Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Diabetes type II

Dear Friends.

More and more people are seeking treatment for diabetes from me.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type I, so called insulin dependant diabetes, starts at an early age and is due to destruction of pancreatic cells by the immune system, resulting in low levels of insulin and requiring patients to get insulin injections.

Type II, where in the beginning the level of insulin could be high and blood glucose high, but body cells are unable to utilize the glucose. By itself, high blood glucose is not dangerous. Over time, however, it creates inflammation in the smallest vessels of the body and thus decreases the blood supply to organs. When this happens around nerves it causes neuropathy, when in the kidneys, nephropathy, and so on

I find it gratifying to treat Type II diabetes, because it responds well to treatment if patients are willing to do their part. Often patients are able to decrease their medications or get of them completely.

Here is the basic plan for managing Type II diabetes:

1. Eliminate from your diet: white bread, white rice, potato, cookies, candies, soft drinks, juices, cakes, ice cream, table sugar and honey.

2. Limit pasta to no more than 2 times per week. Patients are advised to eat barley, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and brown rice, which are high in fibers and protein, instead of pasta.

3. It is now well known that many vitamins and minerals are essential for utilization of glucose and for restoration of cellular reception of glucose and insulin. These include: Magnesium, Chromium, Vanadium and Vitamin C.

4. “Good Fats” contribute to reduction of inflammation, especially fat that comes from fish, sometime called omega-3 oils.

5. Reduce your portions to control weight.

6. Increase portions and number of servings of vegetables per day. Vegetables can be served at breakfast, lunch and diner. I provide a long list of vegetables for my clients; they can always find some that they like.

7. EXERCISE for about 40 minutes per day. It is most important to include this in your daily routine.

In my practice I prescribe herbs that will help to lower blood glucose such as: Momordica charantia, Gymnema Sylvestre, Cinnamomum zeylanicum and others.

Never experiment with powerful herbs without the supervision of a naturopathic doctor or other knowledgeable health professional, as they may precipitate hypoglycemia and other health conditions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vitamin D: It’s Not Just For Bones Anymore…

New research around vitamin D is showing that those deficient in the vitamin may have more far reaching implications than just bone health.

For instance, an article published in the August edition of the journal Nutritional Reviews states that upwards of 50% of breast and colon cancer cases could be prevented by increasing the intake of vitamin D. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego compiled data from observational studies to the show an inverse link between low serum vitamin D levels and cancer.

The study went on to establish that the type of vitamin D was as important as the dosage, indicating that cholecalciferol was far more bioactive and effective than ergocalciferol, and that the latter should be discontinued in favor of the former.

Another article, published in the September 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, paints a much broader picture for the health benefits of vitamin D. The article, a meta-analysis of 18 previously published studies, reports that vitamin D deficiency may not only affect cancer risk, but also heart disease and diabetes.

Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France and the European Institute of Oncology in Italy wrote; "in conclusion, the intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D in supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates".

While the researchers look forward to population based, placebo controlled randomized trials in order to further understand the mechanisms involved, the consensus is that vitamin D supplementation may be an easy and powerful way to decrease overall mortality.

In light of this research, consumers should feel compelled to select dietary supplements that are fortified with not just vitamin D, but specifically vitamin D3, cholecalciferol.
Currently, most experts in the field believe that intakes of between 1000 and 4000 IU will lead to a more healthy level of serum 25(OH)D, in the range of 75 nmol/L that will offer significant protection effects against cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovary, lungs, and pancreas.

Colorectal cancer mortality was inversely related to serum 25(OH)D level, with levels 80 nmol/L or higher associated with a 72% risk reduction (95% confidence interval = 32% to 89%) compared with lower than 50 nmol/L, P(trend) = .02.

I checked several of my patients during the summer, thinking at that time of year they should have high or at list normal level of vitamin D; to my surprise they all had below normal levels. Today’s normal is between 40 and 60nmol/L. The articles cited here recommend 75(80) nmol/L and higher.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mediterranean Diet Provides Relief for Arthritis

The Mediterranean diet appears to provide relief for arthritis sufferers.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory condition of the joints, improved when they were instructed in the benefits of the diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, and olive oil, and low in red meat and saturated fat. [1]

Researchers instructed 75 women from 30 to 75 years old with hands-on classes in food preparation for two hours a week for six weeks, backed up by written instructions. Another 55 women were given written instructions only, and all the women were evaluated at the start of the study and again at three and six months for food intake, arthritic symptoms, and overall health assessment.

The women who were given the hands-on classes increased their fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption, and improved the ratio of their intake of monounsaturated oils to saturated fat. The subjects who received only the written instruction did not improve their diets, suggesting the importance of specific instruction rather than just a handout without support.

Symptoms were markedly reduced in the intervention group; their pain score and stiffness were both significantly better and the overall assessment was improved. In addition, the systolic blood pressures were better in this group. The control group had no change in symptoms or blood pressure or their overall health assessment.

This study provides further proof that self-help methods in natural medicine are greatly improved by consultation with, and training from, health care professionals.

[1] McKellar G, et al., A pilot study of a Mediterranean-type diet intervention in female patients with rheumatoid arthritis living in areas of social deprivation in Glasgow. Ann Rheum Dis.2007, Sep;66(9):1239-43.