Health

How to live longer: The natural supplement shown to reduce cancer risk by 15 percent

Now more than ever, researchers have a treasure trove of health data to pore over. Observing how populations respond to different lifestyle habits is heartening because it shows the degree to which we are in control of our health. The findings can be surprising for some because chronic diseases such as cancer often thought of as indiscriminate killers.

It has long been understood that eating a healthy, balanced diet acts as a bulwark against chronic disease.

Research continues to refine our understanding by drilling down into the specifics.

Certain components have been shown to act as a panacea by reducing the risk of developing a host of chronic disease.

This is certainly the case for glucosamine - a molecule that occurs naturally within your body, but is also a popular dietary supplement.

This study found that those taking glucosamine were consistently less likely to develop both fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease than non-users during a seven year follow-up period.

Habitual glucosamine use was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, an 18 percent lower risk of developing a stroke, and a 22 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death, when taking other risk factors into account such as sex, age, weight, level of physical activity, diet, alcohol intake, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

In fact, for smokers, the protective benefits of glucosamine use were increased – regular use of glucosamine was associated with a 12 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease in never smokers, an 18 percent lower risk in former smokers and a 37 percent lower risk in current smokers compared with those not taking glucosamine.

According to Dr Brewer, the protective effects of glucosamine are believed to relate to its anti-inflammatory effects.


Lesser-known tips to promote longevity

As Dr Brewer reports, your mindset may also have an outsized impact on your life expectancy.

Scientists writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who have a sunny outlook on life and who view the ageing process optimistically tend to live, on average, 7.5 years longer than those with more negative thoughts, she reports.

"In fact, smiling through adversity adds more years to your life than not smoking as it appears to have a direct impact on the will to live as you get older," said Dr Brewer.

As she explains, optimism also improves immunity by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


It is also important to get the required amount of sleep each night, says Dr Brewer.

Getting insufficient sleep has been shown to raise your risk of chronic disease and directly shorten your life expectancy.

Evidence supports the health benefits of getting plenty of sleep.

Researchers following over 14,000 twins found those who slept for between seven and eight hours per night lived longer than those who habitually slept for shorter (6.5 hours or less) or longer (9.5 hours or more) periods.



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