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

Medicinal mushrooms are the new turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Mushrooms are the latest functional food shown to have science-backed health benefits beyond nutrients. Here are 5 to add to your must-eat list.

Source: Medicinal mushrooms are the new turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Almond Supplementation Lowers Uric Acid Levels in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

  • Almonds (Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae)
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Serum Uric Acid

Higher serum levels of uric acid (UA) are increasing in prevalence globally and are associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and a higher risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with no history of heart disease and stroke. An increase of 1 mg/dL in serum UA has been found to cause a 12% increase in the risk of CAD mortality. Almonds (Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae) are recognized for their lipid-neutralizing effects and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A previous study found almond supplementation to prevent hyperuricemia in a CVD rat model. The goal of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to evaluate the UA-reducing potential of almond supplementation in patients with CAD.

The study recruited 150 patients with CAD from the Cardiology Clinic, Aga Khan University Hospital; Karachi, Pakistan. Patients who regularly consumed nuts or had nut allergies were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned into 1 of the following 3 groups of 50: no intervention (NI), supplementation with almonds grown in Pakistan (PA), and supplementation with imported American almonds (AA). Patients in the NI group were asked to abstain from consuming any nuts, specifically almonds, while enrolled in the RCT. Those in the PA and AA groups were given 10 g/day almonds and told to prepare them traditionally—soak overnight, peel, and eat before breakfast daily. Patients kept consumption diaries and compliance was monitored in twice-weekly phone calls. At baseline, blood was drawn and body weight, blood pressure (BP), and other measures were taken. Follow-up visits were scheduled at 6 and 12 weeks with the same measurements taken. Patients in the NI group received almonds at the end of the RCT.

Baseline demographics and serum UA were similar in all the groups (P>0.05). Patient weight and BP remained fairly constant in all groups throughout the 12-week study. At week 6, men in the PA group had a 15% reduction in UA, and women had a 12% reduction in UA, compared to the NI group (P<0.05). Men in the AA group had 17% less serum UA, and women 19% less, compared to NI (P<0.05). At week 12, men in the PA group had 17% less serum UA, and women 16% less, than those in the NI group (P<0.05). In the AA group at the end of the study, men had 20% less serum UA, and women 21% less, compared to NI (P<0.05). Compared to baseline, patients in the NI group showed negligible decreases in serum UA, whereas both the PA and AA groups had significant improvement (P<0.05) at both follow-up visits. Men in both active groups had 13% less serum UA at 6 weeks; women in the PA group, 11% less; and women in the AA group, 16% less. At 12 weeks, men in the PA group had improved 16% over baseline and women in the PA group had improved by 14%; and men and women in the AA group had 18% less serum UA than at baseline. This is the first almond intervention study in patients with CAD reporting on UA reduction.

Serum UA may be considered as a marker for vascular function, with anticipated pathways of damage including pro-oxidative and proinflammatory factors among others. Almond supplementation is known to positively affect some of these factors, including a possible reduction in C-reactive protein reported in some studies. Almonds contain L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide that has been reported to reduce BP in vivo. In this RCT, almost all patients were taking antihypertensive medications and no effect on BP was seen.

It should be noted that while this study differentiated between Pakistani and American almonds, and those in the AA group showed slightly more improvement than those in the PA group, there is no botanical difference between these almonds. Differences in constituents caused by time of harvest, a method of storage, and different cultivars might be considered in future studies. It should also be noted that the almond skin, discarded by patients in this study, is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and possibly of other nutrients of interest. Future studies might compare effects of almonds with skins and those that have been peeled.

Resource:

Jamshed H, Gilani AUH, Sultan FAT, et al. Almond supplementation reduces serum uric acid in coronary artery disease patients: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. August 19, 2016;15:77. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0195-4.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Make Today

Over the years, we have helped thousands of people make better choices for their life and their health. People from all backgrounds say they feel sick, tired, and depressed. What’s truly scary is that people begin to accept that feeling as normal.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to, nor should you, resign yourself to feeling perpetually run-down and exhausted. Some of the most effective ways to improve your health are simple and accessible to almost everyone. You don’t need a lot of money; you just need the drive to cultivate healthy habits. When people ask me what the best medicine is, do you know what I tell them? The best medicine is a prevention-based lifestyle.

6 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

The six simplest things you can incorporate in your life are the sunshine, clean air, fresh water, sleep, exercise, and most of all— a clean, healthy diet. That’s it. Improving these six things can improve anyone’s health. They require no fancy equipment, no special training, no 16-disc instructional DVD set, no payment plan. You can start improving your life yourself, today, right now.

1. Get Some Sunshine

Soaking up the sun has received a lot of bad press in recent years, and everyone now associates the sun’s UV rays with wrinkles and skin cancer. While it’s true that you shouldn’t spend all day in the sun, we’ve swung too far in the other direction, and people are quick to reach for chemically-suspect sunscreens or avoid the sun entirely. In reality, UV rays account for only about one-tenth of 1% of the total global burden of disease. You’re far more likely to get sick from too little sunlight.

Moderate exposure to direct sunshine boosts the health of both your mind and body. In addition to enhancing your mental state, exposure to sunlight directly affects the body’s production of melatonin and can promote more restful sleep. Sunlight is also vital to the body’s ability to produce vitamin D, an incredibly important nutrient that supports cardiovascular health, bone health, and the immune system. In fact, sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, as the nutrient is relatively uncommon in food.

That’s not to say you should ignore the risk of UV-related cancer. As in all things health-related, you must find the right balance. Be smart about your level of sunshine exposure. Try to get at least 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight every day. Avoid sunscreens. At best, they prevent vitamin D production. Worse, many sunscreens contain harsh chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin and cause dozens of health problems. If you are out in the glaring sun all day, make use of shade and wear sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing to avoid sunburn. If you must use sunscreen, only buy organic, mineral and plant-based varieties.

2. Breathe Clean Air

As the old saying goes, you can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Given its extreme importance, it almost goes without saying that the best air is fresh and clean.

Clean air helps prevent respiratory ailments like asthma or allergies and supplies your body with the oxygen that all living cells need. Breathing dirty air can cause big problems.

A lot of people associate poor air quality with smog or industrial pollution. You may be surprised to learn that, according to the EPA, indoor air quality is usually 2-5x worse than that outside. That may be a best-case scenario; in the worst cases, indoor air can be up to 100x more toxic.

Oddly, efficient construction may be to blame. It’s energy efficient for a building to be sealed up tight, but it also allows for the accumulation and concentration of air pollutants. These pollutants include the VOCs and chemical fumes that off-gas from furniture, paint, flooring materials, and other indoor building materials.

Don’t think an air freshener is going to “clean” the air. Most air fresheners just release an equally toxic chemical fragrance to mask odors. Instead, get an air purification device for your home, preferably one that uses both HEPA and UV filters. You can also open the windows and get a few houseplants; they’re excellent, natural air filters that release clean oxygen. Better yet, go outside in nature and enjoy the fresh air first hand.

3. Stay Hydrated

By some estimates, 75% of people suffer from chronic mild dehydration. This affects your health in more ways than just feeling a bit thirsty. At a minimum, chronic dehydration causes a severe drop in your energy levels. Worse, since 70% of your body is water, dehydration can negatively affect every process in your body, including bone and tissue regeneration, natural detoxification abilities, immune function—all of it. Even blinking your eyes and the beating of your heart require water.

Madison Avenue marketing wizards spend millions of dollars trying to convince us that water is plain and boring. Instead, they say, we should quench our thirst with overpriced, carbonated liquid candy like soda and energy drinks. Don’t listen. You need fresh water to function; there is no substitute. Coffee, sodas, and energy drinks are not good sources of hydration. In fact, the caffeine and sugar are diuretics that cause your body to lose water. Avoid.

How much water do you need? Eight cups a day is the standard recommendation. That’s a fairly good rule of thumb, but it doesn’t account for body size or activity level. A better guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces of water per day. Of course, people’s needs differ based on many factors. Body size, physical activity, external temperature, sweatiness, health, and dozens of other factors all affect how much water you need. Start with the half-your-weight rule as a base and add water as needed.

4. Get Enough Rest

Have you noticed that in some circles, missing several hours of sleep a night is considered a badge of honor while sleeping the full, recommended 8 hours is seen as a weakness? This thinking is completely backward.

Adequate sleep—about 7-8 hours a night for most people—is absolutely necessary for a healthy body and mind. Rest promotes normal hormone levels and neurotransmitter responses. Skipping sleep can lead to poor work performance, car accidents, relationship problems, anger, and depression.

Why are so many people walking around completely exhausted? For most people, the problem isn’t that they’re too busy, it’s that they just need to turn off the TV, put down the phone, and close their eyes. In fact, trying to fall asleep with the TV or other gadgets on will only derail your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Just put away the smartphone and go to bed. Make your sleeping space as dark as possible. If that’s not feasible, try wearing a sleep mask. It’s a great strategy for blocking out light. And, just as you’ve always heard, aim for about 8 hours of sleep every night.

5. Exercise Often

Exercise is vital to your health and mood. Unequivocally, research shows that your chances of living a long, healthy life are better if you exercise regularly. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that regular physical activity reduces mortality rates of many chronic diseases and helps improve or prevent many illnesses and conditions.

You don’t need to have the physique of an Olympian to see health benefits. Even light to moderate exercise can offer tremendous health benefits. Although forty-five minutes to an hour is better for most people, just 30 minutes of moderate activity a few times a week can boost energy levels, help you sleep better, sharpen your mind, and strengthen your defense against illness.

To maximize the benefits, exercise outdoors. Studies have shown that exercising outside promotes endurance, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem. It also helps reduce depression and fatigue. One study found that people who exercised outside exercised longer and more frequently. Not to mention that exercising outdoors can also help you get your daily dose of sunshine.

6. Follow a Clean Diet

You may be familiar with the expression, “garbage in, garbage out.” The food you eat is a perfect example of that expression in action. Good nutrition is vital to your health. You can exercise and sleep twice as much as anyone else, but without a clean and balanced diet, you will feel down and fatigued.

There are many, many schools of thought on what type of diet is the best. Although there are a few unshakeable principles, it has to be an individual choice. Personally, I both follow and recommend a raw, vegan diet, but everyone has to decide what works for their life.

Most of the animals raised for mass production are raised in squalid conditions and treated inhumanely. Not only is this unnecessarily cruel, but it also promotes diseased animals that yield toxic animal products. A plant-based diet avoids these dangers, but if you do decide to consume meat and dairy, at least avoid the worst of it. Only consume animal products that are produced organically, in a free range environment, with ethical standards in place.

And, while it’s a contentious topic, I believe there’s more than sufficient evidence to avoid genetically modified food, AKA GMOs. Italy, France, Germany, Greece, and dozens of other countries have limited or outright banned these foods. In the United States, however, they are everywhere. Buying organic food is the easiest way to avoid GMOs. According to both U.S. and Canadian law, a product with the “100% Certified Organic” label, it cannot contain any genetically modified organisms.

Finally, get in the habit of making your own food and avoid the mass-produced food products that are usually found in the center of the grocery store—boxed, packaged, and loaded with junk, especially refined carbohydrates. A few years ago, researchers at Princeton even confirmed that sugar is more addictive than heroin. It’s no surprise Americans buy more soda than water.

Most of your grocery shopping should consist of whole, raw foods. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. I won’t say all prepackaged food is terrible for you, but the vast majority of them contain a minefield of suspect ingredients.

Living with A-fib: Tips and Outlook

Atrial fibrillation, commonly known as A-fib, is an irregular heartbeat. It can lead to the heart not pumping enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

With proper medical treatment, people with A-fib can lead a full, healthy life. There are also several changes that people can make to improve their quality of life and help reduce the severity of symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

Though living with A-fib can be challenging, there are several steps a person can take to deal with the condition besides receiving regular medical care. These include:

Older people exercising in the park
Beginning or increasing an exercise routine is a recommended lifestyle change for people with A-fib.
  • Quitting smoking can improve living with A-fib and reduce further heart and lung risks.
  • Increasing and continuing exercise is important for people with A-fib. As with any exercise routine, a person should consult their doctor to ensure it is safe for them.
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet can impact on overall health and fitness and people with A-fib should eat less trans fat and sugar while increasing their green leafy vegetables, lean proteins, and fiber intake.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, through both diet and exercise, can help.
  • Reducing alcohol consumption as alcohol intake can have a negative impact on the heart. Some people with A-fib need to avoid alcohol altogether, so everyone with the condition should consult their doctor before drinking.
  • Managing stress as this can complicate A-fib. People with A-fib can take steps to reduce their stress levels through exercise, meditation, or other methods.

People with A-fib should also maintain follow-up care with their doctor to ensure proper treatment is continued.

What does A-fib do to the body

A-fib can have a number of potential impacts on the body ranging from mild to severe. Some of these include:

  • Blood clots: When the heart is not pumping hard enough, blood can pool and form a clot within it. If a clot escapes it can cause issues elsewhere in the body.
  • Heart problems: Over time, the irregular beating can cause the heart to weaken.
  • Shortness of breath: Irregular pumping of the blood to the lungs can result in fluid building up, which can then lead to shortness of breath and fatigue.

A-fib may also lead to a buildup of fluid in the legs, ankles, and feet. Other problems can include weight gain, light-headedness, and a general sense of being unwell. Additionally, people may experience irritability and tiredness during previously routine activities.

A-fib itself is generally not life-threatening but the condition can lead to severe complications, which include stroke and heart failure.

A stroke may occur after a blood clot has formed in the heart and moved towards the brain, blocking an artery. A doctor will often be most concerned about a person’s risk of a stroke when they are diagnosed with A-fib. Symptoms of stroke should not be ignored, including a headache and slurred speech.

Heart failure can be a long-term effect of unmanaged A-fib. The condition weakens the heart over time, making a person more likely to suffer from new or worsening heart failure. The threat of heart failure can be reduced greatly by medical supervision of A-fib.

Treatment

Electrical cardioversion for A-fib
Electrical cardioversion may be used to treat A-fib by shocking the heart to stop it so that it may restart with a regular beat.

Doctors treating A-fib typically look at treatments to reset the rhythm of the heart, control the rate it is beating, and reduce the risks of blood clots.

The way a doctor treats A-fib depends on a number of factors, including whether the person has other heart problems, other medications they are taking, their response to previous treatments, and the severity of their A-fib.

Cardioversion

Cardioversion is used to reset the heart rhythm. It can be electrical or carried out with drugs.

Electrical cardioversion involves shocking the heart to temporarily stop it with the aim that when restarted, it will resume with regular beats. Typically, this procedure is done under sedation.

Cardioversion can also be delivered through medication, called antiarrhythmics, which are delivered into the vein, or by mouth. Very often, the initial treatment is conducted in a hospital. However, a doctor may prescribe similar medications to be taken regularly to prevent further episodes.

A doctor will likely prescribe blood thinners to be taken for several weeks to prevent clots before cardioversion treatment. A test for blood clots may also be done before cardioversion.

Preventive medication

Several types of medication can control heart rhythm and heart rate.

After a cardioversion, a doctor may prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications to prevent further problems with heart rhythm including dofetilide, flecainide, propafenone, amiodarone, and sotalol.

To control heart rate, a doctor may prescribe medications that include digoxin, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blockers.

Catheter and surgical procedures

In cases where medication is not effective, additional procedures should be taken. These include:

  • Catheter ablation: Long, thin tubes are inserted into the groin and guided through blood vessels to the heart. Electrodes at the tips can destroy the areas causing A-fib, scarring the tissue so that the erratic electrical signals return to normal.
  • Surgical maze procedure: Using a scalpel, a doctor creates a pattern of scar tissue in the upper chambers of the heart. The scar tissue can’t carry electricity, so the scars interfere with stray electrical impulses that cause A-fib. The procedure involves open heart surgery.
  • Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation: The tissue pathway connecting the upper chambers and lower chambers of the heart (AV node) is destroyed with a catheter. In this procedure, a pacemaker is then implanted to control the responsibilities of the AV node. People who have this procedure may still need to take blood-thinning medications to prevent clots from forming.

Preventing blood clots

warfarin tablets
Warfarin may be prescribed to help prevent blood clots.

As blood clots are a major concern for people with A-fib, a doctor is likely to prescribe medication that helps prevent these. This is particularly true if a person has issues with heart disease.

The two types of medication typically prescribed are warfarin and newer anticoagulants. Warfarin medications need to be used with care under direct supervision of a doctor, as they can cause dangerous bleeding.

Newer anticoagulants do not require such frequent monitoring as warfarin.

Coping and outlook

A-fib is a commonly diagnosed condition. As a result, there are many treatment options and therapies that can greatly reduce the symptoms or correct A-fib.

Treating A-fib can allow a person to live a normal life. Left untreated, a person could experience further complications such as stroke or worsening heart disease.

Recognizing the signs, being proactive in making lifestyle changes, and treating A-fib are the best ways to help prevent complications.