The People's Perspective on Medicine

Turmeric Lowered Cholesterol Raised by Glucosamine?

Have you ever taken glucosamine and chondroitin for sore joints? Did this combo raise cholesterol? Turmeric lowered cholesterol AND eased inflammation.

The cholesterol hypothesis has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Although most cardiologists are convinced that cholesterol is the enemy and must be aggressively controlled, there are a few lone wolves who disagree. Dr. Robert Dubroff is a cardiologist and lipid specialist. You can listen to his perspective by clicking on the arrow under the heart at this link.  Even if cholesterol isn’t our worst foe, there is no point raising it with a dietary supplement. Is it possible that turmeric lowered cholesterol that had been elevated by glucosamine?

Reader Reported that Turmeric Lowered Cholesterol

Q. I took glucosamine for a few years to ease stiff, painful joints. A blood test several months ago showed my cholesterol level was 229, which is over the recommended 200 threshold.

I stopped taking glucosamine and substituted turmeric. Then I had my annual checkup, which included extensive blood work. My cholesterol level has dropped to 124.

I made no other changes in my diet, so I can only conclude that the glucosamine was raising my cholesterol. Others may want to know.

Can Glucosamine Raise Cholesterol?

A. We have heard from other readers that the dietary supplement combination glucosamine and chondroitin may raise cholesterol levels. There is no research we could find to support these case reports, though.

Other Reader Reports:

Some people report absolutely no problem with glucosamine when it comes to cholesterol. Here is one such case:

Julie in Roselle, IL had no problem:

“I started using glucosamine and chondroitin plus MSM more than two decades ago. I knew it only helped a percentage of people and some experienced a rise in cholesterol levels. I was one of the lucky ones. It worked for me.

“With the help of my physician I created my own little study. He ordered a blood test and I stopped the supplement for three months. After three months my joints were stiff, especially my knees. I was less mobile. A blood test showed that glucosamine and chondroitin had no effect on my cholesterol.

“I went back on my dietary supplements and have only had occasional pain in my right knee. That only happens when I overdo physical activity.”

Estela in Virginia had no cholesterol problems.

“I have been taking glucosamine and chondroitin for many years. I have had no problems with my cholesterol. This is a great supplement. I will never stop taking it My chiropractor approves of it, and it was highly recommended by my internist.”

The Other Side of the Coin:

Here is what Luke reports:

“Glucosamine raised my mom’s cholesterol levels sky high. She quit taking glucosamine and eventually cholesterol went back down again.”

Lucy had a similar reaction to Luke’s mother:

“Glucosamine and chondroitin pills caused my LDL cholesterol to go up 40-50 points! When I stopped taking the pills the numbers went right down again.”

Cher reports a similar situation:

“Glucosamine increased my cholesterol. I have a very healthy diet and walk every day for about an hour. Cholesterol was 160, LDL was 80, glucose was 70. I have been taking glucosamine for 6 months they all went up. 160 is 210, 80 is 130, 70 is 90. I stopped glucosamine all came down to same normal range.”

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Turmeric Lowered Cholesterol:

We were not aware that turmeric, the yellow spice in curry and yellow mustard, might be an antidote to elevated cholesterol. When the reader reported that turmeric lowered cholesterol we went searching in the National Medical Library.

In his case it turned out that this was indeed a possibility. A review of controlled trials found that turmeric or its active component curcumin can lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (Nutrition Journal, Oct. 11, 2017). 

If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of turmeric and other natural flavorings, you may want to read our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life. It is available from in our bookstore at this link.

Have you found that turmeric lowered cholesterol for you? Please share your story below in the comment section.Wednesday

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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The Nutrition Journal article you linked is a meta-analysis of 7 published studies, all performed on Asians. Prior research has established that curcuminoids from turmeric are prevented from ever making it to the bloodstream by a process in the liver and intestines called glucuronidation. However, piperine, the chemical that makes black pepper pungent, inhibits glucuronidation, allowing the curcuminoids to enter the bloodstream. I wonder what the black pepper intake of the test subjects was, if Asians might have differences in absorption of curcuminoids, etc. A lot of questions, not many answers.

I use to take Glucosamine and chondroitin for my knee pain, it helped me 100%, but my cholesterol, went up sky high, so I have to stop it, but my pain came back for the last 20 years. I don’t want to have knee surgery.

It could be the product taken is made of shell fish, which could be the cholesterol raising culprit. try taking a formula that is shell fish free. Both Swanson and Vitacost have such a product.

Everybody’s different. I had to stop taking glucoosamine/chondroitin because it raised my blood sugar! Upon discontinuing it, my blood glucose came back down.

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