Nicotine Raises Blood Sugar

June 22nd, 2011

The Department of Chemistry at California State Polytechnic University has some important news about smoking and blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics:

  • Nicotine is now known to raise blood sugar levels.
  • The more you smoke, the higher your blood sugar rises.
  • In laboratory testing, two days of nicotine dosing (the equivalent of one or two packs a day) increased HbA1c levels (average blood sugar readings over a period of time) in blood samples by up to 34.5 percent.
  • An increase in HbA1c levels of just 1 percent equals a 40 percent increase in the risk of diabetes complications.
  • Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches have the same effect on blood sugar as smoking.

Increases in blood sugar and poor diabetes control have already been clearly linked to diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke, eye and kidney disease and nerve damage, and it was known that diabetics who smoke have higher levels of complications than diabetics who don't smoke.

What wasn't clear was which of the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes were responsible. It's now believed that nicotine may impact glucose metabolism by interfering with the way glucose attaches to proteins, possibly changing their structure and function.

The American Cancer Society has developed a useful guide to help both diabetics and non-diabetics quit smoking. Download the PDF >HERE<.

Paxil and Pravachol Taken Together Have Unexpected Effect on Blood Sugar

July 25th, 2011

Analysis of an FDA data base has revealed that commonly prescribed depression and high cholesterol drugs may raise blood sugar levels if taken together. This previously undiscovered effect on blood glucose has important implications for diabetics and those at risk of developing diabetes.

The data mining revealed an unexpected spike in blood sugar in patients talking both the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) and the cholesterol drug Pravachol (pravastatin). An estimated up to one million Americans are taking the two drugs, many of them diabetics.

"If a physician has a patient on these [two] medications and their diabetes becomes harder to control, the physician may want to consider changing the medications," said the study's principal investigator, Stanford University professor Dr. Russ Altman.

To read more about the implications of this possibly harmful interaction on glucose metabolism and diabetes control on InformationWeek, >CLICK HERE.<

Newly Identified Protein May Play Role in Diabetes

September 9th, 2011

A study out of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has identified a protein that may play an important role in diabetes. The protein, CDP138, helps muscle and fat cells properly insert glucose transporters in their outer membranes. This new understanding of glucose metabolism may shed light on the impaired insulin action and glucose metabolism behind diabetes.

The results have been published in Cell Metabolism.