Exercise, Uber Medicine

As someone who exercises an average of ten hours a week, I love reading reports like this. New research suggests young type-1 diabetics benefit from exercise. When is exercise ever a bad thing? Anyway, Madeline Vann of HealthDay News is on it:
The researchers analyzed the physical activity levels outside of school and cardiovascular health of more than 23,000 subjects between the ages of 3 and 18. They found that heart health increased as the amount of physical activity increased.

The more active the children were, the lower the percentage of patients with high cholesterol and triglycerides. Nearly 40 percent of those with no regular physical activity had high cholesterol and triglycerides. Of the children who were active once or twice a week, 36 percent had high cholesterol and triglycerides, and for those who were active three or more times a week, only 34.4 percent had high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Writing in the August issue of Diabetes Care the researchers reported that children who were active at least once or twice per week were also less likely to have high blood pressure than those who had no exercise.
Since we’re talking about type-1 diabetes, it’s important to remember there is Hope for Type 1 Childhood Onset Diabetics.

Your Waist, Your Heart

We all know excess bodyweight increases your risk of disease, and clearly, a really big waist probably means you’re sporting extra pounds. Now, new research claims reducing waist size decreases one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes—makes sense, seems like the opposite. Reuters reports:
French researchers found that men and women whose waistlines expanded by 3 inches or more over nine years were at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome -- a collection of risk factors, including high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, that raise a person's odds of diabetes and heart disease.

In contrast, women who shed just an inch or more from their midsections had a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than women whose waistlines stayed the same.

What's more, a slimmed-down middle benefited women who already had metabolic syndrome at the study's outset, the researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care. Compared with women who had metabolic syndrome and an unchanged waistline, those who lost an inch or more were nearly four times more likely to no longer have the syndrome at the study's close.

(via The Cardio-Blog)
Not exactly eye-opening research, but important nonetheless. Dr. Fuhrman often stresses that the one of the keys to long-term health and disease-prevention is maintaining healthy bodyweight. Take heart disease for example; from Reverse Heart Disease Aggressively:
When you normalize your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol with nutritional intervention rather than drugs, you accomplish even greater risk reduction. As your weight drops, your blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol also drop dramatically. Your body is flooded with nutrients that protect your blood vessels from disease and rupture. This approach provides maximal protection and offers benefits beyond merely lowering cholesterol.

The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis.

Keep on Trucking...Healthier

The Diabetes Blog passes on some new research outlining the health risks for most truck drivers. Look:
According to a new survey of truckers, that lifestyle of long hours sitting on your tushie is catching up with the nation's big rig drivers. Obesity is rampant and so are obesity-related health problems like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Oh, then there's sleep apnea, smoking, and the fact that many drivers admit they don't bother with seatbelts.
Too bad all truck drives can’t look like this:

Diabetes Drug: Triple the Side Effects

Not good news for the makers of the diabetes medication Avandia, its got some real-real serious side effects. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports:
In the month after a surprising analysis revealed possible heart risks from the blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia, reports of side effects to federal regulators tripled.

The sudden spike is a sign that doctors probably were unaware of the drug's possible role in their patients' heart problems and therefore may not have reported many such cases in the past, several experts said.

It also shows the flaws of the safety tracking system and suggests that a better one might have detected a potential problem before the drug had been on the market for eight years.

Avandia is used to control blood sugar, helping more than 6 million people worldwide manage Type 2 diabetes, the kind that is linked to obesity. These people already are at higher risk for heart attacks, so news that the drug might raise this risk by 43 percent was especially disturbing.
Now, for a real way to treat—and even prevent diabetes—check out Don't Settle For Diabetes.

UPDATE: Diabetes: Easy as Pumpkin Pie?

New research suggests pumpkin extract may be better for Type-1 diabetics than insulin. Madeline Vann of HealthDay News is on it:
Type 1 diabetic rats fed the extract had only 5 percent fewer plasma insulin and 8 percent fewer insulin positive (beta) cells than rats without diabetes. According to the researchers, the extract helped damaged pancreatic cells responsible for insulin production to regenerate and make more insulin.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Lead researcher Tao Xia, of East China Normal University in Shanghai, noted that although insulin shots will probably always be necessary for type 1 diabetics, pumpkin extract could drastically reduce the amount of insulin needed.
Although, studies using Jack-o-lantern extract have proved less than encouraging.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one with a snarky comment. Here's what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this research:
Hard to believe that it could work so well in humans, I don't even believe this study, doesn't even intuitively make sense, that damaged and non-functioning beta cells could come back to life after exposure to a pumpkin. Maybe Cinderella's fairy godmother is behind this?

Diabetes: Vitamin C, Good!

The Diabetes Blog takes a look a new research linking intake of Vitamin C with fewer diabetes complications. Take a look:
Vitamin C packs a punch, they said, because it helps to clean up ("scavenge," in the words of lead researcher Antonio Ceriello) free radicals - molecules that cause tissue damage. This is of particular concern for diabetics because diabetics' bodies produce more free radicals than those of non-diabetics. This is why diabetics are especially likely to suffer from heart disease. It is also why diabetics are prone to tissue and nerve damage in the feet and legs - damage that all-too-often necessitates amputation.
Oh course, you could always just knock diabetes out for good: Don't Settle For Diabetes.

Diabetes: Caveman or Mediterranean?

More lumps for the Mediterranean diet. New research has revealed that the Mediterranean diet doesn’t stack up against something called the “Stone Age” diet. The Diabetes Blog is on it:
Scientists took a small group of fourteen glucose intolerant heart patients and put them on the diet of a lifetime: lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts. This, it is assumed, is the sort of diet consumed by our Stone Age ancestors - hunter gatherers who lived around 70,000 years ago, long before the emergence of agriculture. Meanwhile, another group of patients with similar health issues were put on a supposedly healthy "Mediterranean diet" rich in whole grains, dairy, fruits and veggies, and unsaturated fats. Well, you guessed it. After twelve weeks, the researchers found those on the Stone Age diet had much more stable blood sugar levels and were better able to process carbohydrates without such major blood sugar fluctuations. In fact, all the Stone Age patients had normal blood glucose levels by the end of the study and also dropped a few pounds too. Those on the Mediterranean diet, however, experienced hardly any changes at all.
Now, talk about setting the bar low. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t speak too highly of the Mediterranean diet. Just consider the people Crete. More from Eat to Live:
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
As someone who reads a lot of health blogs, I already see the trouble with this research. Lots of people hear the words “cave man” or “Stone Age” diet and right away they start thinking primitive people and eating lots of meat is the secret to long-term health—a dangerous assumption according to Dr. Fuhrman. He talks about it in Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer:
No. For example, Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.2

Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.3

We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.
In regard to diabetes, Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, the best way to prevent and reverse Type-2 diabetes is a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet. More on that from Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

Fortunately, the best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat to Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
And fat? It’s especially bad for the diabetic. Dr. Fuhrman talks about fat and diabetes in his book Fasting and Eating for Health:
Experiments described in the medical literature have tested the effects of high-fat diets on insulin intolerance. In one study, healthy young medical students were fed a very high fat diet containing egg yolks, heavy cream, and butter, and within two days all of the students had blood sugar levels high enough to be labeled diabetic.4 Complex carbohydrates have been shown to have the opposite effect.5
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