Archive for Diabetes (Type 2)
Many think that preventing Type 2 diabetes requires a major overhaul on your lifestyle. For many, this IS true, but sometimes some incredibly simple changes can have powerful results.
I have always felt that food is, and should be, a celebration of life. Think of the events, meetings and dinners that you have gone to in your life. Many times food is at the center of this experience. And this isn’t just today–this hedonistic experience has been at the heart of celebrations for as long as we have been keeping records.
But part of that celebration should, arguably, be actually enjoying the food that you are eating. Let me rephrase this a little more clearly…
Slow down when you eat.
How can you enjoy your food if you’re scarfing it down like the smallest child in a family of 12 at dinner? Quite frankly, you can’t.
But besides enjoying the experience more, there are distinct health benefits associated with this behavior. Merely chewing more has been shown to have very positive anti-diabetic properties. This includes better absorption of healthy fats from a meal, higher levels of GLP-1 in the bloodstream (a very potent anti-diabetic hormone in your body) and greater satiety (the people who chewed more felt more full after eating).
All pretty good things.
But let’s take this out to a lifetime of eating our meals rapidly without enjoying them to their fullest. This particular study looked at the risk of developing diabetes in slow versus fast eaters.
Here’s what they found:
A pretty startling 252% increased risk of developing diabetes in someone who described themselves as a fast eater.
That’s pretty dramatic for an aspect of diet that few ever consider.
Think on this just before you take a bite of that Big Mac or Egg McMuffin as you are driving on your way to work…
Not surprising, considering that the diabetic spectrum is the worst thing that could happen to your body. So, there are clear associations between prediabetes / diabetes and thyroid problems. But what about thyroid cancer?
Before we delve into thyroid cancer in particular, let’s look at cancer and the diabetic spectrum. (BTW, I refer to the “diabetic spectrum” rather than prediabetes or diabetes in particular because the difference is purely arbitrary–both are incredibly devastating to the human body). Insulin levels are elevated in the diabetic spectrum as the body tries to better manage the elevated glucose that is having a harder and harder time making it into the cells.
Insulin is a proliferative hormone, meaning that it causes cells to divide more. Any time a cell divides, the chance for an error is present. And, while cell division is darn near perfect, it is not 100% perfect. An error in cell division can lead to cancer. This means that anything that causes a cell to divide more would potentially increase the risk of a cancer developing.
And this would be relatively non-discriminatory as to the type of cancer. This is why we see an elevation of so many different types of cancer in the diabetic spectrum.
Now back to thyroid cancer.
In this particular study, researchers looked at the contribution of diabetes to the development of and mortality associated with thyroid cancer. While there was a clear association between diabetes and thyroid cancer mortality, that wasn’t the shocker.
Here’s the shocking stats of diabetics’ risk of dying from thyroid cancer:
- Men 75 years of age, 185% increased risk, women 22% lower risk
- Men 65-74 years old, 121% increased risk, women 203% increased risk
- Men 55-64 years old, 253% risk, women 299%
- Men 25-54 years old, a whopping 580% increased risk, women, not to be outdone, 534% increased risk
The surprising aspect of these numbers is the greatly increased risk in the younger ages. And these are some pretty serious increases in risk.
The bottom line is that this study confirms, yet again, that the diabetic spectrum is THE most dangerous beast you will ever battle against. While many would believe heart disease, cancer or dementia would be the answer, it is not. These conditions are the end result of NOT doing battle against the original enemy.
If you’re not sure what changes to make to lower your risk, be sure to download (AND read!) my ebook, Dr. Bogash’s Lifestyle Recommendations.
It seems like the general public has a very short memory. When I ask patients if they remember the Vioxx debacle, more and more often the answer is no.
100,000+ heart attacks, lord knows how many deaths, billions in lawsuit payments, a 20/20 special and the revelation that Merck had fabricated clinical studies and got them published in major medical journals. This all happened less than a decade ago. Unless everyone has early onset dementia, one would think that something this dramatic would stand out in the American public’s memory.
But alas, I occasionally have patients coming in who had been given Celebrex (the only one in this class still on the market) and didn’t remember what had happened. Heck–forget if the patient remembered–as a physician would you ever recommend this class of drugs given its history?
The real problem with Merck was that they knew there were cardiovascular problems several years before the dangers leaked out by an internal whistleblower. This is why the lawsuits were filled and ultimately settled. Good ole’ fashioned ethics would tell us that this is not a good way to run a business that cares for its customers. Hold off bad news as long as you can while you rake in as much in profits as you can.
Good thing the cat’s out of the bag and it can’t happen again.
You, of course, know where this is going.
Regular readers of the Rantings know how I feel about the new fancy-dancy diabetic drugs that affect GLP-1 pathways and help manage diabetes. If you haven’t read my previous blog articles on this topic, you can read them by clicking here. These include drugs with names like Januvia, Byetta, Onglyza and Victosa. The cost of these prescriptions typically run around $200 / month. And they are being give out like candy to diabetics.
Worse, the drug manufacturers are desperately pushing the bonds of what they can be used for. These uses include prediabetes and weight loss. I have seen completely off label use of this class of drugs given to patients in my office for conditions they should NOT be used for.
At $200 / month, this class of drugs is very profitable. Profitable enough for investors to shun warnings in lieu of profits.
You see, one of the greater concerns with this drug is the risk of developing acute pancreatitis. If you or someone close to you has sufferred an attack of acute pancreatitis, you know this is incredibly painful and can even prove fatal. There are concerns that the risk of developing acute pancreatitis are 10 times higher in those taking the drugs.
Here’s the problem. According to this editorial, investors tied to the companies that manufacture these drugs knew the dangers at least a year before the FDA sent warning letters out to physicians. While the jury is still out on on just how great the risk is vs the benefit on blood sugar control, the data presented currently looks pretty incriminating. Personally, I would never consider taking this class of drug.
There’s a very good chance this whole thing could blow up in the near future. Just make sure you’re not counted as part of the collateral damage.
Co Q10 improves BP, glycaemic control: trial with type 2 diabetes
This study used a very reasonable dose of 200 mg/day of CoQ10 and showed favorable effects in diabetics. While this effect was small, keep in mind that CoQ10 supplementation will have a wide range of other beneficial effects (as opposed to pharmaceutical interventions, which typically have a wide range of deleterious effects) and that CoQ10 would only be one tool in the natural approach to diabetes and HTN.
Coenzyme Q10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Nut and Peanut Butter on Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women
While the results on this study are certainly good to hear, I do have a problem with both the results and the way this information was given out by the media (and geez!! It sure did come out fast!!).
The study did not differentiate between real and the processed gunk commonly referred to as peanut butter. True peanut butter ingredients should read “peanuts.” Sounds like a simple, good idea, huh? Unfortunately, most peanut butter (Jif, Skippy…) has been processed to make it a solid at room temp and extend the shelf life. This processing increases the trans fatty acid content, opening up a realm of bad health effects. Stick with peanut butter that separates the oil out in the jar and needs to be refrigerated after opening.
Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women.
Thyroid problem symptoms seem to be everywhere. Hyperthyroid (Hashimoto’s, Graves), hypothyroid, benign thyroid nodules, cancerous thyroid nodules. No discrimination between them–they all seem to be happening to everyone.
The way I see it, there are 2 possibilities.
1) The Creator screwed up on the thyroid. Given how amazing everything else works in our bodies and can last for 100 years or more (if we take care of it), it seems a little odd that the thyroid just “goes out” in your twenties or thirties. Or, if you believe in the infallible nature of our Creator, maybe he subcontracted the work out and that’s where the problem arose. Either way, it’s a design flaw.
2) The thyroid was designed with the brilliance of the rest of our body, but it is overly sensitive to abuse (think of the yellow canaries in the coal mining days) from stress, lifestyle and environment chemicals.
Personally, I’m going with #2.
So what do we know of that screws up our thyroid gland?
- Gluten sensitivity
- Flame retardants
- Nutritional deficiencies like selenium and iodine
And this is just the short list. In all of them, there is something wrong. Our body throws up the thyroid flag as a warning to look for the problem and fix it. But we burn the warning flag and treat the thyroid with medication, destruction or surgery.
We now have two more items to add to the list of thyroid toxic life events.
Big shocker–they’re linked to every other chronic disease, why not the thyroid??
This particular study looked at a group of patients who had prediabetes, diabetes and thyroid problems and compared them to normal controls. Here’s what they found:
- TSH levels were higher in the diabetic group.
- The volume of the thyroid was higher in the diabetic (75% higher) and prediabetic groups (62.5% higher).
- The percentage of thyroid nodules was 38% higher in the diabetic group and 27.6% higher in prediabetics (Tweet this).
These are some pretty astounding numbers. From a full functional medicine perspective, we know that chemicals in our environment and stress play a major role in the development of diabetes. It could boil down to a chicken or the egg discussion, but it really doesn’t matter.
The best answer is to make the right lifestyle choices (you can see my recommendations by clicking here) BEFORE any thyroid or diabetic problem develops. If you’re too late for that and you’ve got thyroid problems, it’s time to accept the fact that the thyroid is merely the tip of the iceberg and you need to begin to look under the water for answers.
What did YOUR doctor recommend for YOUR thyroid problems?
Dietary Patterns and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in U.S. Men
Yet another “How much did we spend on this?” study. I know there are those in clinical practice that refuse to do something until volumes of research inevitably point to the obvious. This is one of those situations. Of note in this article, though, is the striking 11 times increase in risk for Western diet plus obesity.
Annals of Internal Medicine: Abstract
Reduction in Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle vs Metformin
I must say the the pharmaceuticals are trying to figure out how this one got out! Lifestyle intervention was more effective than metformin for lowering conversion from high risk to diabetic. The other beautiful thing is that lifestyle intervention also reduces risk of a huge list of other chronic and acute diseases with NO side effects. Metformin, on the other hand, can affect the liver and can produce life threatening metabolic acidosis. Which would you pick?
NEJM — Abstracts: Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group 346 (6): 393
Glitazone Therapy Linked to Rapid Weight Gain
The pharmaceutical options for diabetes are becoming more and more grim. Side effects and diminishing effectiveness are all concerns. Sulphonylureas have been found to actual choke off the beta cells of the pancreas via excess amyloid production. This makes prevention of diabetes so much more important by avoiding processed sugars and maintaining a regular exercise routine. Of course, these factors, along with CLA, alpha lipoic acid, chromium, vanadium and a whole host of other nutrients can also be powerful tools in managing diabetes without side effects.