Statin Drugs May Increase Diabetes Risk

Statin Drugs May Increase Diabetes Risk

New data from a large review (meta-analysis) of major statin trials suggests that the cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) slightly increase the risk of developing diabetes. The results of the study were published online February 17, 2010 in The Lancet.

“We found that there was indeed a risk of diabetes, about 9%, but it isn’t a worrying increase as had been suggested by other studies,” said lead investigator Dr David Preiss (University of Glasgow, Scotland). “Then again, it wasn’t a completely flat result. We did see [risk].”

Investigators stress that clinical practice should remain unchanged in patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk, given the benefits of statins seen in these populations.

However, statin medications are increasingly prescribed for low risk patients. The risk for developing diabetes is greater than the benefits of statin drugs in the low risk group.

Bottom line … protect yourself against diabetes if you’re taking a statin drug. The following nutrients help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and may provide the protection you need:

1. Soluble Fiber

Soluble fibers, such as apple pectin and glucomannan, help control blood sugar spikes after eating a meal. Nutritionists suggest supplementing with five grams 20 minutes before each meal.

2. Chromium

Chromium is a trace mineral critical for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It helps the transport of blood sugar (glucose) into cells, and thereby supports already-normal insulin action. Foods rich in chromium include eggs, lean beef, spinach, and apples.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon supports healthy glucose metabolism. It’s believed that a water-soluble cinnamon extract is the most effective form for daily supplementation. Additionally, cinnamon has been shown to support levels of triglycerides and cholesterol that are already within normal ranges.

4. Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid helps protect against oxidative stress generated by high glucose levels. Foods rich in lipoic acid include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and organ meat. If you decide to supplement, take the active form of lipoic acid. It’s known as the “R” form and is responsible for lipoic acid’s benefits.

Natural Support for Diabetic Nerves that Hurt

Natural Support for Diabetic Nerves that Hurt
Millions of people suffer needlessly from diabetic neuropathy because conventional medicine has nothing to offer but toxic medications that don’t work.

Fortunately, natural nerve support is available for nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. You can stop the pain and improve your quality of life by supplementing with specific nutrients proven to support healthy nerves.

1. Acetyl-L-carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to limit the neuropathy associated with diabetes. In two randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials, acetyl-L-carnitine, in daily doses of 500 mg and 1000 mg, was shown to yield significant reductions in pain.

2. Lipoic Acid

As a powerful antioxidant, lipoic acid positively affects important aspects of diabetes, including prevention, blood sugar control, and the development of long-term complications such as disease of the heart, kidneys, and small blood vessels.

It has also been shown to reduce the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy.

Clinical trials of people with diabetes who had symptoms caused by nerve damage affecting the heart showed significant improvement taking 800 mg of oral alpha-lipoic acid daily without significant side effects.

3. Curcumin

Researchers are continually discovering more benefits from curcumin, which is the yellow pigment that gives turmeric its distinctive golden hue.

In a study of inherited peripheral neuropathies, curcumin was shown to relieve neuropathy by causing the release of disease-associated proteins that are produced by a mutated gene.

4. Omega-6 Fats

Diabetics are not able to make the omega-6 fat, GLA, and it must be supplemented. GLA improves diabetic neuropathy if given long enough to work.

In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 111 people with mild diabetic neuropathy received either 480 mg GLA daily or a placebo.

After 12 months, the group taking GLA was doing significantly better than the placebo group. Good results were seen in two smaller studies as well.

5. Omega-3 Fats

The omega-3s are found in high quantities in coldwater fish such as salmon and are widely consumed for their anti-inflammatory powers.

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids and are important components of cell membranes, including the delicate myelin sheath that protects nerves.

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are able to reduce demyelination in the nerves of diabetic animals, which reduces neuropathic pain.

For more information on diabetic neuropathy, visit our protocol at http://www.lef.org/protocols/neurological/neuropathy_01.htm.

Stop Smoking! But Watch Out for Diabetes…

Stop Smoking! But Watch Out for Diabetes Smoking cessation predicts higher short-term risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a prospective cohort study reported in the January 5, 2010, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Cigarette smoking is an established predictor of incident type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the effects of smoking cessation on diabetes risk are unknown,” writes Hsin-Chieh Yeh, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that smoking cessation would increase diabetes risk in the short term, possibly caused by weight gain related to quitting smoking.

The study cohort consisted of 10,892 middle-aged adults free of diabetes at study enrollment from 1987 to 1989.

Interview at baseline and at subsequent follow-up determined smoking status. Incident diabetes was identified by fasting glucose assays through 1998 and by self-report of physician diagnosis or use of diabetes medications through 2004.

In the first three years of follow-up, 380 participants quit smoking. Compared with adults who never smoked, the incident of diabetes among former smokers was two times higher. The authors concluded, “Smoking cessation leads to higher short-term risk.”

For smokers at risk for diabetes, smoking cessation should be coupled with strategies for diabetes prevention and early detection.

What You Should Do

You should protect against diabetes after you quit smoking. Here are two strategies to consider…

1. Start a Borderline Diabetic Diet

A borderline diabetic diet reverses prediabetes. Preventing full-blown diabetes is ONLY possible with early dietary intervention. Start this diet before you quit smoking.

The diet consists of avoiding anything “white” and focusing on a higher protein based-diet.  Eating whole grains is allowed to a lesser extent.

2. Stop Blood Sugar Spikes

The diabetic diet guidelines begin with minimizing sugar spikes after meals. Carbohydrates result in a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. This is quickly followed by a rise in insulin levels.

The more insulin that’s released the greater the chance for developing insulin resistance … the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

Eat 10-15 grams of soluble fiber and try supplementing with 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar 10 minutes before each meal.

The Best Foods for Diabetics on Insulin

The best foods for diabetics on insulin are rich in nutrients that improve insulin sensitivity.  I call them “insulin promoters” because they promote more efficient cellular uptake of glucose from the blood. 

Eating a diet rich in promoters enhances the effects of insulin therapy by targeting insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.  Taking insulin when resistant to its effects simply won’t work. 

You have to re-sensitize your body to insulin with foods rich in promoters in order to gain optimal blood sugar control.  I suggest adding the following foods, rich in insulin promoters, to your diabetic diet today.

The Best Insulin Promoters

The best insulin promoters contain high levels of lipoic acid.  As a powerful antioxidant, lipoic acid positively affects blood sugar control and the development of long-term complications. 

It’s believed that lipoic acid promotes optimal glucose control by protecting insulin receptors located on the surface of muscle cells.  Successful insulin therapy is totally dependent on healthy receptors, making lipoic acid a key component of a diabetic diet. 

It’s effectiveness as an insulin promoter is best supported by the recent approval in Germany for its use in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Foods rich in lipoic acid include:

1. Collard greens
2. Lean red meats (organ meats)
3. Brewer’s yeast
4. Cruciferous Vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)

I also suggest taking a lipoic acid supplement.  Take the “R” form of lipoic acid.  This is the more active form found in nature.  Take between 200 mg and 300 mg/day.

The Second Best Insulin Promoters

The second best insulin promoters are foods rich in chromium.  It’s an essential trace mineral that plays a significant role in sugar metabolism.

Chromium helps control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and improves metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.  A study of type 2 diabetics compared two forms of chromium (brewer’s yeast and chromium chloride). 

Both forms of chromium significantly improved blood sugar control by promoting the uptake of glucose into the tissues after eating a carbohydrate rich meal.  Fasting blood glucose levels were also lowered during a 2 month follow-up period.

Foods rich in chromium include (in order of most to least):

1. Egg yolk
2. Brewer’s yeast
3. Breads (whole grain, wheat, sprouted, rye)
4. Apples
5. Spinach
6. Oranges

Summary

Insulin promoters, rich in lipoic acid and chromium, are the best foods for diabetics on insulin.  If you’re taking insulin, your diet should include foods like collard greens, broccoli, apples, and whole grain. 

If loaded with insulin promoters, the foods you eat could be the difference between disease and health.

How to Treat Varicose Veins…Naturally

The best way to treat varicose veins is to target the underlying problem…chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).  CVI is caused by a deterioration of the one-way flaps in veins designed to keep blood flowing toward the heart. Swollen with blood, the veins dilate and become visible “varicose veins” on the surface of the skin.

Although generally not life-threatening, varicose veins can decrease the quality of life.  They hurt and itch.  If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to serious medical conditions including phlebitis (inflammation of the veins) and blood clots.

Traditional treatments, like sclerotherapy (injections), fail because they don’t improve venous circulation.  But there’s hope.  Here’s how to treat varicose veins…naturally.

Diosmin

Diosmin, a component of orange peels, is a nutraceutical treatment shown to be effective and protective against the progression of chronic venous disease.  Diosmin protects veins and capillaries from inflammation and vascular-destructive compounds.

Likewise, micronized diosmin prevents tissue damage to blood vessel valves, preventing blood backflow. It is the only treatment that is effective in protecting you from the symptoms of chronic venous disease from the earliest stages up to the most severe stages.

Take 600 mg/day of diosmin.

Horse Chestnut Seed

Horse chestnut seed, cultivated in Europe and North America, supports healthy fluid balance and is vaso-protective (protective of vein structure).  The active ingredient is a substance called escin. 

Escin promotes increased blood circulation by increasing the tone in the walls of the veins, whereby enabling blood to flow unrestricted.  More recent studies indicate that aescin (extracted from horse chestnut seeds) may also possess anti-inflammatory effects useful in reducing edema, swelling caused by excess fluid, as result of injuries.

Take 250 mg/day of horse chestnut seed extract.

Combination Therapy

Combining diosmin with horse chestnut seed is the most effective way to treat varicose veins.  The combination has been shown to…

1. Maintain healthy blood flow through your capillaries

2. Maintain tone and elasticity of your veins

3. Ease vascular inflammation

Results can be seen in just 1-2 weeks.  To learn more, read the article published by Life Extension.  Go to www.lef.organd use the search terms “diosmin.”

How to Protect Against Breast Cancer From Hormone Replacement

Hormone replacement therapy with synthetic estrogen and progesterone increases the risk for breast cancer. What’s really scary is that your risk remains high even after you stop treatment. But there’s good news…a common cooking spice may offer some protection against this dreaded disease.

Breast Cancer & Hormone Replacement

Traditional hormone replacement uses synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone that are non-biological, or not identical, to human hormones. The synthetic hormones are chemically different and can disrupt normal breast cell metabolism leading to cancer.

The Women’s Health Initiative study of estrogen and progestin in healthy women was stopped early when researchers found an increased risk of developing cancer from the hormones. But it gets worse.

Stopping therapy may not reduce the risk. If you’re a breast cancer survivor and you took hormones to relieve menopause symptoms you’re three times more likely to develop a recurrence of the cancer.

So how can you protect yourself if you took non-biological hormones? The answer is the turmeric spice.

Protect with Turmeric

Scientists at the University of Missouri concluded that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, could prevent cancer in women who took the synthetic hormones. It slows tumor growth and reduces the overall incidence. Animal studies demonstrated that the spice stops the synthetic hormones from releasing cancer-promoting growth factors into healthy breast tissue.

The researchers concluded that, “…exposure to [synthetic hormones] will predispose a large number of postmenopausal women to future tumor development. The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing [breast cancer].”

There are additional health benefits attributed to turmeric spice beyond breast health. It’s a potent antioxidant, it reduces inflammation, it degrades chemical toxins, and it promotes normal cell growth throughout the body.

But there is a problem…turmeric is poorly absorb into the bloodstream. The conventional products don’t work because most of the spice never reaches the blood. You end up taking large doses which can get expensive. However, an advanced formulation with greater absorption was developed by a top biotechnology company.

Advanced Curcumin Formulation

The biotechnology company, Dolcas-Biotech, developed a “super” formula that absorbs up to seven times better than conventional products. Studies show that one 400 mg capsule a day results in blood levels equal to ingesting 2,500mg of conventional turmeric products. Not only does it result in higher blood levels, but the new formula remains active in the bloodstream almost twice as long.

Talk to your doctor about turmeric. If you need it, find a product that uses the advanced formula with the trademark name “BCM-95 Super Bio-Curcumin®” clearly printed on the label. Make sure each capsule provides 400 mg that is standardized to 95%.

If you have ever taken synthetic (non-biological) hormones, protect against breast cancer by supplementing daily with curcumin. The October 2007 Life Extension magazine has a must read article titled, A Novel Turmeric Compound. I strongly suggest that you read it now.

Prevent Heart Disease by Reversing Your Biological Clock

Human cells have biological clocks called telomeres which cap the ends of chromosomes. The telomeres shorten in length everytime a cell divides and replicates. Eventually, the telomeres become too short for cell division and the cell dies. Shorter telomeres accelerate a cell’s biological clock and are considered markers of aging.

Telomeres, Biological Clocks & Heart Disease

The American Heart Association discovered a link between shorter telomeres in white blood cells (immune cells called leukocytes) and the development of heart disease. Researchers sought to determine the relationship between telomere length and the risk of high blood pressure in men and women between the ages of 30 to 80 years.

The telomere length was measured in 388 people with high blood pressure and 379 healthy people. What they found was that older people and people with high blood pressure had the shortest telomeres.

It makes sense. High blood pressure causes physical damage to the white blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Damaged cells need to regenerate by initiating cycles of cellular division. The more a cell divides, the faster the telomeres shorten. The end result is an accelerated biological clock and aged immune cells.

Aged and dysfunctional immune cells can have devastating consequences. For instance, systemic inflammation increases and damages the arteries feeding the heart. Complications include higher blood pressure and an increased risk for stroke and heart disease.

Participants with shorter telomeres were found to be more than three times as likely to develop heart disease compared with those who had longer telomeres. Researches also found that if the healthy subjects developed high blood pressure over the course of follow-up they too had shorter telomeres.

Analysis of the data confirmed that both short telomeres and high blood pressure were independent risk factors for developing heart disease. To prevent heart disease you need to maintain healthy blood pressure and slow-down the biological clock by keeping telomeres long.

Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure

The trinity of nutrients can help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Supplementing your diet with these three powerful nutrients is simple, safe, and effective. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re taking blood pressure medications.

1. Grapeseed Extract

Supplementing with 150mg/day of a high quality grapeseed extract was shown in several studies to reduce and stabilize pressure.

2. Milk Peptides

Spliting milk protein in half creates a small protein fragment (peptides) called CVH-15. The protein fragment inhibits certain blood proteins that increase pressure. Take 1500mg/day of milk peptides.

3. Pomegranate Extract

A true superfood, pomegranate has been proven to work without side effects. Eating pomegranate is good, but you still need to supplement with 100mg/day.

Keeping Telomeres Long

HIV researchers from the National Institutes of Health have been exploring methods for lengthening the telomeres in white blood cells. White blood cells with long telomeres live longer and could strengthen the immune system in HIV patients. They successfully identify one herb that significantly lengthens the telomeres in white blood cells.

Astragalus is an herb cultivated in Asia and has been used for centuries to strengthen the immune system and treat winter viruses. The researchers concluded that 500mg/day of Astragalus can significantly lengthen the telomeres in white blood cells.

The Life Extension Foundation has tons of information on how to prevent heart disease. Visit the web site today at http://www.lef.org and use the search terms “heart disease.”  You will learn about innovative strategies for maintaining a healthy heart.