New research indicates that glucosamine, best known for treating arthritis, could help stop the formation of new age spots and help to fade existing ones, according to Healthy Aging at www.advanceweb.com. “These findings on glucosamine may impact the way dermatologists treat UV-related skin damage in the future,” said Alexa Kimball, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School and lead researcher on one of the studies testing glucosamine, in the report. Kimball added that it is exciting to see this level of research being carried out on topical cosmetic applications of glucosamine, and the promising results.
According to the report, in early 2006 a group of worldwide leading dermatologists convened in Rome to review and discuss glucosamine data and the panel determined that n-acetyl glucosamine, a more stable form of glucosamine, reduced the amount of melanin in skin cells. Additionally, the panel reportedly concluded that a formulation of n-acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide, a vitamin B derivative, significantly reduced the amount and appearance of hyperpigmentation, age spots and uneven melanin distribution.
Researchers paired n-acetyl glucosamine with niacinamide because they knew that niacinamide had similar effects on slowing pigment production and hypothesized that the two might work better together. The panel reportedly reviewed data from three studies involving the n-acetyl glucosamine /niacinamide formulation. Tissue studies showed a reduction in melanin and an increase in collagen—a key structural protein in skin.
Three double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical studies involving more than 200 subjects, including a study supervised by Kimball, claimed to show improvement in hyperpigmentation and skin tone and a decrease in the size of age spots. According to the report, skin care products that utilize signal-blocking ingredients currently exist in the marketplace, but products with n-acetyl glucosamine/niacinamide, which block melanin at two different points in the pigment-producing process, are among the newest and most studied.