London: Glucosamine - an over-the-counter health supplement - commonly taken by older people to keep joints supple could help them live longer, researchers say.
US scientists said glucosamine could have similar protective properties to aspirin, minus the side effects.
In a study of 77,500 over-50s, researchers found people taking glucosamine were 13 per cent less likely to die over an eight-year period, than those who did not.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle believe the supplement might have protective anti-inflammatory properties, `The Telegraph` reported.
Their study indicates people on glucosamine were 13 per cent less likely to die of cancer and 41 per cent less likely to die of respiratory disease, than those who did not.
"Although bias cannot be ruled out, these results suggest that glucosamine may provide some mortality benefit," researchers said.
The study results were adjusted to try to take account of factors that could skew the results, such as age, gender, whether people smoked and social class.
Researchers said it is possible that glucosamine has no real life-protective properties, and what the results actually show is that people who take glucosamine tend to take better general care of themselves.
An increasing body of evidence suggests that aspirin protects against a range of cancers, but this evidence does not at present exist for glucosamine, the report said.
"This is an interesting study, but it can`t tell us for sure if the glucosamine supplements themselves were responsible for the difference in death rates, or whether it could be explained by something else," Sarah Williams, from Cancer Research UK, said.
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