~ July 2005 - Strategies for Controlling Blood Sugar

Contents . . .
  • High Blood Sugar - Integrative Strategies for Supporting Healthy Metabolism

    By Bruce Scali

    According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 5 million of the 20 million Americans who have diabetes have not yet been diagnosed with the disease. A condition of elevated blood sugar, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. If current trends continue, diabetes and its complications will be America's leading cause of death by 2010, surpassing both cancer and heart disease.

    Diabetes is fast becoming a global epidemic. In the US alone, more than 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year, with associated health costs that exceed $100 billion.1 Worldwide, diabetes cases are expected to grow from the 135 million people who were diagnosed in 1995 to at least 300 million by 2025, with a 42% increase in industrialized countries and a stunning 170% increase in developing nations.2,3 Life expectancy is typically four to eight years lower for diabetics than for non-diabetics.4

    The American Diabetes Association reports that the risk of death for diabetics is two times that for non-diabetics.

    What Is Diabetes?

    After eating carbohydrate-dense foods like white rice, white bread, and potatoes, the body breaks down these starchy foods into the simple sugar, glucose. Glucose serves as the primary energy source for the human body. The hormone insulin transports glucose into cells where it can be used as fuel. When the body does not produce enough insulin, or if the cells do not respond to the insulin that the body produces, glucose builds up in the blood, a condition called hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. This metabolic defect produces free radicals as well as advanced glycation end products,5 which are formed when a sugar molecule attaches to a free amino acid to create a non-functioning structure in the body. High blood sugar that leads to oxidation and glycation is associated with serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness, and vascular problems that can necessitate an amputation.5,6

    While a definitive cause for diabetes has not been identified, genetic predisposition, environmental factors such as viruses and chemicals, and nutritional and other lifestyle factors may contribute to its incidence. Sedentary lifestyles and modern diets that are rich in refined starches (white bread, pasta, white rice) and sugars (sodas, breakfast cereals, candy) account for much of the explosive growth in diabetes cases.

    Learn about choices you can make to reduce your chances of developing this disease . . .
  • Syndrome X Defined

    Syndrome X (Metabolic Syndrome - Insulin Resistance and Hyperinsulinemia)

    Eclectic physicians have, for the past 20 years, judged hyperinsulinism, or Syndrome X, a powerful indicator of an eventual heart attack.

    For clarity, let it be understood that a syndrome represents clusters of symptoms; in Syndrome X the symptoms are an inability to fully metabolize carbohydrates, hypertriglyceridemia, reduced HDL, smaller, denser LDL particles, increased blood pressure, visceral adiposity, disrupted coagulation factors, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and, often, increased levels of uric acid.

    For years, high uric acid levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease, but the relationship was poorly understood. Dr. Gerald Reaven unraveled the link when he determined that elevations in uric acid are, often, promulgated by Syndrome X; Syndrome X, in turn, is a forerunner to heart disease. (Fang et al., 2000)

    Until hyperinsulinemia is diagnosed and a therapeutic course charted, the arteries are under severe attack and the risk of a blood clot increases. Lesions, i.e., wounds and injuries, damage the arteries; attempts at vascular repair corrode the vasculature with atheromatous material, blockading and closing off vital circulatory routes. The population of sticky platelets increases, as well as the production of free radicals. Lipogenesis (the production and accumulation of fat in arterial tissue) encourages smooth muscles in the vasculature to proliferate. Along with excessive amounts of fibrinogen (a plasma protein that encourages the clotting of blood), PAI-1 (an inhibitor of the fibrinolytic process) becomes more active, further increasing the likelihood of a blood clot. HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme involved in hepatic cholesterol production, appears simulated in both diabetic and non-diabetic animal studies amidst high levels of insulin. (Dietsschy et al., 1974)

    Syndrome X interferes with glucose delivery, a consequence initiated by insulin's nonresponsiveness at the receptor site on the cell. Normally, ordinary levels of insulin will escort glucose into the cell, leaving a bloodstream favoring neither hyper or hypoglycemia. In Syndrome X, the receptor turns a cold shoulder to the hormone and insulin is no longer able to deposit its cargo; as a result glucose loads up in the bloodstream. The pancreas is aware of the problem and attempts to resolve it by discharging more and more insulin. The logic appears to be: since normal levels of insulin cannot get the job done, perhaps greater and greater amounts of circulating insulin will be able to drive glucose, the principal metabolic fuel, into our 60 trillion cells.

    In most cases of type 2-diabetes the problem is insulin resistance and inadequate compensatory insulin; in Syndrome X, insulin resistance and excessive amounts of insulin are the hallmarks. The vast difference between the two conditions is that in Syndrome X, the pancreas does not falter in its effort to pump out insulin. It sounds as if the host has won but the following reasons discredit this logic.

    * The pancreas can tire in its endless effort to supply compensatory insulin and insulin-dependent diabetes will result.

    * Hormones are powerful substances with equally meaningful purpose. When insulin is not used for its intended functions, insulin builds up in the blood stream, and, from various perspectives, the risk of heart disease increases.

    For example, hyperinsulinemia increases the risk of hypertension (twofold), hypertriglyceridemia (three to fourfold), type 2-diabetes (five to sixfold), and reduces HDL cholesterol levels. The Quebec Cardiovascular Study found that individuals with elevated levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, plus low HDL cholesterol had 4.4 times the risk of heart disease compared to men with none of the risk factors. But, the risk soars to twenty fold in men with similar cardiovascular profiles who are also hyperinsulinemic. The Quebec study showed that with each 30% elevation in insulin levels, there was a 70% increase in the risk of heart disease over a five-year period. (Despres et al., 1996)

    Many physicians fail to consider insulin resistance as a forerunner to both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A fasting blood glucose above 115 mg dL, triglycerides above 160 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol (one fourth of total cholesterol), blood pressure persistently over 140/90 mmHg, total cholesterol above 240 mg/dL, and 10-15 pounds of extra weight usually gives a fair indication as to whether or not the patient has some degree of insulin resistance. (Challem et al., 2000) If fasting or two-hour postprandial (after meal) insulin levels are measured, a normal range is 6-35 mcIU/mL; a normal two-hour postprandial glucose is generally between 70-139 mg/dL. (Fasting and two-hour postprandial insulin levels are not standardized; subsequently variances in reference ranges occur.) Even if these tests are run, physicians, often, err in properly assessing the cumulative values of multiple irregularities. The signs are all there, but failure to connect the dots can lead to a treatment that never addresses the source of the ill health.

    Syndrome X is, largely, a nutritional disease that is manageable with dietary corrections, i.e., reducing carbohydrates as sweets, pastas, and breads and instating "good fats" in carbohydrates place.

    It has been determined that the quantity of food consumed, as well as the type of food selected, determines how much insulin must be supplied. The Harvard University School of Public Health announced that women between the ages of 38-63 increased their risk of heart attack by 40% if their diet contained quantities of carbohydrates, particularly of refined nature. Though refined carbohydrates are the most maligned, even starchy vegetables, as potatoes, corn, yams, carrots, peas, and most beans can be troublesome to some.

    Dr. Gerald Reaven, renowned authority on Syndrome X believes an appropriate breakdown of the food groups should be about 45% of calories from carbohydrate, 40% from fat, and 15% from protein. Substituting fats for carbohydrates quiets an insulin release from the pancreas, and a primary step in Syndrome X has been aborted.

    Dr. Reaven cautions that current dietary recommendations, i.e., replacing fats with carbohydrates may be fine for some individuals but a grievous, even fatal, suggestion for those insulin resistant.
  • Nutritional Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Syndrome X and Type II Diabetes

    This article highlights nutrients and herbs that have won favor as antidiabetic agents. It is extremely important to note (before embarking on any diabetic regime) that the first treatment for Type II diabetes is always diet.

    It is important to understand that there are multiple pathological factors involved in common diabetic complications such as neuropathy, blindness, arteriosclerosis, renal failure, and so forth. It is therefore necessary to guard against as many of these underlying mechanisms as is practical to avoid experiencing debilitating and lethal diabetic consequences.

    Read the full article . . .

    There is also a Diabetes Protocol and a Weight Loss Protocol online . . .
  • Featured Product: ChonoForte - "Shield Against Time". Aging causes damage to proteins such as carbonylation (protein oxidation) and glycation (protein-sugar cross-linking). Aging also causes mitochondrial energy to diminish and age-associated low level systemic inflammatory reactions to become pronounced. In addition, aging can cause imbalances in levels of blood glucose, resulting in systemic damage throughout the body.

    Chronoforte is a multi-nutrient combination designed to help protect against age-related processes.

    Carnosine is a multifunctional dipeptide made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine. It is found both in food and in the human body. Carnosine interferes with the destructive mechanisms of carbonylation and glycation, thus keeping protein healthy.

    L-carnitine is an amino acid that helps to maintain cellular energy metabolism by assisting in the transport of fat through the cell membrane and into the mitochondria within the cell, where these fats are oxidized to produce the cellular energy ATP. Acetyl-L-carnitine is the acetyl ester of the amino acid L-carnitine and is absorbed into the bloodstream more efficiently than L-carnitine, passes more easily through cell membranes, and is utilized more efficiently in the mitochondria of the cell.

    Alpha lipoic acid is a unique fat- and water-soluble antioxidant with broad-spectrum health-promoting benefits. In combination with acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid can help maintain mitochondrial function, resulting in improved cellular energy. Alpha lipoic acid is also a key enzymatic energy co-factor and can boost levels of glutathione, the body's natural antioxidant.

    The herbal extracts, nettle leaf and stephania, help to maintain normal levels of TNF-a, IL-1B, and 1L-6 believed to contribute to the destructive cascade that can affect almost every system in the body, including a healthy immune system.

    Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 (thiamine) that helps to guard cells against the negative effects of glucose. Elevated glucose can lead to damage of the endothelial lining of the blood vessels, retina, and kidneys.

    The flavonoid, quercetin, helps to maintain a normal balance of nuclear factor kappa B and stabilizes mast cells. Quercetin helps promote healthy blood flow and blocks the accumulation of the carbohydrate, sorbital, that can lead to neural tissue damage. The multi-nutrient, ChronoForte, is newly formulated with the addition of benfotiamine. These ingredients provide synergistic action against the destructive processes associated with maturation.

    Supplement Facts

    Serving Size: 3 capsules
    Servings Per Container: 60
    Amount Per Serving

    * Acetyl-L-carnitine - 1000mg
    * Carnosine - 500mg
    * Nettle leaf extract - 375mg
    * Biotin - 3000mcg
    * Alpha lipoic acid - 150mg
    * Quercetin (water-soluble) - 75mg
    * Luteolin - 4mg
    * Benfotiamine - 75mg
    * Zinc - 7.5mg

    Other ingredients: gelatin and water.

    Dosage and Use: Six capsules daily is recommended

    Note: A 180 capsule bottle of ChronoForte will last for 30 days based on the recommended dose of three capsules, twice a day. It is important to note that in order to benefit from carnosine, it requires that six capsules a day of ChronoForte be taken. The reason for this is that the body automatically metabolizes lower amounts of carnosine into an inert substance, but the body cannot neutralize the amount of carnosine (1000 mg) contained in six capsules of ChronoForte.
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