Info sheet on “Supplements studied for diabetes/insulin resistance”

NYBC has prepared an updated version of its info sheet on the topic of supplements that have been studied for diabetes or insulin resistance. Here’s the text below:

SUPPLEMENTS STUDIED FOR DIABETES/INSULIN RESISTANCE

Multivitamin/multimineral: Regular use of a multivitamin/multimineral supplement helps people with diabetes maintain good health and reduce infections. Clinical evidence indicates that diabetics have unique nutritional needs, and should take a daily multivitamin to supplement their normal diet.

Note: NYBC stocks Jarrow’s Multi 1-to-3; Douglas Lab’s Added Protection, and SuperNutrition’s family of multivitamins (such as the Opti-Pack).

Reference: Barringer, et al. Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Infection and Quality of Life. Annals of Internal Medicine. 3/4/2003.

Omega-3 fatty acids (Fish Oil): Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown benefit for cardiovascular health in recent randomized controlled clinical trials. The FDA has also approved a health claim for fish oil: “supporting but not conclusive evidence shows that the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

Note: NYBC stocks Max DHA –Omega-3 Fish Oil Purified by Molecular Distillation (Jarrow); and ProOmega –Nordic Naturals (60 softgels or 180 softgels).

Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) has the ability to assist with glucose metabolism, and also promotes healthy nerve function. A recent study concluded that ALA (600mg) could be useful in helping to treat the symptoms of diabetes-related neuropathy (= generally, pain, tingling, numbness in feet and hands).

Note: NYBC stocks ALA (Montiff) 300mg/60.

Reference: Ametov et al. The sensory symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy are improved with alpha-lipoic acid: The SYDNEY Trial. Diabetes Care. 2003, 26 (3)

Other supplements studied for diabetes: Chromium and biotin (these two supplements, taken together, are believed to play an active role in balancing insulin production with glucose uptake). Also: evening primrose oil, resveratrol, bitter melon.

Talk to your doctor before you use these or other supplements. Do not discontinue medications you are taking for diabetes/glucose control without first discussing with your healthcare provider any complementary treatments you are considering!

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NEW! Managing and Preventing HIV Med Side-Effects

To mark its fifth anniversary, the New York Buyers’ Club has prepared a special edition of SUPPLEMENT. In it you will find a concise Guide to managing and preventing HIV medication side effects with supplements and other complementary and alternative therapies.

This is an invaluable introduction to how nutritional supplements can be used to counter those side effects that can make life miserable–or even disrupt treatment adherence–in people taking antiretroviral medications for HIV.

Read about approaches to dealing with diarrhea, nausea, heart health issues, diabetes, insomnia, fatigue, liver stress, lipodystrophy, anxiety and depression.

This FREE Guide is available online at:

http://newyorkbuyersclub.org/

On the NYBC website you can also SUBSCRIBE to the nonprofit co-op’s quarterly FREE newsletter, THE SUPPLEMENT, which continues to offer a unique perspective on current evidence-based use of supplements for chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes/insulin resistance, hepatitis and other liver conditions, anxiety/depression, osteoarthritis, cognitive and neurorological issues, and gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Supplements studied for diabetes: multivitamins, fish oil, lipoic acid, chromium and biotin

We were at a health fair in Brooklyn recently, and, because there is a high rate of diabetes in this area of NYC, we decided that we should produce a short list of the most important supplements that have been studied for diabetes:

Multivitamin/multimineral

Regular use of a multivitamin/multimineral supplement helps people with diabetes maintain good health (for example, by reducing the number of infections they experience).

Reference: Barringer, et al. Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Infection and Quality of Life. Annals of Internal Medicine. 3/4/2003.

Omega-3 fatty acids (Fish Oil)

Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. (Two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke.) Omega-3 fatty acids have shown benefit for cardiovascular health in recent randomized controlled clinical trials. The FDA has also approved a health claim for fish oil: “supporting but not conclusive evidence shows that the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) has the ability to assist with glucose metabolism, and also promotes healthy nerve function. A recent study concluded that ALA (600mg) could be useful in helping to treat the symptoms of diabetes-related neuropathy (= generally, pain, tingling, numbness in feet and hands).

Reference: Ametov et al. The sensory symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy are improved with alpha-lipoic acid: The SYDNEY Trial. Diabetes Care. 2003, 26 (3)

Chromium

See entries under Chromium on this blog for additional information about this mineral and its potential benefit for people with diabetes.

Hepatitis C and HIV Co-infection: A Treatment Update from CATIE

The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) has devoted the June/July Issue 2008 of its Treatment Update to a review of recent research on Hepatitis C and HIV. Here are some of the main points:

1. Although commonly viewed as simply a liver disease, Hepatitis C in recent research is strongly linked to diabetes, pre-diabetes and insulin resistance. In fact, about one-third of people with Hep C show insulin resistance, a complication that reduces chances of recovery and may lead to additional problems. Thus, researchers “need to find ways to reverse IR [insulin resistance]. Such methods could include clinical trials of diet, exercise programs and insulin-sensitizing drugs or supplements such as chromium.”

2. The HIV medication ddI (didanosine, Videx or Videx EC) has been associated with liver disease in some cases. Researchers have speculated that ddI decreases levels of a protective compound called glutathione (GSH), which is used in the body to make enzymes that help detoxification. NAC, or N-acetyl-cysteine, has been shown to raise GSH levels in people with HIV, and so could be helpful in countering ddI-related liver problems. (However, no clinical trials have yet been conducted to assess NAC’s impact on the liver health of people with HIV taking ddI.)

Read the complete Treatment Update issue here:

CATIE Treatment Update June/July 2008

For more information on the supplements mentioned above, see the NYBC entries on

CHROMIUM

NAC or N-acetylcysteine

Or, see further entries for these two supplements on this blog.

CATIE Treatment Update: Chromium supplements for metabolic problems in people with HIV

The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) website has posted news about a new study of chromium supplements for metabolic abnormalities in people with HIV. Here’s the introduction:

Can chromium supplementation help body shape?

A research team at Toronto General Hospital found a statistical link between low chromium levels in the blood and HIV infection, particularly in HAART users. The Toronto team also noted that some of the symptoms of chromium deficiency are similar to the metabolic problems—higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar and insulin and the weakened effects of insulin—in some HIV positive people. So the team later conducted a double-blind study with a modest dose of chromium vs. placebo in people with HIV infection. Their findings suggest that chromium supplementation may confer some benefit(s) in people with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) in the short-term.

Read the entire article on the CATIE website.

This April/May 2008 post from CATIE follows after news of several other studies regarding chromium supplementation and metabolic complications in people with HIV. In February 2008, for example, the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston included a report
entitled “Chromium supplementation decreases insulin resistance and trunk fat.”

For more background on this dietary supplement, see the NYBC entry CHROMIUM.

Chromium and biotin supplementation may help control diabetes

We were interested to see a report from last month on a study of chromium plus biotin to help in managing diabetes.
The study, conducted by Yale University researchers, found that daily supplementation with these two items improved glucose tolerance by 15 per cent, compared to placebo. The investigation focused on the glycemic control and blood lipids of 36 overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes. Reporting the results in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, lead author Gregory Singer concluded that supplementing with chromium and biotin on a daily basis improved blood sugar control and cholesterol metabolism in diabetes patients on an antidiabetic treatment regimen, and could be considered as an adjunct to conventional oral diabetes therapy.

We also note that biotin and lipoic acid have recently been investigated for their potential in helping manage diabetes. See the NYBC entry on biotin for further details.

Chromium and glucose tolerance factor

Since there are a number of federally funded research studies dealing with chromium supplementation and blood glucose levels (see other posts under “Chromium” on this blog), we’d be very interested in hearing about the experience of our members in using this product.

Jarrow Chromium GTF
Here’s an extract of the manufacturer’s product description:


Chromium GTF (Jarrow) Each bottle, 100 caps. Each capsule, 200 mcg of chromium (in a food matrix of 100 mg of Saccharomyces cerevisiae nutritional yeast).


Chromium has been shown to be deficient in populations that consume high carbohydrate diets and especially high in simple sugars. Chromium is an important component in eliciting the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) action upon serum glucose and more importantly enhancing the effectiveness of insulin in glucose disposal into the cell. This makes sense. The more carbs you eat, the more your body will need the chromium to manage them. This could help offset the losses of chromium used up in that effort to take care of the carbs. Of course, this points to another logical step: reduce carb intake!! Check out the glycemic index of the foods you eat and focus on those with lower numbers. This index tells you how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. Check out the URL below for more information on the glycemic index:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates.html