N-Acetylglucosamine Inhibits Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes

Researchers at University of California - Irvine have discovered that a glucosamine-like dietary supplement, called N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), has been found to suppress the damaging autoimmune response observed in multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking the pancreatic beta cells as if they were a virus. Once the beta cells are destroyed, the person requires insulin replacement therapy for survival.

In studies on mice, Dr. Michael Demetriou and colleagues with the UC Irvine Center for Immunology found that N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), which is similar but more effective than the widely available glucosamine, inhibited the growth and function of abnormal T-cells that incorrectly direct the immune system to attack specific tissues in the body, such as brain myelin in MS and insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas in type 1 diabetes.

Together with a recent study on the use of GlcNAc in the treatment of treatment-resistant autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease (another autoimmune disease), these findings point to the use of metabolic therapy using dietary supplements such as GlcNAc for treating autoimmune diseases.

The long-term effects are not known, but it does suggest that there may be a method of moderating the body’s errant immune system without the use of toxic drugs, chemicals or antibodies.

Question that follows obviously would be: For those Type 1s that would like to take this as a supplement (glucosamine would be safe, though that is not the exact supplement), where would they get it? And what would be the proper dosage per body weight? DN has two autoimmune diseases; would be interested in preventing a third. And can this supplement possibly have a beneficial effect on Type 1 in general? I know cod liver oil and Vita D should be taken as supplments. Also wondering about thiamine and proper dosage on that particular supplement (Type 1s can excrete a lot more thiamine than non-Type 1s)?

Before we get all excited, remember this was an effect shown in mice. It may only related to the specific brand of mice used (typically a special type 1 mouse) and may not have the same result in humans. But I am always encouraged to hear another brick put into the wall.