Researchers Study Vinegar as a Preventative Diabetes Medication

January 25th, 2011

apple cider vinegarVinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, has long been prescribed as a natural treatment for various ailments, including acne, allergies, asthma, arthritis, indigestion, insect stings, night time leg cramps, hypertension, warts, sore throat, cold sores, burns, sunburns, and even hiccups. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used vinegar as an antiseptic and antibiotic 1000's of years ago. Diabetics drank vinegar teas for blood glucose control before the invention of modern day diabetes medications.

Professor Carol Johnston, a nutritionist at the Arizona State University, has been studying the benefits of vinegar as a diabetes medication, researching its effect on blood glucose levels. Johnston and her fellow researchers performed three separate studies over a number of years.

In the first study, they gave people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes (a pre-diabetic state associated with insulin resistance), and healthy controls four teaspoons of apple cider vinegar just before a high carbohydrate breakfast. The vinegar slowed the rise of blood sugar levels in the type 2 diabetics almost 20%. Those with prediabetes experienced an even greater benefit, with their rise in blood sugar slowed almost 35%. Even the healthy study participants experienced lower blood sugar and insulin spikes than the control group that was not given vinegar.

"Both the blood glucose and insulin were better managed after the meal when they consumed vinegar," says Johnston, "It appears that the vinegar mimics the action of both acarbose [generic Precose] and metformin [generic Glucophage], which are two of the commonly prescribed medications for diabetics." Johnston suspects it's the acetic acid in the vinegar that helps with diabetes control. "The acetic acid in vinegar may inhibit enzymes that digest starch, so that carbohydrate molecules aren't available for absorption", she theorizes.

In a follow up study, participants with type 2 diabetes who did not require insulin injections but were taking oral diabetes medications were given either two tablespoons of vinegar or water with an ounce of cheese before going to bed. Those given the vinegar at saw their fasting blood sugar levels reduced an average 4% the next morning. Those with the highest fasting blood sugar levels achieved the most benefit, experiencing a drop of 6%.

In the most recent study, researchers concentrated on the effects of vinegar on healthy participants. They fed both healthy participants and diabetics a standard evening meal, and then a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates with or without vinegar following an overnight fast. The non-diabetics given vinegar with their meals had a 20% reduction in post-meal blood sugar levels compared to those who weren't given vinegar. Two teaspoons of vinegar was determined to be the most effective amount, taken with the meal instead of before eating.

In a welcome but unexpected twist, participants given the vinegar in the longer-term study also lost weight. "The group that got the vinegar lost several pounds on average," said Johnston. Obesity and insulin resistance are closely related to each other, and to diabetes. Unrelated studies have shown that improving insulin sensitivity in pre-diabetics can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. If something as simple as a couple of teaspoons of vinegar before meals could help address both obesity and high blood sugar, vinegar could gain recognition as a cost-effective oral diabetes medication. "Further investigations to determine the efficacy of vinegar as an antidiabetic therapy are warranted, says Johnston." As many who could benefit from vinegar are put off by its strong taste and the quality of existing vinegar supplements such as capsules is inconsistent, Johnston's team is now working on a more palatable medicinal vinegar tablet.

Actos Lowers Risk of Developing Diabetes in Those with Prediabetes

April 5th, 2011

prescription actosA commonly prescribed diabetes medication dramatically lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a recent study of over 600 people with prediabetes, or high blood sugar. Study participants taking the oral diabetes medication Actos experienced a 72 percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Actos, or generic pioglitazone, helps control blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Increasing insulin sensitivity can have a dramatic impact on diabetes risk, according to the researchers.

To read the entire story online on WebMD, click >HERE<.

Higher Risk Groups for Diabetes

October 18th, 2012

Although diabetes can strike anyone, there are certain groups of people who show a stronger than average tendency toward developing the disease. For instance, if you are middle aged and African American, studies suggest that you may be three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Why African Americans are at greater risk for diabetes is still open for debate. In many instances, the diabetes gene may be passed down through the family. Deaths resulting from diabetes are 20% higher for African American men than white males and 40% higher for African American women than white females. That is significant. However, the good news is that fewer African American children seem to develop type 1 diabetes.

Another group that appears to have a higher rate of secondary issues due to diabetes is women who suffer heart attacks. The risk of this complication among women is more serious than among men. In fact, women with diabetes between the ages of 25-44 are three times more likely to die of a heart attack those women without diabetes.

A staggering 10% of Hispanic Americans have diabetes. That clearly puts them in a higher risk group as well. Native American is more than twice as likely to develop diabetes, too. About 14% of the Native American population has diabetes.

Once again, diabetes can and does affect people regardless of race, sex, or age. As everyone ages; the risk of type 2 diabetes increases. Also, anyone with a family history of diabetes is also at higher risk. Yet, no matter what group you are in, there are lifestyle choices that can be made which may reduce the chances of getting this disease. Not smoking, managing your cholesterol and blood pressure, and getting plenty of exercise while maintaining a healthy weight are important. Anyone who is overweight, sedentary, and has a relative with diabetes should be screened for diabetes.

If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your GP may prescribe certain oral diabetes medications such as generic Actos to regular your blood sugar levels, although the lifestyle changes are essential.

Insulin Resistance: The Precursor to Diabetes

November 29th, 2012

For most people, diabetes is a condition that is caused when the body fails to produce enough insulin to metabolize the sugar in the body, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. However, very few know that insulin resistance lies at the root of most Type 2 diabetes cases.

Insulin resistance arises when although the body produces adequate amounts of insulin, it is unable to use it effectively. In order to understand this condition and its connection to pre-diabetes, let's look at how the food is metabolized by the body.

The food we ingest is broken down by the digestive system into glucose which is delivered throughout the body via the bloodstream. The glucose in the blood is better known as blood glucose or blood sugar. In order to take in this blood glucose, the cells need the insulin produced by the pancreas.

In people who are insulin resistant, the body does not respond to the insulin properly, because of which cells are unable to receive the glucose. As a result, the pancreas produces extra insulin to cope with the increased blood sugar levels of the body. However, over time, the pancreas is unable to keep up with the demands and eventually breaks down. As excess glucose starts building up in the bloodstream, the patient develops pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar levels are on the higher side, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG), affects nearly 79 million people in the U.S.

People with pre-diabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies indicate that an overwhelming number of pre-diabetic patients end up with type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

In addition to insulin resistance, there are other conditions that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. These include high blood pressure, extra weight around the waist, and high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood.

The exact cause of insulin resistance is unknown. However, scientists have narrowed it down to a specific gene that makes some people more susceptible to this condition. Other factors that can lead to insulin resistance are lack of physical activity, obesity, high stress levels, steroid medications, and history of polycystic ovary syndrome.

There are various ways in which pre-diabetes can be detected. Doctors use a fasting blood glucose panel to check for sugar levels and signs of insulin resistance. There is also a blood test that can gauge how much insulin is being produced by the body. It is known as C-peptide. If the test reveals elevated amounts of C-peptide, it is indicative of the fact that the pancreas is producing a lot of insulin.

If you are losing hope right about now, it's important to remember that insulin resistance and pre-diabetes can be reversed. To begin with, losing weight would help immensely. Less fat translates into fewer hormones that are responsible for causing insulin resistance. In addition, when you take part in physical activities, it increases not just the number of insulin receptors in the body but also makes them work more effectively.