Flashback: Diabetes Breakthroughs in 2010

Dozens of scientific breakthroughs in the treatment of type 2 diabetes were made in 2010, but only a few made the headlines. In this article we’ll catch up on some of the more interesting and immediately applicable scientific findings that may help type 2 diabetics soon.

  1. Belly fat inflammation can be fought with a combination of resveratrol and quercetin. These two antioxidants are abundant in red wine, but a vastly better source of resveratrol is Chinese knotweed, used to make the over the counter product Longevinex, and a far better source of quercetin is grapefruit juice. (If you take prescription medications, including the Pill, check with your pharmacy before intentionally drinking more grapefruit juice.) Test tube tests of fat cells incubated with these two antioxidants found that they make far fewer inflammatory hormones that trap fluid and impede circulation.
  1. The mystery of why some people who eat a high-fat diet develop diabetes and others don’t may be explained in terms of immune power–only it’s an excess of immune power that leads to type 2 diabetes. High-fat diet leads to activation of the immune system’s T cells, and it’s the T cells that cause tissues to shut down their portals for insulin. If the immune system is a little less active, then the insulin resistance than causes type 2 diabetes does not occur. The best thing for type 2’s to do with this information? Eat a lower-fat diet! But be careful about stimulating your immune system unless you are trying to fight a specific infection.
  1. A plant chemical called abscisic acid lowers blood sugar levels by acting on the same genes that are activated by Actos and Avandia, but without weight gain or devastating side effects, say researchers at Virginia Tech reporting their findings in the November 2010 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. In plants, abscisic acid shuts down water loss and tender growth during growth or frost. In humans, abscisic acid turns on the mechanisms that store sugar in cells. The chemical is found in thale cress, also known as mouse-ear cress, which is been extensively studied for safety and agricultural development.
  1. University of North Carolina scientists tell us that a combination of the slow-acting insulin Lantus (which is only available with a prescription and which costs about $120 a vial in the US) and Byetta (exenatide, also available by prescription only for about $250 a month) is the “best combination ever” for controlling blood sugar levels while losing weight. In a multi-center study, researchers found taking insulin alone lowered blood sugar levels with about 2 pounds/1 kilo of weight gain per month, but adding Byetta to insulin resulted in 4 pounds/2 kilos weight loss. Our suggestion: Eat less! It’s a lot less expensive, and you won’t have the side effects of nausea, heartburn, or gas that often come with Byetta.
  1. Type 2 diabetics who also take diuretics for high blood pressure (especially Lasix, also known as furosemide) are at special risk for hearing loss. The solution, according to Nigerian physician Akeem Olawale Lasis, may be very simple: Take a folic acid supplement. This B vitamin is removed into the urine by the diuretic, and effects of taking a B vitamin supplement (which costs only pennies) on hearing and sight may be almost immediate. However, if you take the diuretic, you need to take the B vitamin supplement regularly or the benefits do not last.
  1. Scientists at the University of Leicester in the UK have found another piece of the puzzle of how diabetes develops by explaining the action of M3-muscarinic receptors. These proteins have to be activated for the pancreas to release insulin. Slow activation of these receptors may be the reason type 2 diabetes are only able to get their blood sugar levels back down to normal slowly after eating a meal.
  1. “Ab busters,” the vibrating devices advertised to help you lose belly fat without exercise by shocking or shaking your abdomen, may be on the right track, according to Dr. Amit Geffen of Tel Aviv University. The question is whether the mechanical stress is too light to have any effect or so strong it causes inflammation. Dr. Geffen’s team is performing experiments to find the right setting for “belly fat belts” that really work. Your own ab buster, however, may work for you.
  1. White bread that lowers both your blood sugar levels and insulin production? That is what Dr. Suzanne Hendrich of Iowa State University says it possible with a new kind of fiber that is chemically bound to the fatty acid found in palm oil. The objective of Dr. Hendrich and dozens of other fiber researchers is to find a way to make healthy fiber taste good and feel good as it goes down. Reporting her research team’s findings in the journal Cereal Chemistry, Hendrich says that blood sugar levels after eating her high-fiber white bread were 55% lower than in volunteers eating the same amount of carb without the fiber.
  1. A team of researchers at Université Laval’s Faculty of Pharmacy have found that use of large amounts of the over the counter arthritis treatment glucosamine can damage insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The recommended dose of 1,500 mg a day does not have this effect, but boosting glucosamine dosage to 7,500 to 15,000 mg a day (which many people do to try to stop joint pain) may lead to type 2 diabetes.
  1. Finally, Dr. Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that garlic oil may help protect type 2 diabetics from the devastating form of heart damage known as cardiomyopathy. Dr. Kuo notes that there are over 20 substances in garlic oil that help protect the heart.

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