Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Precursor to Diabetes Almost No One Knows They Have

This article, from Reuters, talks about patients who learn of their status of pre-diabetes, also called Metabolic Syndrome X, who can alter their lifestyle and likely would be able to reverse their disease. It's really simple, but not easy to do as change is uncomfortable to humans, but eating low glycemic foods, ensuring you get the nutrients in the right doses/amounts, and live some type of physical lifestyle is the formula. There it is, simple, but not easy to do.

Only about one in eight people with so-called pre-diabetes, often a precursor to full-blown disease, know they have a problem, a U.S. study found. Lacking awareness, people with the elevated blood sugar levels were also less likely to make lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise or eating less sugary food that might prevent them from ultimately becoming diabetic.

“People with pre-diabetes who lose a modest amount of weight and increase their physical activity are less likely to develop diabetes,” lead study author Dr. Anjali Gopalan, a researcher at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, said by email. “Our study importantly shows that individuals with pre-diabetes who were aware of this diagnosis were more likely to engage in some of these effective and recommended healthy lifestyle changes." Globally, about one in nine adults have diabetes, and the disease will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Most of these people have Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes, which happens when the body can’t properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.

Average blood sugar levels over the course of several months can be estimated by measuring changes to the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. The hemoglobin A1c test measures the percentage of hemoglobin - the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen - that is coated with sugar, with readings of 6.5 percent or above signaling diabetes. But A1C levels between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent are considered elevated, though not yet diabetic. More than one third of U.S. adults have such elevated blood sugar levels and each year about 11 percent of them progress to having full-blown diabetes, Gopalan and colleagues note in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. To gauge awareness of this heightened diabetes risk among people with the condition, researchers weeded out people who said they already had the disease. Then, they reviewed A1c test results for the rest.

Out of 2,694 adults with test results showing elevated A1c, only 288 people were aware of their status. People who were aware of their condition were about 30 percent more likely to exercise and get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. They were also about 80 percent more likely to attempt weight loss and to have shed at least 7 percent of their body weight in the past year.

In 2014, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed independent panel that reviews medical evidence, said that screening for diabetes risk does help to identify people headed for full-blown disease and can help some of them to avert it with medication and lifestyle changes. It’s possible that some patients in the current study had been told about their status but didn’t recall or didn’t understand the specific way researchers asked about the condition, said Dr. Laura Rosella, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto.

"The health care provider has to tell the patient that they don’t meet the criteria fordiabetes but they aren’t quite out of the woods, which can be a challenging concept to get across,” Rosella, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “This challenge could explain the low awareness." Some patients may also have been tested for diabetes using another measurement known as an oral glucose tolerance test, which can get different results than screening for A1c, said Dr. Robert Cohen, a diabetes specialist at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "People can pass by one and miss by the other and it is confusion,” Cohen, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Many labeled as pre-diabetes by A1c would havediabetes if tested by the gold standard oral glucose tolerance test.”

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Children's Supplement Recalled

A friend of mine sent this to me with the note "Please be careful what you put in your bodies. Especially your kids. If it's not pharmaceutical grade, throw it in the trash..." In fact, Canada has higher and stricter standards for health supplements than the U.S. Canada has also funded supplement studies to determine safety, potencies and label claims. The U.S. should take a lesson from Canada over supplements.

Gummy supplements recalled, could lead to vitamin D ‘intoxication’ in kids

A recall has been issued for L’il Critters Vitamin D3 after testing found the gummy product to contain four times the amount of vitamin D listed on the label.

Health Canada issued the recall Thursday after the product’s maker, Church & Dwight Canada Corp., found the excessive levels through its own testing.

The levels are more than the “tolerable upper intake” for children eight years of age and younger.

“Excessive intake of vitamin D for children under eight years of age can lead to vitamin D ‘intoxication,’ which can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, lack of appetite, irritability, dehydration, fatigue and weight loss,” states the health agency.

Also recalled is Vitafusion Calcium Adult Gummy Vitamins. The product also contains more vitamin D than the label indicates, more than the daily tolerable intake for adults. This is cause for concern for women who are pregnant, as it’s not recommend they consumer more than 4,000IU per day.

It is not clear where in Canada, or in which stores, the products were sold.

Health Canada said it is “monitoring the recall and any necessary corrective and preventative actions taken by Church & Dwight Canada Corp.”

Consumers who experience any adverse reactions to the products are asked to contact Health Canada.

Article from Global News of Canada.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

FDA Finds Supplement Claims Fraudulent

From an article by Charley Cameron on with the headline "FDA finds majority of herbal supplements at GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target don’t contain what they claim – instead cheap fillers like wheat and soy powder"

The New York State Attorney General’s Office is demanding that GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target remove store brand herbal supplements from their shelves after the pills were found to be packed with a strange array of fraudulent—and in some cases hazardous—ingredients. Popular supplements such as ginseng, valerian root, and St. John’s Wort sold under store brand names at the four major retailers were found to contain powdered rice, asparagus, and even houseplants, while being completely void of any of the ingredients on the label.

It’s fairly baffling as to how this situation came about, and came to be so widespread. But what we do know is that while supplements are exempt from the strict regulations imposed on prescription medications, manufacturers and retailers are required by the FDA to correctly label all ingredients. But using DNA bar coding, the FDA was able to determine that highly popular supplements sold at major retailers are in clear violation of these requirements. Among that fraudulent supplements found at the retailers, the NYS Attorney General’s office highlights several examples:

•At GNC, the agency found a number of unlisted fillers, including powdered legumes—a potentially significant hazard for those with peanut or soybean allergies.
•At Target, ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root contained none of the advertised ingredients, and instead were made up of powdered rice, beans, peas, and wild carrots. In other words, a fairly healthy diet if freshly cooked.
•At Walgreens, ginseng pills are quite simply powdered rice and garlic.
•At Walmart, ginkgo biloba was made up of powdered radish, houseplants, and wheat, while being labelled as wheat- and gluten-free.

The response from retailers has been varied; the New York Times reports that Walgreens is to pull the supplements from all stores nationwide, even though only NYS has demanded it. Walmart, meanwhile, claims to be working with its suppliers to fix the problem, Target has yet to respond, and GNC has stated it will cooperate, but maintains that “it tested all of its products using validated and widely used testing methods.”

Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an expert on supplement safety, told the Times that it is possible that the manufacturing process had destroyed some of the DNA of the herbs, which could explain the very extreme results of the FDA’s study. But, as the NYS AG’s office emphasized “The absence of DNA does not explain the high percentage of contaminants found in these products… The burden is now with the industry to prove what is in these supplements.”

In the meantime, you may start to see some of your regular supplements disappear from the shelves as New York pushes forward with its efforts to get fraudulent items off the shelves.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Diet, Memory and Nutrition

Researchers and Nutritionalists have long thought that there is not only a direct link, but a substantial correlation between nutrition and the onslaught and severity of degenerative diseases to include Diabetes Type II and diseases associated with cognitive function and motor skills. I know from personal experience that nutrition can make a huge difference in reducing the warning markers for Diabetes Type II.

Many people know this too, but they think the changes necessary to reduce their chances of getting a degenerative disease are so big they never start. Change is always uncomfortable. Want to try an experiment? Approach your spouse or signifcant othr and say "We need to make some changes?". I'll just bet their defenses go up, and you'll see it in their body language and tenor of their voice.

Again, nobody likes change. But nobody should like diabetes, memory loss or muscles tremors either. Like I said, I have personal experince making small changes,...very small changes and I reduced my overall cholesterol level from 210 to 150, and my A1C (Blood Glucose) level from the pre-diabetes level of 6.2 to the normal range of 5.6.

So everyone, and not just the people who have a family history of diabetes and cognitive disorders should pay attention. Or not. After all it is a free world, so far,.....unless you are married and you are a man. Ha!

Sweet Tooth, Foggy Brain? The Surprising Link Between Diet and Memory, by Korin Miller, posted on Yahoo! Health.

You are what you eat — and that applies to your brain, too.

Research has shown it time and again: Weight gain isn’t good for your health. And according to a new study, it could be bad for your mind as well.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, shows a strong association between insulin resistance (often linked to weight gain) and a decline in memory function.

For the research, scientists studied the brain scans of 150 people with a median age of 60 at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease but who didn’t have memory loss. The scans showed that people who had higher insulin resistance used less blood sugar in areas of the brain that are the most susceptible to Alzheimer’s. Why this is a problem: When there is less blood sugar in the brain, it doesn’t function as well, researchers say.

Insulin is a hormone that helps move glucose (aka blood sugar) from your blood into your cells for your body to use as fuel. The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream, but when insulin resistance occurs, there is not enough insulin to move the blood sugar to the cells. As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin to move the blood sugar along.

Diet plays a role in all this because foods high in sugar and fat can cause blood sugar spikes, causing your insulin response to kick into overdrive to convert the nutrients into energy. But when your body doesn’t need any more energy, the rest is stored as fat. Too many blood sugar spikes can then lead to insulin resistance. (However, everyone is different; there are many factors that affect how resistant the body becomes to insulin over time. It’s best to try to keep your blood sugar on an even keel as much as possible to prevent spikes from happening.)

“In Alzheimer’s disease, many brain regions start using less and less blood sugar,” study co-author Auriel Willette, PhD, a food science and human nutrition professor at Iowa State University, tells Yahoo Health. “It’s like trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw that keeps shrinking.”

Willette says insulin may be giving a boost to processing blood sugar in key areas in the brain that do complex processing. If insulin resistance takes place, and there isn’t enough insulin to do the job that it should, he says forming memories can become harder. Over time, those brain cells might begin to starve and die off.

Insulin resistance is a hallmark of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. And while scientists say genetics could be at play, research has found that diet also has a role.

A review published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports found that eating a high-fat diet puts people at a greater risk of developing insulin resistance. Artificial sweeteners may also indirectly contribute to insulin resistance. A 2013 study published in the journal Diabetes Care discovered that insulin levels rose by 20 percent in people who were given the artificial sweetener sucralose (found in Splenda). If that happens repeatedly, researchers say it could cause more food cravings, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

Filmmaker Max Lugavere, who is working on a documentary called Bread Head about the role of diet and exercise on cognitive decline, tells Yahoo Health he isn’t shocked by the new findings. “When there is something metabolically awry, it could impact brain health,” he says. “Studies like this are meaningful.”

“Obviously a diet high in refined carbs and sugar … we know is one of the main causative factors in Type 2 diabetes, which is reaching high proportions globally,” Lugavere adds, so this study only serves as further evidence that cutting these kinds of foods out of our diets can help keep our brains healthy.

Luckily, registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life With Real Food, says we can do something about it. “Food choices come hand in hand with balancing blood sugar levels and decreasing the risk of insulin resistance,” she tells Yahoo Health.

Warren says it’s often helpful to make healthier swaps, like 100 percent whole-grain bread over white bread (the whole-grain version is a low-glycemic carbohydrate, which won’t cause as much of a blood sugar spike), and to eat every three hours to regulate your blood sugar.

Related: Can You Prevent Dementia Through Nutrition?

New York City registered dietitian Jessica Cording also recommends pairing foods that contain carbohydrates with protein and a healthy fat (think: an apple with almond butter). “Protein and fat has a buffering effect,” she tells Yahoo Health. “They help minimize blood sugar spikes as they slow digestion, promote satiety, and help maintain a slow-burning energy.”

Willette says moderate exercise can help as well. “You don’t need to do intense gym workouts,” he says, adding that all you need is 30 minutes a day, three days a week. “The more our muscles work, the more they sop up excess blood sugar all the time and prevent insulin resistance.”

Eat well and exercise … your future mental health depends on it.

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