Glucosamine and Chondroitin May Lower Risk of Colorectal Cancers


Glucosamine and chondroitin may have cancer-fighting properties, according to a study scheduled to publish in the June 2013 Cancer Causes and Control Journal by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, one of the world’s leading cancer research institutes (ePublished in March).

In the study, researchers analyzed the use of glucosamine and chondroitin in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) by examining data from over 75,000 Washington state residents who had participated in the 2000-2002 Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) parent study. The VITAL study was a cohort study that examined the association between the use of dietary supplements and cancer risks.

The sub-study’s results found that VITAL participants that used a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin for at least four days per week over a three year period had an average of 45% lower risk of CRC compare to others. Researchers stressed that the correlation depended on body mass index, with the most reduction of risk among the healthiest-weight participants.

CRC is cancer associated with the colon or bowel and is caused from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon, appendix, and parts of the large intestine. In most cases, CRC is caused by lifestyle habits and aging as opposed to genetics.

A natural compound found in joint cartilage, glucosamine is one of the most common non-mineral dietary supplements used by U.S. adults. Though not approved by the FDA to treat arthritis, the supplement has strong evidence for effectiveness in treating osteoarthritis. Glucosamine for arthritis is often used in conjunction with chondroitin, which is also a naturally occurring component of joint cartilage, providing resistance to compression.

The study’s abstract can be found here.

Kim Alexander

Advocate of arthritis research and education.

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