Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’
For years researchers have proclaimed vitamin D as one of the most important supplements to help individuals achieve optimal health. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, possesses many benefits, and may now alleviate certain diabetic complications.
New research has revealed that vitamin D may help to prevent clogged arteries in those suffering from diabetes. The Journal of Biological Chemistry recently published a study led by Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, in which subjects who had sufficient amounts of vitamin D in their blood were, to a large extent, less likely to develop clogged arteries, which are typical in diabetics.
“We looked at blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes control, body weight and race. But only vitamin D levels correlated to whether these cells stuck to the blood vessel wall.”
It was also observed that vitamin D was the only determining factor in the disability of the cells to adhere to the walls of blood vessels, but this only happened in diabetics.
Due to this research, it’s important for those suffering from diabetes to know the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation and to incorporate it into their daily diet. Vitamin D can help to regulate the disease and help prevent its progression.
By Chake Faye
For years, researchers have studied the effects of supplemental vitamin D within the body. Vitamin D is known to facilitate adequate, strong bone growth and help with proper absorption of calcium within the body, among many other exceptional benefits.
New research has now revealed that older individuals can also reduce their risk of heart disease and diabetes with sufficient vitamin D supplementation. In a compilation study, led by Dr. Oscar Franco, over a 19 year period, it was revealed that older men and women can both benefit from the addition. Those with higher levels of vitamin D in the body had a 33% less chance of contracting cardiovascular disease and a 55% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes, overall.
“We found that high levels of vitamin D among middle age and elderly populations are associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Targeting vitamin D deficiency…could potentially slow the current epidemics of cardiometabolic disorders.
The recommended minimum daily dosage of vitamin D is 600 IU (15mcg) for anyone 1-70 years of age and 800 IU (20mcg) for those 70 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements.
This week is International Men’s Health Week. Fundamentally, it’s a week that celebrates empowerment; every man can take measures in reducing his risk for disease and illness. It’s also a week that many of us realize the very first step is simply to become better informed about where we stand. The following is a five-point list of health issues for men to think about and look into:
• Obesity: As most of us know by now, this is a problem that’s on the rise, and will definitely not go away by itself. This week may be the time to assess the situation, and this free BMI calculator eliminates any excuses.
• Cholesterol: Cholesterol should be checked regularly after age 45, and those with a family history of heart disease may want to begin earlier.
• Blood Sugar: This can be tested at the same time as cholesterol, and the two tests together form a strong first line of defense against both heart disease and diabetes: two of the top five in male mortality statistics.
• Prostate cancer: By the age of 80, prostate cancer is diagnosed in an estimated 80 percent of men. Check-ups are recommended starting at age 40, and all of us would do well with more information. Remember, knowledge is power.
• Depression: It’s also important to remember that not all diseases are physical, and this common ailment, while just as unpopular as the ones listed above, is also just as important to address. Feeling sad, hopeless and disinterested in normal activities on a routine basis means it may be time to talk to a doctor.
In addition to the above, simple lifestyle changes can also make a tremendous impact on men’s health, and with no need to wait for doctor’s orders. For men, regular exercise is arguably the most important factor in promoting healthy body function—solid nutrition runs a close second. Both a healthy diet and proper supplementation are great ways to get the vitamins and minerals needed for good health.
This week, men everywhere are encouraged to adopt a new attitude and to look at their own health as their next big project. It’s safe to say it’s one they won’t regret.
By Drew Hancherick / Intern
Magnesium plays a vital role in the body that often goes unnoticed. It supports normal energy release, regulation of the body temperature, nerve function, adaptation to stress and metabolism. Also, it supports the body’s ability to build healthy bones and teeth and develop muscles. It works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong. Magnesium, when combined with calcium, helps support the heart muscle, helps maintain a regular heartbeat and helps maintain normal blood pressure. In addition to these benefits, magnesium is now thought to play a role in reducing the risk of stroke.
According to a Swedish meta-analysis of seven studies that included over 240,000 total participants, dietary magnesium intake is inversely related to risk of stroke. Diet is known to have an impact on a person’s risk of stroke, and recent research has shown that the average diet is magnesium deficient. According to Susanna Larsson, who led the analysis, “We observed a modest but statistically significant inverse association between magnesium intake and risk of stroke. An intake increment of 100 mg Mg/day was associated with an 8% reduction in risk of total stroke.” The researchers remarked that several explanation for magnesium’s stroke risk reduction were possible, including its blood pressure lowering effect and its role in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Magnesium is available in a variety of foods and supplements and provides many useful benefits to our bodies, including stroke prevention, but not limited to it. Considering that the majority of us are likely to be magnesium deficient, increasing magnesium intake might prove a surprisingly simple health strategy.
Fructose, primarily found in fruit, is a simple sugar with a complex history. Originally it was placed in the same category of sugars as glucose and sucrose, which people seeking to maintain their ideal bodyweight and optimal health were generally advised to avoid.
Fructose separated itself from this group, however, and came into favor several years ago because of its unique effect on blood sugar. Unlike the other simple sugars, it was observed to absorb slowly and did not cause a surge of insulin, or a corresponding drop in blood sugar afterward. At the time, this was seen as a pleasant surprise, and an indisputable benefit.
Recently, however, more has been revealed which suggests it may be very easy to get too much of a good thing. The issue again revolves around how fructose is metabolized, and most importantly whether it is consumed in the form of whole fruits or in concentrated form, as with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Because of its molecular structure, fructose can easily be converted into long-chain triglycerides—a type of fat. Fructose is typically directed to the liver during digestion for storage as glycogen, but after the livers storage capacity is reached it is prompted to perform this conversion; in the average adult, this capacity can be reached rather quickly.
The net effect is that too much fructose in the diet can add significantly to the waistline over time, or worse, contribute to unfavorable triglyceride levels and an increased likelihood of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In the case of HFCS, there is also an increased risk of developing insulin resistance—a precursor to diabetes.
This does not mean that fruit is unhealthy. Most fruits contain ample vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. It does suggest, however, that the classic “apple a day” recommendation may have been ahead of its time in establishing an upper limit, and that those looking for extra nutritional support and antioxidant protection may be better advised to find it in the form of supplements.
Historically, Vitamin D has been considered an important nutrient for bone health—its ability to interact with calcium is the primary reason that milk has been fortified with Vitamin D since the early 1920s. In recent times, it has been looked at more as a resource for psychological support, with some studies suggesting that Vitamin D deficiency is related to depression, and Vitamin D supplementation with a reduction in those symptoms.
Now, data has appeared indicating that Vitamin D may also show promise in reducing the risk of diabetes. Conducted in Malaga, Spain, the study of 961 individuals showed positive correlation between those whose Vitamin D levels were 18.5 ng/mL or above (from the low end of the normal range on up) and a reduction in the incidence of diabetes by nearly 10%.
The reason for this result is threefold. Vitamin D is thought to influence the activity of beta-cells, which reside in the pancreas and regulate insulin. Similarly, Vitamin D is also believed to promote heightened insulin sensitivity. Vitamin D therefore addresses diabetes on two fronts—by influencing both the production of insulin itself and working against the primary precursor to diabetes, which is a lack of insulin sensitivity.
Finally, it is well-known that Vitamin D possesses potent antioxidant properties, acting to reduce inflammation at the cellular level on a daily basis. This sort of ongoing protection yields tremendous benefits, the sum total of which cannot be calculated and which plays a role not only in the prevention of diabetes, but most of the major health concerns of our time.
For these reasons among others, the recommended intake of Vitamin D was revised in 2010, increasing threefold from an amount of 200 IU daily to 600 IU. For those over the age of 71 the RDA is even higher, with 800 IU daily as the recommendation for maximum benefits.
Resveratrol is a natural, chemical compound found in peanuts, blueberries and especially grapes. Due to the large concentration of resveratrol in grapes, red wine – in which grapes are fermented longer than in white wine – is an excellent source as well. Resveratrol gives off antioxidant activity and has long been considered as a contributor to decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio found that resveratrol may also stimulate the fat controlling hormone, adiponectin. Adiponectin is a “good guy” hormone produced in small fat cells that counters susceptibility to diabetes and heart disease by making the liver and muscles more sensitive to insulin. Together, resveratrol and adiponectin “display anti-obesity, anti-insulin resistance and anti-aging properties.”
Dr. Feng Liu, professor of pharmacology at UT, stated that the study, “uncovers a novel mechanism by which resveratrol exerts its healthy beneficial effect,” and that “those who are obese, diabetic and growing older,” may be interested in its results.
Alarming new statistics released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of people in the United States with diabetes could triple by 2050.
According to the CDC, “[t]he number of new diabetes cases a year will increase from 8 per 1,000 in 2008 to 15 per 1,000 in 2050″ if lifestyle changes in the general population aren’t made.
One in 10 U.S. adults now has diabetes. The CDC estimates show a sharp rise in diabetes over the next 40 years “due to an aging population more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, increases in minority groups that are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and people with diabetes living longer.”
The CDC projections show an alarming increase in the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable. According to Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, changes in lifestyle — breaking bad habits, exercising regularly and eating a proper diet — could stem the disease in individuals:
Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available, because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail.
According to recent studies, diabetes costs Americans “an estimated $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical costs.” And those costs are recurring, according to Irene O’Shaughnessy, an endocrinologist at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin, since instilling new habits generally takes time:
Diabetes is a very expensive disease. It is an overwhelming problem … Teaching people how to eat right takes multiple visits It’s an expensive program to staff, and you have to keep reinforcing the better habits. Prevention starts in the home with children growing up with a healthy lifestyle, and with educating parents so they don’t transfer bad habits to their children.
While some medical experts suggest consulting with a dietitian, it’s a costly visit: many insurance companies will only pay for a single visit, even though it takes multiple sessions to truly help change behaviors. According to Ramin Alemzadeh, a pediatric endocrinologist, 15 percent of the families in his Wisconsin practice “don’t want dietary counseling because their insurance company will deny the fee.”
Selenium is one of those minerals that you rarely hear about, but is essential to helping your body work properly – especially your thyroid.
New research out of France suggests that increased selenium may protect men against diabetes, as well as decrease the risk of abnormal blood sugar metabolism. According to reports announcing the study:
The study is of added importance in Europe where selenium levels have been falling since the EU imposed levies on wheat imports from the US, where soil selenium levels are high.
Selenium can be found in many foods that are consumed on a regular basis. Many fish, beef, pastas and poultry contain at least 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of the mineral, although none contain a full amount recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board.
While Europeans may be the focus of this study, Americans should take this information seriously considering the rate of diabetes diagnoses in this country. According to the most recent data, 1.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. In all, 23.6 million children and adults – nearly eight percent of Americans – have some form of diabetes and another 57 million people have pre-diabetes – blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.