Whenever there is a new dietary supplement fad being raved about around the web or on health shows, many people become so fixated on the supposed benefits that they neglect to ask a very serious question:
What are the possible side effects?
Often those shopping for heavily buzzed about supplements assume that there are no side-effects or that if there are side effects, they are somewhat minimal.
This is a very naive and potentially dangerous approach. You do not want to risk suffering from a serious allergic reaction to a supplement or some other kind of negative health response.
Glucosamine has recently gotten a lot of attention because of reports that the dietary supplement might possibly extend the lifespan of those who take it.
This conclusion is largely based off of research involving aging mice. Those mice who were were fed the supplement were reported as living 10% longer than those mice that weren't given the supplement.
The Swiss researchers behind the study believe it's possible glucosamine could do the same in a human through altering metabolism.
Their enthusiasm is linked to their findings as well as a study that claimed glucosamine supplements could be linked to reduced death rates.
Despite the optimistic response and encouraging outlook, some are waiting for stronger follow-up research rather than running with these early results.
British expert Tim Spector advised common sense and caution going forward.
"Glucosamine is an interesting molecule that could affect us subtly in many ways," said Spector. "Humans are not the same as worms or rodents and studies will need careful replication before we get over-excited."
In other words, before you run down to the store to stock up on glucosamine because it helped mice live longer...you may want to wait until additional research is released.
You should also be mindful of potential side effects when it comes to glucosamine supplements.
Glucosamine is not recommended for people who suffer from asthma as it has been linked to worsened symptoms.
Because glucosamine is typically extracted from crabs, shrimp, and other shellfish, those with allergies to these animals are advised to avoid taking it. There is a potential for severe allergic reactions.
Thus far claims that it negatively affected blood sugar has been refuted.
However, persons with blood pressure and heart problems are told to be cautious when taking glucosamine. The supplement can raise blood pressure levels and cause abnormal heart rates and heart palpitations.
Image via Wikimedia Commons