In the first part of the study, glucosamine caused a 5 percent increase in the longevity of roundworms. Nematodes – although unlikely-seeming research subjects at first glance – are often used for longevity studies as 80 percent of their proteins, and many of their biological processes, are closely related to those of humans.
With glucosamine extending the lifespan of both species, the team concluded that the supplement “may be a versatile approach to delay aging in humans.”
Glucosamine – a molecule derived from glucose – is endogenous, meaning it occurs naturally in the body. It is found in the fluid surrounding the joints, where it helps to build cartilage. Glucosamine supplements, however, are derived from chitin, found in the hard exterior shells of crustaceans.
Now researchers are finding that, in addition to prolonging life, glucosamine may have the ability to correct malfunctioning cells that contribute to autoimmune disease.
Researchers have been aware for close to five decades that glucosamine reduces the metabolism of nutritive sugars. But, it wasn’t until recently that glucosamine’s ability to reduce sugar metabolism was explored in relation to preventing and treating disease.
What does sugar metabolism have to do with autoimmune disease?
It is changes in sugar molecules that cause T-cells to become hyperactive and trigger autoimmune disease – including multiple sclerosis. In this condition, the abnormal T-cells direct the immune system to attack and destroy the myelin – the tissue that insulates the nerves – causing symptoms of numbness, fatigue and even paralysis.
Several studies have shown that glucosamine and glucosamine derivatives increased sugar modifications to the proteins on the outsides of T-cells, suppressing their hyperactivity and reversing the development of paralysis.
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