A Fat Molecule Unique to Avocados Can Help Lower Diabetes Risk by Addressing Insulin Resistance

(Natural News) Avocados are a powerful superfood that confers a host of health benefits. They help lower cholesterol levels, improve nutrient absorption and promote weight loss. Studies also show that avocados can help prevent cancer and relieve osteoarthritis symptoms. However, the compounds in avocados responsible for these health benefits are still unidentified.

The post A Fat Molecule Unique to Avocados Can Help Lower Diabetes Risk by Addressing Insulin Resistance appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

Acetaminophen may Increase Stroke Risk in People with Diabetes

Many people reach for a couple of acetaminophen tablets (acetaminophen is the main active ingredient in Tylenol) for a headache and other minor aches and pains. It’s easy to think that you’re safe taking a drug that is so readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, but for people with diabetes, taking acetaminophen may increase the risk of having a stroke.

According to a recent study, approximately 5% of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes, compared to 4% who didn’t take acetaminophen but had strokes. However, people in the study who had diabetes suffered even more strokes.

Study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said:

“My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter.”

Researchers conducted the study to explore the link between acetaminophen and cardiac events in older people living in nursing homes in France. In the end, no connection was uncovered.

Overall, the researchers found that acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for older adults, but people with diabetes should be more wary of taking the medicines containing the drug.

The study concluded with:

“Despite old age, polypharmacy, and polymorbidity, acetaminophen was found safe for most, but not all, of our NH study population. Pain management in NHs is a health priority, and acetaminophen remains a good therapeutic choice as a first?line analgesic. More studies are needed on older diabetic patients.”

It should also be noted that it is remarkably easy to overdose on acetaminophen, and the drug is associated with kidney damage and acute liver failure.

Read: Over-the-Counter Painkillers can Increase Risk of 2nd Heart Attack, Death

Gerard said:

“It is always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you’re taking the dose that’s right for you.”

The study was published March 26 in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source:

[1] UPI

Acetaminophen may Increase Stroke Risk in People with Diabetes

Many people reach for a couple of acetaminophen tablets (acetaminophen is the main active ingredient in Tylenol) for a headache and other minor aches and pains. It’s easy to think that you’re safe taking a drug that is so readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, but for people with diabetes, taking acetaminophen may increase the risk of having a stroke.

According to a recent study, approximately 5% of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes, compared to 4% who didn’t take acetaminophen but had strokes. However, people in the study who had diabetes suffered even more strokes.

Study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said:

“My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter.”

Researchers conducted the study to explore the link between acetaminophen and cardiac events in older people living in nursing homes in France. In the end, no connection was uncovered.

Overall, the researchers found that acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for older adults, but people with diabetes should be more wary of taking the medicines containing the drug.

The study concluded with:

“Despite old age, polypharmacy, and polymorbidity, acetaminophen was found safe for most, but not all, of our NH study population. Pain management in NHs is a health priority, and acetaminophen remains a good therapeutic choice as a first?line analgesic. More studies are needed on older diabetic patients.”

It should also be noted that it is remarkably easy to overdose on acetaminophen, and the drug is associated with kidney damage and acute liver failure.

Read: Over-the-Counter Painkillers can Increase Risk of 2nd Heart Attack, Death

Gerard said:

“It is always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you’re taking the dose that’s right for you.”

The study was published March 26 in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source:

[1] UPI

Nature Slashes the Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and More

Sure, Netflix is full of great shows and movies to watch, but it can never replace nature in providing a natural and euphoric boost in both physical and mental health. Many studies have showcased the powerful benefits nature can offer, proving that spending time outside slashes the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and stress. [1]

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the U.K. reviewed data on almost 300 million people from 20 countries, including the U.S., and assessed the effect of nature on people in Australia, Europe, and Japan – where Shinrin yoku, also known as forest bathing, is popular – to reach their conclusions.

In the study, “green space” was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation, as well as urban green spaces like parks and street greenery.

The researchers compared the health of people with little access to green spaces to the health of those with the greatest access to such areas.

A multitude of health benefits was linked to spending time in or near green spaces, though it’s not clear which factors of nature are most responsible for sparking such health benefits.

Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, a Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, said:

“Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood. It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.

People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol – a marker of stress.”

She suggested that Japan has the “right idea.”

Living near green spaces provides people greater opportunities for physical activity and socializing. Moreover, the researchers said that being outdoors exposes people to a diverse variety of bacteria that boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Andy Jones, a professor at UEA and study co-author, said:

“We often reach for medication when we’re unwell, but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognized as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact.” [2]

Twohig-Bennett said she hopes the findings will encourage people to make the most of green areas, and nudge policymakers and town planters toward creating, cleaning up, and maintaining parks and other green spaces.

Previous studies show that spending time in nature is good for both physical and mental health. A 2016 study published in Nature Scientific Reports shows that walking in a park or other green space for at least 30 minutes not only increases physical activity but lowers the risk of high blood pressure and depression.

A 2015 study found that city dwellers are more likely to be stressed, depressed, and struggle with mental illness. People living in urban areas had a 20% higher risk of anxiety disorders, a 40% greater risk of mood disorders, and were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as people who live in rural areas.

Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] LaboratoryEquipment

Nature Slashes the Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and More

Sure, Netflix is full of great shows and movies to watch, but it can never replace nature in providing a natural and euphoric boost in both physical and mental health. Many studies have showcased the powerful benefits nature can offer, proving that spending time outside slashes the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and stress. [1]

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the U.K. reviewed data on almost 300 million people from 20 countries, including the U.S., and assessed the effect of nature on people in Australia, Europe, and Japan – where Shinrin yoku, also known as forest bathing, is popular – to reach their conclusions.

In the study, “green space” was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation, as well as urban green spaces like parks and street greenery.

The researchers compared the health of people with little access to green spaces to the health of those with the greatest access to such areas.

A multitude of health benefits was linked to spending time in or near green spaces, though it’s not clear which factors of nature are most responsible for sparking such health benefits.

Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, a Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, said:

“Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood. It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.

People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol – a marker of stress.”

She suggested that Japan has the “right idea.”

Living near green spaces provides people greater opportunities for physical activity and socializing. Moreover, the researchers said that being outdoors exposes people to a diverse variety of bacteria that boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Andy Jones, a professor at UEA and study co-author, said:

“We often reach for medication when we’re unwell, but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognized as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact.” [2]

Twohig-Bennett said she hopes the findings will encourage people to make the most of green areas, and nudge policymakers and town planters toward creating, cleaning up, and maintaining parks and other green spaces.

Previous studies show that spending time in nature is good for both physical and mental health. A 2016 study published in Nature Scientific Reports shows that walking in a park or other green space for at least 30 minutes not only increases physical activity but lowers the risk of high blood pressure and depression.

A 2015 study found that city dwellers are more likely to be stressed, depressed, and struggle with mental illness. People living in urban areas had a 20% higher risk of anxiety disorders, a 40% greater risk of mood disorders, and were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as people who live in rural areas.

Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] LaboratoryEquipment

Stricter Air Pollution Standards Could Prevent Millions of Diabetes Cases

Air pollution limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are too high, needlessly contributing to disease. In fact, by making them stricter, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. might avoid developing Type 2 diabetes each year. [1]

Air pollution was found to have contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases in 2016 alone – 14% of the worldwide total. Pollution was linked to 150,000 cases in the United States per year. Additionally, the study found that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes. [2]

Senior study author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University, said of the findings:

“There’s an undeniable relationship between diabetes and particle air pollution levels well below the current safe standards. Many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.” [1]

How Air Pollution can Contribute to Disease and Diabetes

Particulate air pollution is composed of microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, and soot. The finest particles regulated by the EPA are 2.5 micrometers. By comparison, a single strand of human hair is 30 times bigger than that – 70 micrometers.

Particles smaller than 10 micrometers can enter the lungs and pass into the bloodstream, which carries them to different organs, sparking a chronic inflammatory reaction believed to cause disease.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who was not involved in the study, said:

“Ten of 15 years ago, we thought that air pollution caused pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis and not much more than that. We now know that air pollution is a very important cause of heart disease and stroke and contributes to chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and chronic kidney disease.”

The majority of Type 2 diabetes cases are caused by obesity, lack of physical activity, and genes. However, studies have pointed to a direct link between Type 2 diabetes and air pollution. This is because air pollution is thought to trigger inflammation and reduce the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin.

For the study, researchers examined the relationship between fine particulate matter (FPM) and the risk of diabetes by first analyzing data from 1.7 million U.S. veterans. [2]

The data showed that when a population of the vets was exposed to pollution at a level of between 5 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air and about 21% developed diabetes. When that exposure was increased to between 11.9 to 13.6 micrograms per cubic meter of air, 24% of the group developed the disease.

A 3% increase doesn’t sound like much, but it represents an increase of 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people in a given year, according to the researchers.

The team then linked the data to the EPA’s land-based air monitoring systems and space-borne satellites operated by NASA.

They used several statistical models to test the validity and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and found a strong link to air pollution.

From there, the scientists created a model to evaluate diabetes risk across various pollution levels using all studies linking diabetes to air pollution.

Read: Thousands of Lives Could be Saved by Stricter Air Pollution Standards

Lastly, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study. The research is conducted on a yearly basis and includes contributions from researchers located all over the world.

Al-Aly said:

“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally. We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. EPA and the World Health Organization.

This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.”

The risk of pollution-linked Type 2 diabetes was found to be higher in low-income countries such as India, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, and Guyana.

People living in wealthier countries like France, Finland, and Iceland have a lower risk of diabetes because they have what they need in terms of environmental mitigation systems and clear-air policies.

The commission found that 92% of pollution-related deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries among minorities and the poor. Children face the greatest health risks from pollution, even at low doses. [1]

Sources:

[1] CNN

[2] Daily Mail

Text-Messaging as Effective as Medication for Improving Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes can be a royal pain in the you-know-what. Staying healthy always requires effort, but living with diabetes and staying healthy requires extra effort. No fun. Interestingly, one study claims something quite bizarre related to diabetes managements – texting is just as good as medication at improving blood sugar levels. Hmmm. [1]

The Dulce Digital clinical trial found that low-income Hispanics with Type 2 diabetes who received health-related text messages daily for 6 months showed improvements in their blood glucose levels comparable to those they would have had if they were taking medication.

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D., corporate vice president of Scripps Whittier, said:

“As a low-cost intervention, we believe text messaging has great potential to improve the management of diabetes, especially among patients who struggle, due to employment, transportation and other barriers, to access healthcare services.

The data from our new study proves that this an effective approach.”

About 30 million Americans have diabetes, which costs the United States more than $245 billion a year. Hispanics are at higher risk for the disease – 13.9% compared with 7.6% for non-Hispanic whites.

For the study, conducted between October 2012 and August 2014, researchers recruited 63 low-income Hispanic participants. The volunteers watched a 15-minute diabetes instructional video, and were then given a blood glucose meter and instructions on using it. All participants received access to their normal care, including voluntary visits with a primary care physician, as well as a certified diabetes instructor, and group diabetes self-management education.

The participants who were randomly assigned to the study group received 2-3 short text messages a day at the start of the trial, but received fewer as the study went on. Each individual in the study group received an average of 354 messages over the course of the research. The texts looked something like this:

  • Use small plates! Portions will look larger and you may feel more satisfied after eating.
  • It takes a team! Get the support you need — family, friends and support groups can help you to succeed.
  • Tick, tock. Take your medication at the same time every day!
  • Time to check your blood sugar. Please text back your results.

Researchers focused on a blood test called hemoglobin A1C, which measures average blood glucose during the previous 2-3 months. A normal hemoglobin A1C should be below 5.7%

  • On average, the combined participant groups registered a baseline mean A1C of 9.5%.
  • But 3 months later, the text group’s A1C was down to 8.5%.
  • The control group still had an average A1C of 9.3%.
  • At 6 months, the study group’s mean A1C remained at 8.5%, while the control group’s mean A1C registered a 4.9% mean.

If you’re a diabetic, you know that’s a huge improvement.

At the end of the trial, 96% of those in the study group said the text messages helped them to manage their diabetes “a lot.” The same percentage said that they would continue receiving the messages, if given the option. Ninety-seven percent said they would recommend the program to their friends.

In particular, those who received texts asking them to check their blood glucose and text their readings back had the most success. [2]

The researchers believe the significant drop in the study group’s mean A1C was the result of a higher level of engagement and participation in the program. It’s way too easy to forget to test your blood sugar.

Philis-Tsimikas said:

“These findings suggest that, on a wider scale, a simple, low-cost text message-based approach like the one offered through Dulce Digital has the potential to significantly benefit many people who struggle every day to manage their diabetes and maintain their health.”

Sources:

[1] Science Daily

[2] Nursing Times

Researchers Develop Swallowable Device that Injects Insulin Painlessly

For many people with diabetes, living with the disease requires multiple needle sticks a day to inject insulin and control their blood sugar. But in the future, diabetics might be able to take their insulin in pill-form. Two groups of researchers are working to make this possible in the future.

The groups, from MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have developed an insulin delivery system that still uses a needle, but it’s so small that it can be swallowed, pain-free.

The pea-sized device contains a spring that injects a tiny dart of solid insulin into the wall of the stomach, according to Carlo Giovanni Traverso, an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Traverso said:

“We chose the stomach as the site of delivery because we recognized that the stomach is a thick and robust part of the GI tract.”

Once the device reaches the stomach, the humidity there allows the spring to launch the insulin dart. If the idea makes you cringe, you can relax; it doesn’t hurt, thanks to the lack of pain receptors in the stomach. Once the injection has occurred, the needle breaks down in the digestive tract. [1] [2]

The self-righting capsule orients itself inside the stomach and ejects a tiny dart of solid insulin that’s about a quarter of an inch long. Source: Ania Hupalowska, Alex Abramson, Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Science

That all sounded good, in theory, but the researchers had to overcome the issue of getting the device to orient itself in such a way that it injected the insulin directly into the stomach. If you swallow a pill, you don’t have much control over which direction it lands once it’s in the body. [1]

Fortunately, nature provided the solution.

Traverso explained:

“Leopard tortoises happened to have evolved a way of doing this.”

MIT wrote in the journal Science: [2]

“The researchers drew their inspiration for the self-orientation feature from a tortoise known as the leopard tortoise. This tortoise, which is found in Africa, has a shell with a high, steep dome, allowing it to right itself if it rolls onto its back. The researchers used computer modeling to come up with a variant of this shape for their capsule, which allows it to reorient itself even in the dynamic environment of the stomach.”

Do you remember Weebles – those toys from your childhood that “wobble but they don’t fall down”? Those, too, provided inspiration for how to properly orient the device in the body. [1]

The researchers said in the journal Science that they’ve tested the insulin-delivery device on pigs, where it successfully injects a therapeutic dose of insulin provided the pig has an empty stomach.

Both teams of researchers have partnered with the global healthcare company Novo Nordisk to prepare the device for use in humans. It could be ready for human testing in a few years.

Sources:

[1] NPR

[2] TechCrunch

Diabetics: STOP Doing This to Cut Risk of Premature Death

Having Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to mean a life of disability or early death. A few lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, can reduce those risks, especially the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Kicking cigarettes to the curb and closely following treatment protocols can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease “significantly,” according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. In some cases, the risk can be completely eliminated.

Aidin Rawshani, medical intern and doctoral student at the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, and author of the report, said:

“This is definitely good news. The study shows that patients with Type 2 diabetes with all risk factors within therapeutic target range had an extremely low risk of premature death, heart attack, and stroke.”

For the study, researchers culled data from the Swedish National Diabetes Register of approximately 300,000 people with Type 2 diabetes in the period 1998-2015. The team compared the patients with up to 5 times as many gender- and age-matched individuals from the general population as a control group.

Type 2 diabetes patients were 10 times more likely than people without the disease to suffer a heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, the study found. In general, those individuals have a 45% greater risk of heart failure. [2]

These individuals also had 5 times the risk for premature death compared to the control group.

Read: Immediate and Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Falling into the first category is dependent upon controlling a number of risk factors – blood pressure, long-term blood sugar, blood lipids, renal function, and smoking – and adherence to medication, the authors wrote. Out of all of these risk factors, smoking was found to be the most important for premature death. Elevated blood glucose was the 2nd most important risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Read: 5 Blood Sugar-Regulating Foods for Diabetics

Rawshani said:

“By optimizing these 5 risk factors, all of which can be influenced, you can come a long way. We have shown that the risks can be greatly reduced, and in some cases may even be eliminated. [1]

The study also shows that the risk of complications, especially heart failure, is greatest among those under 55 years. This makes it extra important to check and treat risk factors if you are younger with Type 2 diabetes.”

Sources:

[1] Science Daily

[2] UPI