A research team at Université Laval's Faculty of Pharmacy has revealed that high doses or prolonged use of glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells and could increase the risk of developing diabetes.
In vitro tests conducted by Professor Frédéric Picard and his team revealed that glucosamine exposure causes a significant increase in mortality in insulin-producing pancreatic cells, a phenomenon tied to the development of diabetes.
Cell death rate increases with glucosamine dose and exposure time.
"In our experiments, we used doses five to ten times higher than that recommended by most manufacturers, or 1,500 mg/day," said Professor Picard.
Picard and his team have shown that glucosamine triggers a mechanism intended to lower very high blood sugar levels. However, this reaction negatively affects SIRT1, a protein critical to cell survival.
A high concentration of glucosamine diminishes the level of SIRT1, leading to cell death in the tissues where this protein is abundant, such as the pancreas.
Individuals who use large amounts of glucosamine, those who consume it for long periods, and those with little SIRT1 in their cells are therefore believed to be at greater risk of developing diabetes.
Details of this discovery were recently published on the website of the Journal of Endocrinology.