Category Archives: type-2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes breakthrough: Imbalance in gut bacteria likely cause

by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor 

(NaturalNews) We’ve all heard the news about the enormous, world-wide epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Not only is this form of diabetes (which results from the body’s inability to effectively use insulin) soaring among adults, it is now hitting children and teens as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the cause is primarily excess body weight and weight physical inactivity.

But breakthrough research just published in the journal Nature strongly indicates another, bottom line cause has been discovered – an imbalance of “good” versus “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract appears to trigger type 2 diabetes.

Sound familiar? Natural health advocates have long insisted that a healthy digestive tract is crucial to preventing and treating diseases and that making sure there’s a healthy balance between the “good” bacteria and the disease-promoting kind is key. In recent years, this concept has been backed up by numerous studies linking the overuse of antibiotics, which wipe out the “good” germs in the gut, to serious ills. Researchers have also found that promoting a healthy internal flora rich in the “good” kind of bacteria is beneficial in a myriad of ways – including boosting the immune system to fight flu and treating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. And research recently published by Austrian scientists in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests an unhealthy balance of gut flora could cause obesity and metabolic syndrome which have long been linked to type 2 diabetes.

“We have demonstrated that people with type 2 diabetes have a high level of pathogens in their intestines,” lead researcher for the Nature study, Jun Wang from the University of Copenhagen’sDepartment of Biology and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, said in a media statement.

The research team pointed out the 1.5 kilograms of bacteria that each of us carries around in our intestines have a huge impact on our well-being. If the equilibrium of what is known as this “microflora” in the gut is disrupted, health can suffer. For their study, the scientists zeroed in on the intestinal bacteria of 345 people from China. The 171 research subjects who had type 2 diabetes were found to have “a more hostile bacterial environment in their intestines” than those not suffering from the disease. The study suggests this kind of out-of-balance gut flora could increase resistance to different medicines as well as likely be the trigger for type 2 diabetes. The scientists identified specific biological indicators in the gut flora that could eventually be used to identify those at risk of type 2 diabetes as well as to diagnose the disease.

“We are going to transplant gut bacteria from people that suffer from type 2 diabetes into mice and examine whether the mice then develop diabetes,” another of the lead scientists behind the project, professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen from the University of Copenhagen, stated.

What can you do to keep your internal flora healthy and balanced? For starters, avoid antibiotics as much as possible. Also, eat a healthy diet that includes prebiotics (naturally occurring substances found in thousands of plants species that foster a healthy environment in the colon that’s hostile to the “bad” bacteria) and probiotics (the “good” bacteria that is found in fermented foods like kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut that can crowd out bad bacteria and replenish the “good” kind that can be wiped out by antibiotics).

Number of diabetic Americans could triple by 2050


ATLANTA – As many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050, federal officials announced Friday in a dramatic new projection that represents a threefold increase.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 10 have diabetes now, but the number could grow to 1 in 5 or even 1 in 3 by mid-century if current trends continue.
“This is alarming,” said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
The agency’s projections have been a work in progress. The last revision put the number at 39 million in 2050. The new estimate takes it to the range of 76 million to 100 million.
An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes currently.
The new CDC calculation accounts for people who have diabetes but are undiagnosed — a group that wasn’t figured into earlier estimates, explained Edward W. Gregg, chief of the CDC branch that handles diabetes epidemiology and statistics.
Also, the researchers used new population growth estimates for the elderly and minorities, who have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, he said.
One more factor: Diabetics are living longer, thanks to improvements in medical care, he added.
“Not all of the increase in prevalence is a bad thing,” said Dr. Sue Kirkman, the American DiabetesAssociation’s senior vice president of medical affairs and community information.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body has trouble processing sugar. It was the nation’s seventh leading cause of death in 2007.
In the classic form of diabetes, traditionally diagnosed in children or young adults, the body does not produce enough of a hormone called insulin to help sugar get into cells. That’s Type 1 diabetes.
Another form of diabetes, Type 2, now accounts for about 95 percent of cases. In that kind, the body’s cells resist insulin’s attempts to transport sugar. Type 2 is most common in people who are overweight and obese, in people 60 and older, and in African-Americans and other minority groups.
The growth in U.S. diabetes cases has been closely tied to escalating obesity rates. Recent CDC data suggests obesity rates may have recently leveled off. But the new estimates should hold up even if obesity rates remain static, CDC officials said.
The CDC is the main source for national disease statistics, and the agency seems to have done a thoughtful job in putting together these latest projections, Kirkman said. Still, she acknowledged being a little startled by the size of the new numbers.
“The magnitude is a bit surprising. But the trend is not” she said.
The new estimates were published online Friday by the journal Population Health Metrics.

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Video: Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s linked

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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Lifestyle changes may be the best way to delay diabetes


October 29, 2009 | 5:42 pm

Lifestyle changes are the best way to stave off development of Type 2 diabetes, according to a 10-year followup of an innovative trial to prevent the disease in high-risk groups. The results are important because diabetes is a rapidly spreading epidemic in the United States. About 24 million Americans — 1 in every 9 — have diabetes, the vast majority of them Type 2, which develops during adulthood. An additional 57 million people have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but that are not yet in the diabetic range, and it is this group that could benefit the most from interventions.

The original Diabetes Prevention Program trial involved 3,234 overweight or obese men and women, most of them from ethnic groups with an above-normal risk for diabetes. They were divided into three groups: one received intensive training on altering their lifestyle, the second received the diabetes medication metformin, and the third received a placebo. The lifestyle intervention involved reducing the amount of fat in their diet, exercising daily and losing 5% to 7% of their body weight. On average, those in this group exercised about 30 minutes per day and lost about 15 pounds, although they subsequently regained 10 pounds. Those in the metformin group lost 5 pounds, and those in the placebo group lost less than 2.Walking

The study was halted prematurely in 2001 when it became clear that lifestyle intervention was most effective. Those in the lifestyle arm of the trial reduced their risk of diabetes by 58% compared with the placebo group, and those in the metformin group reduced risk by 31%.

The original group was offered the chance to participate in followup studies and 1,766 did, roughly a third from each of the trial arms. All were given training in lifestyle changes.

The study team, led by Dr. David M. Nathan of Massachusetts General Hospital, reported on the 10-year results this week in the journal Lancet. In the 10 years, participants in the original lifestyle-change group delayed the onset of diabetes by an average of four years compared with the placebo group, and those in the metformin group delayed it by an average of two years. “The benefits of intensive lifestyle changes were especially pronounced in the elderly,” Nathan said. “People age 60 and older lowered their rate of developing diabetes in the next 10 years by about half.”

About 5% to 6% of those in the lifestyle intervention group developed diabetes every year during the initial trial, a rate that remained constant over the follow-up period. About 8% of those in the metformin group and 11% of those in the placebo group developed diabetes each year during the original trial. Over the rest of the period, however — apparently because of the added lifestyle training — the latter two groups reduced their annual rate to the same range as those in the original lifestyle group.

In an editorial accompanying the report, Dr. Anoop Misra of Fortis Hospitals in New Delhi wrote that, “Prevention of diabetes is a long and winding road. There seems to be no shortcut, and a persistent and prolonged lifestyle intervention seems to be the most effective mode to travel on it.”

— Thomas H. Maugh II

Photo: Walking was the most common form of exercise in the lifestyle-change group. Credit: Robert Lachman/ Los Angeles Times

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What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body


By Dr. Maoshing Ni – Posted on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, 12:29 pm PDT

Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.

Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Why the sugar in soft drinks isn’t so sweet
Most soft drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is a daily allotment of 10 teaspoons of added sugars. Many soft drinks contain more than this amount!

Just why is too much sugar so unhealthy? Well, to start, let’s talk about what happens to you as sugar enters your body. When you drink sodas that are packed with simple sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage. The result of overindulging in simple sugar is raised insulin levels. Raised blood insulin levels beyond the norm can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease.

Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates risk for heart disease and cancer. One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.

The health effects of diet soda
You may come to the conclusion that diet or sugar-free soda is a better choice. However, one study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day — and it didn’t matter whether it was diet or regular — led to a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly.

Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. These artificial sweeteners pose a threat to your health. Saccharin, for instance, has been found to be carcinogenic, and studies have found that it produced bladder cancer in rats.

Aspartame, commonly known as nutrasweet, is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the food is sweet. It breaks down into acpartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol at a temperature of 86 degrees. (Remember, your stomach is somewhere around 98 degrees.) An article put out by the University of Texas found that aspartame has been linked to obesity. The process of stimulating the brain causes more cravings for sweets and leads to carbohydrate loading.

Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.

Skip the soda and go for:

• Fresh water

Water is a vital beverage for good health. Each and every cell needs water to perform its essential functions. Since studies show that tap water is filled with contaminants, antibiotics, and a number of other unhealthy substances, consider investing in a quality carbon-based filter for your tap water. To find out more about a high-performance filtration system, click here.

On the go? Try using a stainless steel thermos or glass bottle, filled with filtered water. Enhance the flavor of your water with a refreshing infusion of basil, mint leaves, and a drop of honey.

• Fruit Juice
If you are a juice drinker, try watering down your juice to cut back on the sugar content. Buy a jar of organic 100% juice, especially cranberry, acai, pomegranate, and then dilute three parts filtered water to one part juice. You will get a subtle sweet taste and the benefit of antioxidants. After a couple of weeks, you will no longer miss the sweetness of sugary concentrated juices.

• Tea
Tea gently lifts your energy and has numerous health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all contain antioxidant polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high or higher than many fruits and vegetables on the ORAC scale, the score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.

Herbal tea does not have the same antioxidant properties, though it is still a great beverage choice with other health benefits, such as inducing calming and relaxing effects.

If tea doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon or a little honey, which has important health benefits that refined sugar lacks. For a selection of healthy teas that promote total body wellness, click here. Drink up!

I hope you find the ways and means to avoid soft drinks. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

–Dr. Mao

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