You have probably heard mention of the current ‘obesity epidemic’ that Canada and other countries are experiencing, followed closely by the ‘diabetes epidemic’. In this context, we are talking about type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, although the second term is not entirely accurate since type 2 diabetes can become insulin dependent. The focus of this newsletter is type 2 diabetes (not type 1 diabetes, see below) because there is so much we can do to prevent it, and because it is the most common type.
In the United States, newly diagnosed cases of diabetes rose to 9.1 per 1,000 people annually between 2005 and 2007, up from 4.8 ten years earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And, yes, the report linked the increase to the increase in rates of obesity. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that more than 9 million Canadian live with diabetes or prediabetes today, of which 3 million actually have diabetes. About 90 percent of diabetics have type 2 diabetes. This represents a large increase in the past decade, indicating that the epidemic is very much our problem too.
“Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which blood levels of glucose (a simple sugar) are abnormally high because the body doesn’t release or use insulin adequately.” There are 2 types of diabetes –
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (‘juvenile diabetes’) or type 1 diabetes
, which usually occurs at a relatively early age, usually in childhood, where little or no insulin is produced by the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections from the time of onset of their diabetes. It is estimated that about 6 percent of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. It is believed that there is some genetic predisposition for type 1 diabetes, probably combined with an environmental factor, such as a viral infection or nutritional deficiency.
Type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes,
more often occurs in adults, although it can occur in children and adolescents. The pancreas continues to produce insulin, sometimes at higher than normal levels, but the body develops resistance to its effects, resulting in a relative insulin deficiency. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that in the United States, 80 to 90 percent of those with the disease are obese. During the early stages of type 2 diabetes, it can be controlled with medication, although many people eventually need insulin injections.
is a cluster of risk factors for type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. They include excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the “good” cholesterol) and high fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels.
If you haven’t known anyone with late-stage diabetes, you may think that since it can be controlled with medication or insulin injections, that it’s not such a big problem. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. Complications include blindness (diabetic retinopathy), kidney failure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as peripheral vascular disease, vascular dementia, peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands and feet) and other nerve damage. Circulation can become very poor, particularly to the feet, leading to infections and amputations in some cases. Better control of blood sugar levels reduces the risk of these complications.
The good news is that we can do a lot to reduce our risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found that even later in life (people aged 65 and older), the risk of type 2 diabetes can be markedly reduced – by 89 percent overall – by combining a number of healthy habits. Each of the following lifestyle factors was independently linked with a reduced risk after adjusting for age, sex, race, education level and annual income.
- Probably the most important way to reduce risk is to maintain a normal weight – body mass index (BMI) less than 25 and waist circumference under 34.6 inches for women and 36.2 inches for men (see Newsletter January 2010 on weight management).
- Higher level of physical activity (see Newsletter May 2010 on physical activity)
- A healthy diet in this study was defined as higher dietary fibre (the top 40 percent), lower glycemic index foods, lower trans fats, and higher polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio (see Newsletter March 2009 on nutrition), and
- Never smoking.
A number of other protective factors have been identified, many concerned with other aspects of diet:
- Coffee and tea consumption has been linked with lower risk of diabetes. An analysis of 18 studies found that drinking coffee was associated with about a 25 percent reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Based on 7 studies, those who drank more than 3 to 4 cups of tea per day had a 20 percent lower risk than non-tea drinkers.
- Brown rice rather than white rice has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes – in fact, increased consumption of whole grains in general, is advised.
- Fruits, leafy green vegetables and legumes have all been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. A further study indicates that smoking cancels the benefits of vegetables.
- More specifically, vitamin K, which is found in leafy green vegetables, has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, thereby helping to protect against type 2 diabetes. Greenzone is high in vitamin K and good for people who don’t eat enough leafy green vegetables.
- Two studies have suggested a role for vitamin D in the prevention of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. In a study of 1,300 Dutch men and women aged 65 and older, those with low blood levels of vitamin D were about 40% likely to have metabolic syndrome. A second study reviewed the medical charts of 124 type 2 diabetes patients, and found that more than 90% of the patients, aged 36 to 89, had insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. Those with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to have higher blood-sugar readings.
- Magnesium is another component of our diet that can help to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and subsequent development of diabetes, but researchers caution that it is just one component of a healthy diet, and it’s important to eat a healthy diet overall.
- Researchers have found that a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and that it can also decrease the prevalence and progression of metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes. Traditional eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea include high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, along with more fish and less meat.
- Getting enough sleep is an important part of preventing type 2 diabetes. Researchers analyzed data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) in the US, which followed 8,992 community-living people aged 32 to 86 for 10 years. They found that sleeping an average of 5 hours or less increased the risk of diabetes onset by about 50% compared with sleeping for 7 hours. This is consistent with evidence showing that short sleep duration increases insulin resistance and decreases glucose tolerance.
- Living in a “healthy neighbourhood” reduces the risk of diabetes. Healthy neighbourhoods were identified according to factors such as ease of nearby walking, access to fresh produce, availability of exercise facilities and how often neighbours were seen out walking. Over a 5 year follow-up, the 1/3 living in the healthiest neighbourhoods were 38% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those in the least healthy neighbourhoods. Although cause and effect could not be proven in this observational study design, it couldn’t hurt to make healthy living easier.
- The importance of physical activity has been emphasized in many studies, and together with good nutrition and weight management is critical in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Chromium improves the effectiveness of insulin and its ability to monitor glucose, preventing both diabetes – elevated blood sugar – and hypoglycemia – low blood sugar. Chromium is also required for carbohydrate metabolism, especially sugars, and for protein synthesis. Chromium increases HDL cholesterol, while reducing overall cholesterol levels. Chromium supplementation has been used for arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia and hypoglycemia. Chromium is found in brewer’s yeast, meat (particularly liver), and whole grains and cereals.
There are a number of Nature’s Sunshine supplements that can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes:
- GlucoReg provides nutrients that help support the body’s efforts to regulate blood sugar levels. Many of the ingredients have been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Medicinal ingredients include Nopal leaves, Fenugreek seeds, Bitter Melon, Gymnema leaf extract, Banaba leaf extract, chromium and vanadium.
- GTF Chromium improves the effectiveness of insulin and improves glucose metabolism. It lowers fasting blood sugar levels, improving glucose tolerance and reducing the need for insulin. It also helps those with hypoglycemia to increase their blood sugar levels.
- Greenzone is high in vitamin K and good for those who don’t manage to include enough leafy greens in their diet.
- Vitamin D3 (1000 IU) – maintaining higher blood levels of vitamin D is important (see above).
- Magnesium Complex – adequate levels of magnesium are also important.
- If you are interested in weight management, please contact me for information on the excellent products offered through our web site (see below).
- Blood Pressurex contains a blend of natural ingredients that can help your body maintain blood pressure levels already within the normal range. Many supplements for hypertension target only one or two underlying functions. Blood Pressurex targets many underlying functions to provide maximum support and efficient control.
- Provides potent antioxidant properties that help inhibit damage to cells.
- Supports and maintains blood vessels.
- Supports blood vessel relaxation to promote optimal blood flow.
- Promotes blood flow in the peripheral arteries.
- Helps maintain blood viscosity that is already within the normal range
- Butcher’s Broom - Once used by butchers to clean their cutting boards, Butcher’s Broom has a long history of use in many cultures. It is a member of the lily family and native to southern and western Europe and the southern U.S.A. In folk history, the herb was taken to nutritionally support the circulatory system. Butcher’s Broom contains important flavonoids (natural substances which strengthen capillary walls) such as rutin. It is a good source of iron and silicon. It also contains glycolic acid, which is found in parsley and juniper berries.
For additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue sharing our newsletters with friends and family. Visit our web site at http://ramilashealingartsclinic.com/index for back issues of this newsletter, for
additional information about products and to order products
, and for information about our Clinic.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.
1)New diabetes cases up 90%. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2009;26(11):3.
2)The Canadian Diabetes Association. The prevalence and costs of diabetes. http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/what/prevalence/ Accessed March 21, 2011.
3)The Canadian Diabetes Association. The prevalence and costs of diabetes facts. Canadian Diabetes Association. Accessed March 21, 2011.
4)The Canadian Diabetes Association. The prevalence and costs of diabetes facts. Canadian Diabetes Association. Accessed March 21, 2011.
5)Magnesium found to fight metabolic syndrome. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2006;24(5):8.
6)Mozaffarian D, Kamineni A, Carnethan M et al. Lifestyle risk factors and new-onset diabetes mellitus in older adults. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:798-807.
7)Coffee and tea drinkers at lower risk of diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2010;28(1):1-2.
8)While or brown rice? Your answer could affect diabetes risk. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2010;28(7):1-2.
9)Green leafy vegetables may reduce your diabetes risk. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2010;28(9):1-2.
10)Enlist fruits and green veggies in battle against diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2008;26(7):8.
11)Legumes linked to 35% reduced risk of diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2008;26(2):6.
12)Vegetables may help prevent diabetes – unless you smoke. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2006;24(6):6.
13)Vitamin K may fight diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2008;26(10):1-2.
14)Vitamin D may help ward off diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2010;28(8):6.
15)Mediterranean-style diet may help reduce diabetes risk. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2008;26(6):8.
16)Mediterranean-style diet counters metabolic syndrome. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Update, March 18, 2011;3.
17)Research reveals new ways to fight diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2008;25(12):4-5.
18)“Healthy neighborhoods” less prone to diabetes. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2009;27(10):3.
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.
Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic