According to experts at the University of California, Irvine, a new type of dietary supplement, similar to glucosamine, could be effective in suppressing damaging autoimmune responses that cause multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.
The team studied mice and found that N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) was more effective than glucosamine in inhibiting the production and functioning of T-cells. T-cells conduct the immune system to attack beta cells in the pancreas, causing type 1 diabetes. The study was published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and could hold promise for diabetics and healthcare workers.
Dr. Michael Demetriou, heading the study, reportedly commented: “This finding shows the potential of using a dietary supplement to help treat autoimmune diseases. Most importantly, we understand how this sugar-based supplement inhibits the cells that attack the body, making metabolic therapy a rational approach to prevent or treat these debilitating diseases.”
He continued: “Together, these findings identify metabolic therapy using dietary supplements such as GlcNAc as potential treatments for autoimmune diseases. Excitement for this treatment strategy stems from the novel mechanism for affecting T-cell function and autoimmunity and the availability and simplicity of its use. However, additional studies in humans will be required to assess the full potential of this therapeutic approach.”

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