Glucosamine Use, Inflammation, and Genetic Susceptibility, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study in UK Biobank

Diabetes Care. 2020 Apr;43(4):719-725. doi: 10.2337/dc19-1836. Epub 2020 Jan 27.


Objective: Glucosamine is a widely used supplement typically taken for osteoarthritis and joint pain. Emerging evidence suggests potential links of glucosamine with glucose metabolism, inflammation, and cardiometabolic risk. We prospectively analyzed the association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and assessed whether genetic susceptibility and inflammation status might modify the association.

Research design and methods: This study analyzed 404,508 participants from the UK Biobank who were free of diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at baseline and completed the questionnaire on supplement use. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between habitual use of glucosamine and risk of incident T2D.

Results: During a median of 8.1 years of follow-up, 7,228 incident cases of T2D were documented. Glucosamine use was associated with a significantly lower risk of T2D (hazard ratio 0.83, 95% CI 0.78-0.89) after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, race, center, Townsend deprivation index, lifestyle factors, history of disease, and other supplement use. This inverse association was more pronounced in participants with a higher blood level of baseline C-reactive protein than in those with a lower level of this inflammation marker (P-interaction = 0.02). A genetic risk score for T2D did not modify this association (P-interaction = 0.99).

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that glucosamine use is associated with a lower risk of incident T2D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biological Specimen Banks / statistics & numerical data*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Glucosamine / blood
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Glucosamine