Resveratrol supplements lower blood glucose in Type 2 Diabetes patients

A recent study of resveratrol supplementation for people with Type 2 diabetes confirms the benefit of the supplement. The diabetes patients were under treatment at the time of the study. After 45 days, the study group taking the resveratrol instead of the placebo showed significantly decreased systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, insulin, and insulin resistance, while their HDL (the so-called “good cholesterol”) was significantly increased, when compared to their baseline levels. The authors of the research conclude that resveratrol exerts “strong antidiabetic effects in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

While this study reinforces findings about the benefits of supplementing with resveratrol for people with Type 2 diabetes, we at NYBC would like to repeat our recommendation to discuss with your healthcare provider any use of the supplement as part of your ongoing treatment for diabetes.

See the NYBC catalog for further information:

RESVERATROL – Jarrow

RESVERATROL SYNERGY – Jarrow

Reference:
Movahed, A et al. Antihyperglycemic effects of short term resveratrol supplementation in type 2 diabetic patients. Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:851267. doi: 10.1155/2013/851267. Epub 2013 Sep 1.

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Resveratrol: more evidence of its potential benefits

Resveratrol, found in red wine and now widely used as a supplement, is back in the news this month. A research report in the highly respected journal Science identifies the precise mechanism by which resveratrol regulates sirtuins, proteins in the body which have been linked to the prevention of many age-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Type-2 diabetes.

This finding adds further support to the idea that resveratrol or a derivative of resveratrol might represent a breakthrough treatment for some of the major disease threats faced by humans as they age.

We first read about the new research in our hometown paper, The New York Times, but the story has been widely reported. (See reference to the article in Science below.)

NYBC stocks Resveratrol and Resveratrol Synergy from Jarrow. Of course we’d welcome any reports from our members about their use of these products.

Reference: Hubbard, et al. Evidence for a common mechanism of SIRT1 regulation by allosteric activators. Science, March 8, 2013.

National Institutes of Health: How Resveratrol Works

Resveratrol, a compound found most famously in red wine, is the subject of a Feb. 13, 2012 news release by the National Institutes of Health. The NIH reports on a new study that identified the precise biochemical mechanism in the body that seems to be responsible for resveratrol’s ability to mitigate the harmful health effects of a high-fat diet.

One of the earliest reasons for scientific interest in resveratrol was the perception that people who drank a lot of red wine could also eat a relatively high fat diet, yet still have a rather low risk of cardiovascular disease. (This was the so-called “French paradox,” much discussed in the US media in the early 1990s.) The current NIH-supported study found evidence that resveratrol affects specific biochemical pathways that block the ill effects of a high-fat diet, such as obesity, glucose intolerance, and, potentially, the development of Type 2 diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes, in turn, is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.)

This NIH-supported study follows a pattern we’ve often seen before: the health benefits of a natural product are noted in general population studies, and eventually laboratory science allows us to home in on the exact mechanisms by which the natural substance works. Needless to say, we’re all for this kind of research to confirm and refine our knowledge of supplements!

Read more about the resveratrol study at:
http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/february2012/02132012resveratrol.htm

You can find resveratrol in two forms at the NYBC. (Resveratrol Synergy adds some of the additional parts of the grape that are thought to have health benefits, and combines those with green tea extract, another food extract that researchers believe may have health benefits.)

Resveratrol
Resveratrol Synergy

Alpha lipoic acid and diabetes

As we reported earlier on this blog, alpha lipoic acid (often abbreviated ALA) was studied and found beneficial in a large trial for peripheral neuropathy (pain, tingling in extremities) related to diabetes. Now here’s a 2009 update on alpha lipoic acid, which asserts its general benefit and usefulness for Type 2 diabetes, and explains some of the mechanisms behind those benefits. (We’ve highlighted the key findings of this review.)

Poh Z, Goh KP. A current update on the use of alpha lipoic Acid in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009 Dec;9(4):392-398.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) which is characterised by insulin resistance, is closely linked to the triad of glucolipotoxicity, inflammation and oxidative stress. Increased adiposity, leading to increased free fatty acids (FFAs), contributes to insulin resistance by disrupting the signal transduction pathway of insulin mediated glucose disposal, and causes impaired insulin secretion. Hyperglycaemia and dyslipidaemia driven oxidative stress resulting from enhanced free-radical formation and/or defects in antioxidant defence is implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy (DN). This and other inflammatory pathways account for a complex network of interacting metabolic factors responsible for causing diabetes and her complications. There is growing evidence that Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has beneficial effects on the treatment of T2DM and some of its complications. It represents an attractive pharmacological target in the treatment of T2DM by modulating the signal transduction pathways in insulin resistance and antagonizing the oxidative and inflammatory stresses, which are major players in the pathogenesis of this disorder. A potent anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger, ALA also targets cellular signal transduction pathways which increases glucose uptake and utilization, thus providing specific targeted therapy in the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetic neuropathy. Apart from the rare risk of Insulin Autoimmune Syndrome (IAS), ALA has shown to be relatively safe, even in patients with renal and liver failure. This review focuses and summarises the molecular mechanisms of T2DM, and underlines the therapeutic value of ALA in this globally significant disease.

Please also consult NYBC’s basic info sheet on Supplements for Diabetes.

Please visit the NYBC Catalog for forther information on these supplements.

For information on Bitter Melon, please email contact.nybc@newyorkbuyersclub.org

ARE YOU READY TO JOIN THE FOOD REVOLUTION?

 Maybe it was the glory of our neighborhood community garden in June that inspired us to write this piece for the next issue of the New York Buyers’ Club newsletter, THE SUPPLEMENT:

 

Is it just our imagination, or have we detected a growing public interest in the impact of food on our health? Maybe you’ve heard about our new first family, the Obamas, and the vegetable garden they’ve planted at the White House to supply their kitchen with locally grown, healthy vegetables and berries. Or—not such cheerful news–maybe you’ve read about the obesity epidemic sweeping the US, caused largely by mass consumption of fast food and highly processed food products, and linked to devastating increases in diabetes and cardiovascular disease across the population. Or maybe you’ve dipped (or dug) into the writings of food revolutionary Michael Pollan, who’s become celebrated for urging us to eat real food (like our great-great-grandparents ate), shun the supermarket and shop the greenmarket whenever possible, and even plant a garden.

Though the New York Buyers’ Club is a nutritional supplements co-op, we understand very well that food is first. The food we eat every day, what kind and how much, has an enormous impact on our health, and research on diet has brought to light ever more clearly the effects of nutrition on both our physical health and our mental well-being. A few things have been obvious for a while: traditional diets, such as the “Mediterranean diet” or the “Chinese diet,” are much better for you than the standard modern American diet with its refined carbohydrates, bad fats (saturated or trans), excessive salt, super-sized portions of red meat, and mighty rivers of high fructose corn syrup. It’s simple epidemiology: populations that eat lots of whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, moderate amounts of fish and poultry (and little red meat), and rely on traditional seasonings (from rosemary to turmeric) and good fats (like olive and fish oils) end up having significantly lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and even mental health conditions like depression.

Can the clear health benefits of traditional diets be translated in any useful way to the field of supplements? (Supplements are, to repeat, a supplement to food, not a replacement.) One obvious “yes” comes in the increased study and use of fish oil/omega-3 fatty acid supplements over the last few decades, first of all for cardiovascular health, but also—as has been highlighted more recently—to reduce susceptibility to depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Here’s a case in which an individual nutrient within a healthful diet has been isolated and can be delivered as a supplement that bestows health benefits. (Fish oil supplements have a particular advantage over food sources, too: they can be refined to eliminate mercury or other contamination, a growing concern these days, whether you’re eating fresh or canned fish.)

We also know that it’s possible to extract a component from food and use its particular properties to confer a health benefit, while leaving behind other parts that you don’t want or need. This is the case with whey protein powders, which leave behind milk fat, but keep the whey protein with its high nutritional value.  It’s not news that whey protein can help to build and sustain the body’s lean muscle mass (crucial for maintaining long-term health, and especially important for people with chronic conditions like HIV that may impair absorption of nutrients), but research has uncovered as well several important indications of its value in supporting immune function, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even serving as an anti-cancer agent.

Foods found in traditional diets continue to be the focus of scientific research on what’s healthy in what we eat, and why. Recently, we looked into a study showing that Chinese women who regularly ate mushrooms and drank green tea had lower rates of breast cancer, or less severe manifestations of breast cancer, than those who didn’t. This kind of nutrition research is about putting two and two together. It was known that the rate of breast cancer in China is four to five times lower than that in most Western industrialized countries; and there had been previous lab studies suggesting the anti-cancer properties of green tea and mushrooms—so why not investigate more rigorously the relationship between breast cancer rates and consumption of these traditional foods?

And here’s another bit of evidence-based food advice. A few months ago our hometown newspaper, The New York Times, featured a piece entitled “The Power of Berries” (Jan. 22, 2009), which detailed the accumulating research on how these fruits help ward off cancers of the colon, esophagus, and mouth. This research built on the well-documented association between diets rich in berries (including black and red raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and elderberries) and lower rates of cancer. One new suggestion emerging from the recent studies is that berries may exert a “genome-wide” anti-cancer effect, meaning that, unlike many current cancer treatments that target only one cancer-promoting gene at a time, berries may target a whole spectrum of cancer-promoting genes, causing them to shut down development of pre-cancerous and cancerous growths. Exciting stuff from the berry researchers! And, there’s a further, practical note: investigations have demonstrated that freeze dried berries and berry powders are as effective as fresh fruit in terms of anti-cancer effect. So even if you can’t eat fresh berries several times a week (an obvious problem for those of us who don’t live where the growing season is year-round), mixing a powdered berry supplement into a smoothie could be just as useful to your health. 

We gave this piece a somewhat tongue-in-cheek title, asking if you, dear reader, were ready to join the “food revolution.” Actually, it strikes us that the current revolution in thinking about our eating habits in many ways involves returning to the old days—to the traditional diets of previous generations, to the old-fashioned idea of raising your own food, or to shopping for locally-grown produce at a greenmarket. Of course we return to these older ways armed with a store of advanced knowledge about why some dietary traditions are healthful, and how they can be adapted to our modern lives. If that’s the definition of the “food revolution,” we at NYBC heartily encourage you to sign up—for your health!

Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) and its benefits for Type 2 Diabetes

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University provides a good review of research on fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) and Type 2 diabetes (see excerpt below). Although there was some concern that fish oil supplements might interfere with glycemic control (= control of blood sugar levels) in diabetics, that does not seem to be the case. Moreover, fish oil supplementation can significantly lower triglycerides in people with diabetes, and there is good epidemiological evidence that over the long term higher omega-3 fatty acid intakes may also decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetics.


Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM). Hypertriglyceridemia […] is a common lipid abnormality in individuals with type 2 DM, and a number of randomized controlled trials have found that fish oil supplementation significantly lowers serum triglyceride levels in diabetic individuals. Although early uncontrolled studies raised concerns that fish oil supplementation adversely affected blood glucose (glycemic) control, randomized controlled trials have not generally found adverse effects of fish oil supplementation on long-term glycemic control. A systematic review that pooled the results of 18 randomized controlled trials including more than 800 diabetic patients found that fish oil supplementation significantly lowered serum triglycerides, especially in those with hypertriglyceridemia. A more recent meta-analysis that combined the results of 18 randomized controlled trials in individuals with type 2 DM or metabolic syndrome found that fish oil supplementation decreased serum triglycerides by 31 mg/dl compared to placebo, but had no effect on serum cholesterol, fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1c concentrations. Although few controlled trials have examined the effect of fish oil supplementation on cardiovascular disease outcomes in diabetics, a prospective study that followed 5103 women diagnosed with type 2 DM, but free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study, found that higher fish intakes were associated with significantly decreased risks of CHD over a 16-year follow up period. Thus, increasing EPA and DHA intakes may be beneficial to diabetic individuals, especially those with elevated serum triglycerides. Moreover, there is little evidence that daily EPA + DHA intakes of less than 3 g/day adversely affect long-term glycemic control in diabetics. The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetic individuals increase omega-3 fatty acid consumption by consuming two to three 3-oz servings of fish weekly.

See also the NYBC entry on DHA Max, a DHA/EPA supplement from Jarrow.

Book Review: “Supplement Your Prescription — What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition,” by Hyla Cass, M.D.

This is an excellent guide to managing the side effects of prescription drugs through better nutrition and nutritional supplements. Published in 2007 by Basic Health Publications, it synthesizes much recent research on how the most frequently prescribed drugs for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and depression often cause nutrient deficiencies that can lead to additional health problems. Dr. Cass, who is a practicing physician and a specialist in integrative medicine, provides clear analyses of these damaging side effects and offers recommendations on how to address them.

The first condition discussed by the book is Type 2 Diabetes/insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome. For those who are taking the most commonly prescribed drug for Type 2 Diabetes, metformin, Dr. Cass stresses the importance of supplementing with Vitamin B12 (200-1000mg/day) folic acid (400-800mg/day) and CoQ 10 (30-200mg/day) to make up for the nutrient-depleting effects of the medication. Vitamin B12 and folic acid, together with Vitamin B6, are crucial for keeping levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in check in the body. Since elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, stroke, hypertension, neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s, it’s a top priority to keep the body supplied with the B vitamins that can control it.

Dr. Cass also provides a “Diabetes Supplement Program” especially directed to pre-diabetics who may be able to address their condition with diet, exercise, and supplements (the B vitamins and CoQ 10 mentioned above, plus alpha lipoic acid, antioxidants, and the trace minerals chromium and vanadium, which are needed in blood sugar processing).

Much more to discuss in this very useful book, so we will come back to it again!