Meta-analysis Finds Cocoa Flavanols Can Improve Both Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Resistance

  • Cocoa (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae)
  • Flavanols
  • Cardiometabolic Diseases
  • Biomarkers
  • Systematic Review/Meta-analysis

Cardiometabolic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are worldwide health concerns. Previous studies have shown that the consumption of chocolate (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Chocolate, cocoa, or their flavanol compounds may also attenuate blood pressure according to numerous prior randomized clinical trials (RCTs). This systematic review and meta-analysis compiled and analyzed results from RCTs to determine whether consumption of cocoa flavanols impacted markers of cardiometabolic health; also addressed were impacts of study design, participant characteristics, and dosage.

The databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for clinical trials reported in English that were published from January 1965 to December 2015. Search terms included “cacao,” “cocoa,” “chocolate,” “clinical trial,” “controlled clinical trial,” and “RCT.” RCTs that had a group consuming cocoa products, chocolate, or cocoa flavanols; a placebo group; and measurements of markers of cardiometabolic health at baseline and endpoint were screened for possible inclusion. Those studies that were not RCTs; did not include a placebo group; did not use cocoa products, chocolate, or cocoa flavanols; assessed cardiometabolic health markers more than one week after treatment; included cocoa flavanol dosage at < 100 mg/day; had pregnant women, children, or adolescents as participants; or did not include endpoint results were not considered.

From a total of 326 publications, 19 RCTs were analyzed with 1131 participants. Authors noted study details, participant parameters, and outcome assessments. Study risk of bias was measured using Cochrane Collaboration’s tool; this is informed by criteria such as random sequence generation, allocation concealment, and others. The risk was rated as low, unclear, or high.

RCTs reported an average participant age of 30-71 years. A dosage of cocoa flavanols was 166-2110 mg/day, and length of treatment was two to 52 weeks. Eleven RCTs were crossover studies, eight had a placebo-controlled parallel format, and 13 had participants with comorbidities. The risk of performance bias was deemed low for seven RCTs, and of the six studies that reported details on blinding of outcome assessment, one RCT was considered to have a high risk of bias. Two RCTs had missing outcome data, and a high risk of bias was also assigned to two RCTs due to low compliance or other reasons.

In those consuming cocoa flavanols, compared with the placebo groups, triglyceride concentrations were significantly decreased (weighted mean difference [WMD], −0.10 mmol/L; 95% confidence intervals [CI], −0.16 mmol/L, −0.04 mmol/L; P < 0.001) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentrations increased significantly (WMD, 0.06 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.02 mmol/L, 0.09 mmol/L; P < 0.001). Also, fasting insulin concentrations in those treated with cocoa flavanols were significantly decreased as compared with the placebo groups (WMD, −2.33 µIU/ml; 95% CI, −3.47 µIU/ml, −1.19 µIU/ml; P < 0.001). This was also seen with the homeostatic model assessment–insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) results, where a decrease indicates improved insulin sensitivity (WMD, −0.93; 95% CI, −1.31, −0.55; P < 0.001). The quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI; higher values indicate improved insulin sensitivity) significantly increased in those consuming cocoa flavanols as compared with placebo groups (WMD, 0.03; 95% CI, 0.01, 0.05; P = 0.01). This was also seen with the insulin sensitivity index (WMD, 2.54; 95% CI, 0.63, 4.44; P = 0.01).

C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) was significantly decreased in those consuming cocoa flavanols as compared to those consuming placebo (WMD, −0.83 mg/dl; 95% CI, −0.88 mg/dl, −0.77 mg/dl; P < 0.001). A significant increase in vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (a possible indicator of vascular stress) also was observed (WMD, 85.6 ng/mL; 95% CI, 16.0 ng/mL, 155 ng/mL; P = 0.02). Oxidative stress markers were unaffected. There was no impact of participant age or sex, study duration or format, or form of cocoa flavanols on lipid metabolism or insulin resistance; however, a dosage of < 200 mg/day was significantly correlated with higher HDL cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.001). The dosage of ≥ 200 and < 600 mg/day resulted in significantly decreased fasting glucose (P < 0.001) and elevated HDL cholesterol (P = 0.001). A dosage of ≥ 600 mg/day was associated with significantly decreased fasting insulin (P = 0.004).

This meta-analysis suggests that the consumption of cocoa flavanols can impact both lipid metabolism and insulin resistance. These results agree with certain previous studies. The authors mention that flavanols are associated with multiple cellular mechanisms, including beneficial effects on the vasculature, insulin secretion, and glucose uptake. Discussed limitations include variations in the number of studies reporting certain outcomes, small sample sizes in certain RCTs, and differing treatment duration, among others. The authors call for further RCTs that target the clinical relevance of potential cocoa flavanol impact on cardiometabolic markers.

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland); American Heart Association (Dallas, Texas); Mars Symbioscience (Germantown, Maryland); National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (Bethesda, Maryland); and Pfizer (New York, New York). Three of the authors (Manson, Sesso, and Wang)received support from Mars Symbioscience for an investigator-initiated clinical trial testing cocoa flavanols.

Resource:

Lin X, Zhang I, Li A, et al. Cocoa flavanol intake and biomarkers for cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Nutr. November 2016;146(11):2325-2333.

Theobroma cacao is an evergreen tree in the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is native to tropical Central and South America. Cocoa contains flavanols that improve circulation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a malady pertaining to the eyes and it concerns the retina, which is also called the ‘projection screen’ in the eye on which light that traverses the eye lens is beamed. When an individual has diabetic retinopathy, the capillaries that supply nourishment’s to the retina of the patient either seep out blood or fluids. Such seepage causes insufficient blood circulation to the cells that are receptive to light and transmit visual signals to the optic nerve, which, in turn, transports these impulses/ signals to the brain. It may be noted that diabetic retinopathy is the most widespread reason for the loss of eyesight in individuals having acute diabetes. Generally, diabetic retinopathy does not produce any symptoms till the patient begins to lose vision.

There are a number of risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy and these may include the patient’s age, the duration for which he/ she is having diabetes as well as the presence of glycosylated hemoglobin, a gluey protein, in the patient’s blood. The presence of any growth factor akin to insulin, a hormone made in excessive amounts when one is having diabetes, is an added risk factor for developing this condition. This hormone stimulates the development of the delicate capillaries, which break easily and cause fluid leakage, in the eye. The usual or standard treatment for diabetic retinopathy comprises laser surgery that closes up the trickling blood vessels.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy with herbs or herbal products mostly helps to prevent the development of this condition. In fact, herbs providing bioflavonoids in abundance help to make the capillaries stronger and, at the same time, inhibit the progression or put off diabetic retinopathy even in conditions when the blood sugar levels of the patient are not controlled adequately. However, the most effective precautionary measure against diabetic retinopathy is controlling the blood sugar levels carefully and also having eye tests on a regular basis to detect the problem in its early stage.

Supplements and Herbs:

There are a number of herbs and supplements that are effective in preventing diabetic retinopathy and some of them are listed below. However, before you start taking any of these herbs or supplements, it is important that you consult your physician.

Bilberry tablets taken in dosage of 240 mg to 360 mg everyday aid in putting off the formation of blood clots in the vessels that supply nourishment’s to the retina. Similarly, chanca piedra tincture taken in dosage of one full dropper in half a cup (125 ml) of water two times every day discontinues the development of compounds that harm the retina.

You may also take tablets of the herb ginkgo in a dosage of anything between 160 mg and 180 mg once every day, as they help in avoiding any damage to the retina cells whose function is to distinguish colors. You may also take hawthorn tablets in dosage of 100 mg to 250 mg thrice every day. Hawthorn tablets aid in fortifying the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the surface of the eyes. In addition, this herb also works to lessen the receptiveness of the blood vessels to emotional strain.

Intake of jambul seeds is also beneficial, as they not only bring down the level of blood sugar but also slow down the inflammation in the blood vessels. Use these seeds in cooking every day in a dosage of two teaspoons to one tablespoon (about 3 gm to 5 gm). Taking tablets containing extracts of grape seed or pine bark, which enclose oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC) in a dosage of 200 mg every day also strengthens the capillaries in the retina and helps to prevent diabetic retinopathy.

Antioxidants help in lessening the inflammation in the blood vessels. As mentioned earlier, grape seed extract encloses the procyanidins that make the capillaries in the retina stronger and also put off bleeding and formation of blood clots. At the same time, this herbal product supplies the retina with the essential nourishment’s retards the aging of the eyes and augments vision during the night. In addition, grape seed extract also helps in preventing as well as treating diabetic retinopathy and arteriosclerosis in the eye.

Take quercetin tablets in dosage of 125 mg to 250 mg thrice every day between your meals. This supplement inhibits the development of growth factors like insulin and also puts off the formation of blood clots. Take the tablet form of soy isoflavone concentrate in a dosage of 3,000 mg once every day, as it also retards the development of insulin-like growth factor.

In addition, vitamin A, as well as carotenoids, are essential for maintaining healthy eyes and also to improve your vision during the night. Also, consume spinach and get spinach extract or lutein, as they enclose carotenoid that is essential for the eye and retina tissue. It has also been found that at times the use of these substances helps to turn around several eye conditions.

In Addition:

Besides undergoing surgery, taking conventional medications and herbs as well as supplements, you may do a few more things to prevent as well as treat diabetic retinopathy. For instance, you should consume blueberries, blackberries, and cherries in the amount that is permitted in your diet. These fruits enclose proanthocyanidins, which are akin to those present in the herb hawthorn, and strengthen the minute blood vessels supplying nutrients to the retina.

In addition, you should also take glutamine in a dosage of 1,000 milligrams every day. It has been found that glutamine has the aptitude to inhibit or put off any harm to the retina by means of thwarting any damage caused by the free radicals. Nevertheless, you should not take supplements containing glutamine in case you are suffering from liver cirrhosis or any problems related to the kidneys. You should also keep away from glutamine supplements if you ever suffered from Reye’s syndrome in the past. It may be noted here that uncooked parsley and spinach are among the excellent glutamine resources.

It is important to note that you should never miss any insulin shot in an attempt to lose weight. In fact, medical literature contains several accounts of people developing diabetic retinopathy when they either took insulin shots in lessened dose or totally skipped taking the injections with a view to controlling their weight. This is all the more true in adult women and teenagers.

In addition, you need to stay away from taking supplements containing vitamin C. It may be underlined that when you augment the dose of vitamin C, it results in the deterioration of diabetic retinopathy, particularly in individuals having diabetes, but do not take insulin shots.

Also, ensure that you have your eyes examined at least once every year to check if you have developed diabetic retinopathy. While it is possible to stop vision loss or blindness by undergoing laser surgery, you should know that every laser weld results in an everlasting blind spot in the retina, even in cases where laser surgery is very successful. While at times it may become essential to undergo a laser surgery, it is always better to take precautions to prevent the development of this condition – prevention is definitely a better approach than cure.

It may be noted that tight control is a schedule where you maintain the fasting levels of blood sugar in the range of 125 to 135 milligrams for every deciliter (mg/dl), while the after a meal or post-prandial blood sugar level is maintained at around 165 mg/dl. You may backup tight control by means of having your blood examined for HbA1C or the proportion of the ‘sticky’ red blood cells (erythrocytes). Any reading of blood sugar levels less than 6.5 percent substantiates tight control. Currently, physicians recommend this program for all people having diabetes, as it helps to lessen the chances of diabetic retinopathy by approximately 60 percent.

It is worth mentioning here that tight control is just a part of a greater all-inclusive program called intensive therapy. Besides tight control, this method makes use of an arrangement comprising diet, workouts, and medicines to regulate high blood pressures. The findings of a study involving 166 diabetic patients revealed that intensive therapy lowered the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy by an added 55 percent, as well as produced even considerably lesser incidences of damage to the nerve as well as kidney ailments. However, tight control also has a downside and it is weight gain. In spite of the intake of a number of calories equal to that taken by individuals in a control group as well as consuming less amount of fat, it was found that people undergoing intensive therapy for about two years have gained an additional weight of about nine pounds (four kilograms) on average, compared to those in the control group. Nevertheless, it is possible to counterbalance this consequence of intensive therapy by using the herb wild angelica.

While acupuncture cannot replace other modes of treatment, including surgery, it has the ability to reinstate the regular blood circulation to the eyes and, at the same time, inhibit the development of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, acupuncture also has the aptitude to reduce the internal pressure of the eye attributable to glaucoma, a condition that may occur together with diabetic retinopathy.

Scientists at the National Eye Institute have induced a medical condition that bears a resemblance to diabetic retinopathy in dogs and, subsequently, treated these animals using a trial medicine known as sorbinil that works to repress the activities of an enzyme that transforms surplus blood sugar into alcohol, which is believed to damage the blood vessels supplying to the retina. The study conducted by these researchers used sorbinil successfully to obstruct the advancement of diabetic retinopathy.

The very thought that you may become blind can itself be terrifying and, in such cases, you will benefit by consulting a therapist. Your physician too will be able to help you by providing a referral. Alternately, you may also find that the company and support offered by any support group are useful for you. Hence, it is advisable that you talk to your physician regarding the support groups for individuals having diabetic retinopathy in your locality.

In case your vision has already been damaged to some extent, you should consult your physician regarding low vision products plus services, which are capable of making your daily life easier. For instance, you may opt for special lenses, magnifiers as well as video magnifiers.

Diabetes May Augment Liver Ailment Risks

It is common knowledge that people suffering from diabetes are also vulnerable to loss of vision as well as kidney failure. While this has been known for ages, the latest study suggests that things may be even worse for people enduring diabetes. The new study hints at other possible harmful outcome of the ailment. According to the findings of the research, people who have developed diabetes recently may also face a higher risk of having severe liver ailments, including liver failure and/ or cirrhosis.

The new study was undertaken by the scientists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences was recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. During the course of the research, the scientists made use of the vast database of medical claims in Ontario to investigate whether people who develop diabetes also face an increased risk of developing a potential liver ailment. In effect, the scientists searched the unidentified records of as many as 2.5 million people in the age group of 30 and 75 years over 12 years between April 1, 1994, and March 31, 2006.

The authors of the study perceive that the medical rules do not make it mandatory for the physicians to monitor for or undertake any tests on diabetes patients for problems related to the liver. This means that the physicians virtually neglect the medical conditions of a vital organ like the liver while treating a diabetes patient. And, this, they say, makes the situation all the more critical. The findings of the research undertaken by the scientists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences stated that people who were freshly identified as having diabetes seemed to face around 77 percent more risk of having a serious liver ailment compared to people who did not endure diabetes.

During the course of their research, the scientist made a comparative study to find the rate of liver diseases in approximately 440,000 people who were identified of having developed diabetes between April 1, 1994, and March 31, 2006, and a little over two million people who did not suffer from the disease. Keeping in view a mean of 6.4 years from being diagnosed with diabetes, the scientists discovered that as many as 2,463 people enduring the malady and 5,902 people who did not develop the ailment were found to be suffering from some or the other kind of liver ailment. This denoted that the rate of liver diseases was 8.19 for every 10,000 person years for those enduring diabetes and around 4.17 for every 10,000 person-years for people who have not been diagnosed of developing diabetes.

When the researchers amended the data available from the study with a view to eliminating the influences of age difference, disparity in income, variation in health care habit and medical conditions existing from before, such as any heart ailment, hypertension or high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol levels in blood stream, they came to the conclusion that people who had been recently diagnosed with diabetes faced around 77 per cent higher risks of developing serious liver disorders compared to people who did not have the disease.

The scientists also observed that a previous study conducted on the subject in the United States had found the perils of developing liver ailments was almost twofold for people having diabetes. However, they stated that most of the patients who were examined in the study conducted in the United States were nearly all elderly men admitted to hospitals with different complications, diabetes included. What is significant is that the period for which they have been enduring diabetes was not known to the US researchers. According to the authors who explored the database of patients in Ontario, when the findings and facts available from the two studies – the one in the US and the latest one in Canada – are merged it puts forward the overall theory that diabetes is likely to be detrimental to the health of the liver.

However, at the same time, the scientists have accepted the fact that it is quite difficult to find out the possible impacts of other medical conditions that accompany Type II diabetes – problems that are commonly known as the ‘metabolic syndrome’, on the patients. In fact, the term ‘metabolic syndrome’ denotes a cluster of associated health disorders, including high cholesterol, hypertension or high blood pressure and unnecessary accumulation of fat in the abdomen.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Many people often ask what a metabolic syndrome is. Precisely speaking, metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors associated with metabolism and they may occur at the same time in a person. Some of the factors related to metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure (hypertension), insulin resistance, abnormal levels of blood cholesterol and an augmented risk of blood clot formation. In fact, since the 1940’s, scientists are aware of a relation between specific metabolic problems and cardiovascular diseases.

It is believed that metabolic syndrome may be a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes arising out of insulin resistance as well as an anomalous working and prototype of body fat; it may also be responsible for cardiovascular diseases. When we talk about insulin resistance, we actually mean the reduced capability of the body cells to react to insulin action that encourages the transportation of glucose from the bloodstream to our muscles and various other body tissues.

For the uninitiated, metabolic syndrome is also referred to as the dysmetabolic syndrome or syndrome X.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?

What is the difference between a sign and symptom of a health condition? While a symptom can be described as a feeling experienced by a patient and what he/ she describes to other people, a sign is something that can be noticed by other people. For instance, pain may be a symptom, while a skin rash is a sign.

An individual can be said to be suffering from metabolic syndrome provided he/ she has no less than three of the health conditions mentioned below.

Obesity
Obesity is one of the conditions that is included in metabolic syndrome, especially people having an apple-shaped body having an excessive fat accumulation in the region of their waist. This condition is also called ‘abdominal obesity’ or ‘central obesity’. Generally, in this case, the waist of a man should measure no less than 102 cm (40 inches), while that of a woman should be at least 89 cm (35 inches). The circumference of one’s waist can differ depending on his/ her height as well as their body frame or structure.
Hypertension
This health condition is also known as high blood pressure. The blood pressure of an individual with metabolic syndrome should be not less than 130/ 85 mmHg.
High Blood Sugar
The minimum fasting blood sugar levels of a patient with metabolic syndrome should be 5.6 mmol (100 mg dL). In this case, the body of the patient is not able to regulate the glucose level in the bloodstream and such a condition is also called insulin resistance.
Anomalous Blood Cholesterol
The level of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol in patients with metabolic syndrome will be low. In fact, the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level in such people is below 40 mg dL (1.04 mmol L).
Elevated Blood Triglyceride Levels
Basically, triglycerides are a type of fat that keeps circulating and is harmful to our health. The minimum triglyceride level in people with metabolic syndrome is 150 mg/ dl (1.7 mmol L).

In addition to the health conditions mentioned above, patients suffering from metabolic syndrome have a greater chance of deep vein thrombosis. However, such people are also susceptible to inflammation.

What are the Treatment Options for Metabolic Syndrome?

While there are various means to treat metabolic syndrome, the basic aim is to deal with any three or maybe even five of the health problems associated with the condition and mentioned above. While for a number of patients this may truly be awesome – dealing with only one problem like obesity or hypertension is difficult enough, so addressing more is all the more troublesome.

It may be noted that metabolic syndrome actually leads up to some kind of chronic as well as possibly dangerous ailments, counting heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. When an individual develops diabetes, heart disease or has a stroke, it is all the more difficult, according to some it is almost impossible, to reverse the condition completely. However, if you have metabolic syndrome, it is still not very late, as this condition can be reversed completely.

If want to address metabolic syndrome straight out, you will require enough commitment and change some of your lifestyles. At the same time, you will possibly also require taking regular medications to get rid of some of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

It has been proved that a number of lifestyle changes help to overcome metabolic syndrome and a few of them are mentioned below.

Physical Activity
As we are all aware, undertaking physical activities help to improve our overall health. Physical activities help to enhance the health of the heart and lungs, lessen insulin resistance and also aid sound sleep. Provided you undertake physical activity in the proper manner, is also helpful in sustaining ideal health, while not causing any harm to our muscles or lean tissues. In fact, physical activity results in weight loss.
However, prior to taking up any new exercise regimen, it is essential for you to consult a physician to determine which precise workouts are most suitable for you. People with metabolic syndrome have an inclination to be obese/ overweight, denoting that they need to properly plan their physical activities. In fact, their exercises should be customized and they need to follow a strict regime as this is perfect for the present capabilities, overall health as well as eventual objectives.
For most people, it is best to start their exercise regimen with walking. This is very easy, does not cost you anything and is safe for all. In addition, people who walk regularly seldom drop out of their regimen. In other words, they are most likely to continue it regularly for a long time. People, who walk regularly, may eventually make this their habit.
Weight Loss
Initially, you need to put in a lot of effort to lose too much weight, so that there is a notable difference. Nevertheless, the ultimate objective is to reduce your body mass index (BMI) to fewer than 25. Any person whose BMI is anything between 25 and 29.99 is considered to be overweight, while those having a BMI of 30 or above are called obese.
Healthy Eating
These days more and more physicians, as well as nutritionists, are emphasizing on the general dietary balance of one’s meals, together with exercises intended for weight loss, instead of counting the calories you are ingesting. It has been established that the Mediterranean diet is very effectual in obtaining short-term as well as long-term weight loss successfully.
The main components of the Mediterranean diet are olive oil, which is the primary fat source, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, reasonable to high quantities of fish as well as seafood, some amount of red meat, dairy items, in addition to drinking a little red wine with the meals.
In addition, the natural elements present in grapes, such as polyphenols, assist in protecting our organs from damage due to metabolic syndrome.
Bariatric Surgery
Obese people who are struggling to reduce their weight find bariatric surgery very beneficial. They may undergo this surgery along with following other treatment regimens.
Quit Smoking
Smoking is harmful to our overall health, as it results in the build-up of fatty substances inside the arteries (causing a health condition known as atherosclerosis), which is the foremost risk factor for stroke, heart diseases and also untimely death. In addition, smoking also causes the blood pressure as well as insulin resistance to rising. Many people are ignorant of the fact that smoking is not only responsible for lung cancer, but it also contributes considerably to health conditions that together form a metabolic syndrome. In case you are a regular smoker, it is important that you quit it immediately because this is a vital element of your treatment process.
Vitamin D Deficiency
It has been found that elderly people generally suffer from vitamin D deficiency. In fact, having low levels of this vitamin often contributes greatly to metabolic syndrome. Therefore, all elderly people having metabolic syndrome should essentially try to raise their levels of vitamin D through foods or supplements.

Diabetes Mellitus

People with diabetes are unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin which is a compound that regulates the glucose level in the blood, the failure in insulin production in diabetic’s leads to a high blood sugar -glucose level in the body. This may not sound like much but an excess sugar or glucose content has serious complications and over time, such high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to the appearance of heart disease or it at least increases the risks, and nerve damage, it heightens the possibility of kidney disease, there could be a loss of vision, and high blood sugar brings many other complications in its stride including wounds that do not heal well and quickly enough. Diabetes is of two distinct types. The rare diabetes insipidus, or more commonly insulin-dependent diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which can develop at any age but usually develops before the age of 30. The second type of diabetes is called as diabetes mellitus, or more commonly non-insulin-dependent diabetes or type 2 diabetes; this form of the disorder accounts for 90% of diabetic cases, and it makes its appearance usually in middle age.

When the pancreas ceases its function of insulin production due to any reason, type 1 diabetes is said to have occurred, as insulin is necessary for glucose regulation in the blood. While the causes of this abrupt halt in the production of insulin is uncertain, it is believed by many scientists and researchers that an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks its own pancreatic cells could be responsible, while others suggest the involvement of a virus. Thus those individuals who have unfortunately contracted diabetes type 1, a lifelong insulin dependency from an external source is necessitated, therefore such people are dependent on insulin throughout their lives. On the other hand, diabetes mellitus or the more common type 2 diabetes develops from insulin resistance in the body. The pancreatic function is normal, and insulin is produced in sufficient quantities, but for some reason, the cells in the body cannot use the insulin anymore. The presence or absence of a lot of body fat or obesity in people plays an important role in most cases of type 2 diabetes. Indeed obesity is one of the risk factors for contracting this form of diabetes. In the end, both these types of diabetes can arise in anybody due to genetic factors.

Supplements and Herbs:

These supplements that are being recommended can be used in conjunction with the prescription drugs which may be used for the treatment of the disease, both type 1 and type 2, diabetics can take advantage of these supplements. There could be a need to alter dosages for insulin or the hypoglycemic medications used in type 2 diabetes treatments, when these supplements are used, the changes in dosages or the application of changed doses must be done under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.

Diabetic nerve damage may be prevented by the B vitamins, which also help in the production of enzymes that are necessary for the derivation of energy from glucose. Lowering the blood glucose levels is one of the properties of the mineral chromium; concurrently it is effective in reducing cholesterol levels in diabetics. Blood sugar levels can often be controlled when using the herb Gymnema Sylvestre, which is a herb from India, the need for insulin and another hypoglycemic medication is not felt and reduced when this herb is used as a supplement.

The painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are alleviated by the intake of essential fatty acids, these also protect against nerve damage that often sets in on diabetics. The use of fish oils, as supplements, increases the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol; this may significantly reduce the risk and potential occurrence of heart disease. Damage to the nerves, to the eyes and to the heart is prevented through the use of antioxidant compounds in supplements. The excess buildup of plague may be blocked or prevented by vitamin E. Glucose metabolism in the body is improved by the alpha-lipoic acid. A deficiency in the mineral zinc characterizes many diabetics, this mineral helps the body utilize its insulin, and it also contributes to the faster healing of wounds and other injuries, which has slowed down, because of the high levels of sugar in the blood. The mineral copper can be added in the supplement if zinc is to be used as a long term supplement. The occurrence of diabetic eye damage may be prevented by the herb bilberry and release of insulin is improved in the body by taurine, which can also prevent the abnormal clotting of blood, which is a contributor to cardiac problems.

In Addition:

It is very important to take regular exercises. The chances or type 2 diabetes is lowered in those who burn more than 3,500 calories a week through exercise, such people are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to those burning less than 500 calories a week. There are benefits in exercising even in people with type 1 diabetes. It is, therefore, advisable to lose weight especially if you are obese or are overweight, as this is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar can be kept in check by consuming whole grains, plenty of fruits, and vegetables and avoiding high sugar foods.

 Recommended Dosage {Typical}

  • Bilberry, 160 mg two times daily. Standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides.
  • Vitamin B complex, One pill every morning with a meal. Use a B-100 complex with 100 mcg of vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg of folic acid; and 100 mg of all other B vitamins.
  • Chromium, 200 mcg three times daily with food. Chromium may alter insulin requirements.
  • Copper / Zinc, 2 mg copper, and 30 mg zinc daily. Copper should be added when using zinc longer than one month.
  • Gymnema Sylvestre, 200 mg two times a day. Gymnema Sylvestre may alter insulin requirements.
  • Taurine, 500 mg L-taurine two times daily on an empty stomach. Add mixed amino acids if using longer than one month.
  • Antioxidants, 400IU vitamin E, 1,000 mg vitamin C, and 150mg alpha-lipoic acid every morning. Alpha-lipoic acid can affect blood sugar.
  • Essential fatty acids, 1,000 mg evening primrose oil three times daily; 1,000 mg fish oils two times daily. 1,000 mg borage oil once a day may be used instead of primrose oil.

     For Children:

  • The blood sugar level in many children may be stabilized by the use of Siberian ginseng – also known as Eleutherococcus. In children, it is good to start with a low dose. This Siberian ginseng can be used for long-term treatment, once every other week. Breaks can be taken once every two months. The active component GLA in the oil of evening primrose herb has been shown capable of preventing nerve damage, where it has arisen due to the fluctuations in the blood sugar level. Dosages for children over the age of twelve are about one capsule a day.
    For your attention: children who have a fever are not to be given evening primrose oil.

     Beneficial Herbs:

    • Acai Berries
    • Beech
    • Bitter Melon
    • Cajueiro
    • Chaga Mushroom
    • Chia
    • Chiretta
    • Corydalis
    • Goat’s Rue
    • Gymnema
    • Jambul
    • Mesquite
    • Suma
    • Tamanu Nut Oil

Fungi Have Enormous Potential For New Antibiotics

Fungi are a potential goldmine for the production of pharmaceuticals. This is shown by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, who have developed a method for finding new antibiotics from nature’s own resources. The findings – which could prove very useful in the battle against antibiotic resistance – were recently published in the journal, Nature Microbiology.

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives since they were discovered in the 1940s. But recently we’ve had to learn a new term: antibiotic resistance. More and more bacteria are developing their own protection against antibiotics, thereby becoming resistant to treatment. This will lead to simple infections becoming lethal once again. Our need for new antibiotics is urgent.

The first antibiotic to be mass-produced was penicillin, derived from Penicillium fungi. In their quest for new antibiotics, Chalmers researchers sequenced the genomes of nine different types of Penicillium species. And the findings are amazing:

“We found that the fungi have enormous, previously untapped, the potential for the production of new antibiotics and other bioactive compounds, such as cancer medicines,” says Jens Christian Nielsen, a Ph.D. student at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering.

He works in a research team led by another Chalmers researcher with almost the same name: Professor Jens Nielsen.

In the study, the research group scanned the genomes of 24 different kinds of fungi to find genes responsible for the production of various bioactive compounds, like antibiotics. More than 1000 pathways were discovered, showing immense potential for fungi to produce a large variety of natural and bioactive chemicals that could be used as pharmaceuticals.

In about 90 cases, the researchers were able to predict the chemical products of the pathways. As evidence of this, they followed the production of the antibiotic, yanuthone, and identified new fungi able to produce the compound, but also that some species could produce a new version of the drug.

All in all, the study shows vast potential for fungi, not only in producing new antibiotics but also in enabling more efficient production of existing ones – and maybe also more effective versions of the existing ones.

“It’s important to find new antibiotics in order to give physicians a broad palette of antibiotics, existing ones as well as new ones, to use in treatment. This will make it harder for bacteria to develop resistance,” explains Jens Christian Nielsen.

“Previous efforts to find new antibiotics have mainly focused on bacteria. Fungi have been hard to study – we know very little of what they can do – but we do know that they develop bioactive substances naturally, as a way to protect themselves and survive in a competitive environment. This made it logical to apply our research tools to fungi.”

Researchers now have various paths to follow. One way of moving forward could be to look further at the production of the new yanuthone compound. The Chalmers researchers have also drawn up a map that makes it possible to compare hundreds of genes in the continuous evaluation of bioactive products with potent drugs in sight.

How long it would take to launch new antibiotics on the market is impossible to say.

“Governments need to act. The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want to spend money on new antibiotics, it’s not lucrative. This is why our governments have to step in and, for instance, support clinical studies. Their support would make it easier to reach the market, especially for smaller companies. This could fuel production,” says Jens Christian Nielsen.

Article: Global analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters reveals vast potential of secondary metabolite production in Penicillium species, Jens Christian Nielsen, Sietske Grijseels, Sylvain Prigent, Boyang Ji, Jacques Dainat, Kristian Fog Nielsen, Jens Christian Frisvad, Mhairi Workman & Jens Nielsen, Nature Microbiology, doi: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.44, published 3 April 2017.