Preventing The Ravages Of 'Diabesity' Through Lifestyle Changes
Written By Archana Gogna, MS,CNS, MBA
Director of Nutrition – Bronx, NY 347.843.6710
Archana Gogna is a Certified Nutritionist with over 14 years of experience in all phases of nutritional counseling. She also instructs a public class at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts that focuses on inflammation and which foods and supplements have the ability to naturally combat it. Email Archana: firstname.lastname@example.org
The collective expression of obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, systemic inflammation and Type 2 diabetes is now commonly referred to by the term Diabesity. This multi-faceted condition is predicted to be the single most pervasive global health epidemic of our time, with as many as 366 million people affected worldwide by 2030.1 Most will experience an estimated 8 to 10 year reduction in life expectancy.2 Accordingly, it is hard to overstate diabesity’s impact. It is already the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer and premature death. Unlike most prior epidemics, however, it is almost always precipitated by lifestyle as well as environmental factors.3
How does Diabesity affect the body?
Diabesity damage commonly begins long before full-blown diabetes manifests or is clinically diagnosed. During what is now diagnosed as pre-diabetes, the stage is being set for the devastating side effects of full-blown diabetes. These effects include high blood pressure, fatty liver, depression, nervous system damage (which may lead to amputation of limbs), sexual dysfunction, retinopathy (blindness caused by damage to tiny blood vessels inside the retina of the eye), periodental and gum disease and heart disease. Accordingly, a clinical diagnosis of pre-diabetes should be treated as seriously as a diagnosis of diabetes.
Perhaps the single greatest driver of Type 2 diabetes is obesity. Simply put, as your waistline increases (elevated waist circumference is considered to be greater than 40 inches for men and greater than 35 inches for women) your risk of death from heart disease, cancer and so many other diseases increases as well. By making wise lifestyle changes that incorporate dietary modification, exercise and stress management, as well as targeted and high-quality supplementation, effective weight loss can be achieved. Moreover, it is possible to limit or even completely reverse the effects caused by Diabesity.
Natural Approaches to Managing Diabesity
Commonly lacking in individuals with Type 2 diabetes4 (as well as obese individuals in general) are several minerals critical to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
• Chromium helps blood sugar enter the cells by supporting the natural function of insulin at the cell membrane. It assists in maintaining healthy glucose, insulin, cholesterol and HA1c5 (a protein found in the body that is an indication of how well blood sugar has performed over the last three months) levels.
• Vanadium, a mineral with insulin-like properties6, promotes better blood sugar metabolism in both the muscle and the liver.
• Magnesium, a critically important mineral, improves insulin sensitivity and helps lower HA1c levels in Type 2 diabetics and in non-diabetic adults8,9. Not surprisingly these minerals are deficient or even missing in most American diets.
• Resveratrol, notably found in red wine and the skin of red grapes, activates the SIRT1 gene which turns on other genes that directly influence insulin and fat burning11, and may be helpful for diabetics.12 It decreases inflammation in fat cells and boosts adiponectin13 (a hormone produced and secreted exclusively by adipocytes or fat cells that regulate the metabolism of lipids and glucose).
• Green coffee berries contain polyphenols and chlorogenic acid which helps the liver metabolize sugar effectively by modulating the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase 14, an enzyme that plays a key role in the homeostatic regulation of blood glucose levels. They have been shown to improve glucose tolerance, decrease cholesterol and triglycerides15 and may also be effective in controlling mildly elevated blood pressure16 which is common in diabetics.
• DHA (part of omega-3 fatty acids) decreases the inflammation17 associated with blood sugar and insulin problems and directly boosts the production of adiponectin.18
• Diabetics tend to have high levels of AGEs or Advanced Glycation End-products. Damaging AGEs are formed by the cross-linking of certain proteins and sugars. The amino acid L-Carnosine may be effective in inhibiting AGEs formation. It may protect kidney cells from the effects of high glucose levels, helping to decrease the risk of diabetic kidney disease or nephropathy19,20. It may also decrease protein cross-linking in the lens of the eye and help reduce the risk of cataract formation, a common diabetic complication.21
• The damage from chronic inflammation is well documented and people with diabesity tend to have extremely high inflammation levels. A powerful spice, turmeric, and specifically its active ingredient curcumin, is very effective in quelling inflammation at the cellular level. Curcumin can improve blood sugar levels by increasing sugar uptake from the blood, decreasing new glucose formation and thus increasing insulin’s effectiveness.
By adopting meaningful lifestyle changes, it is possible to stop or even reverse the ravages of diabesity. With an effective diet, high-quality supplements, exercise and stress management, we can anticipate health and wellness rather than fear an inevitable decline into the life-altering changes and ravages of diabesity.
- Zimmet P. Diabesity – The biggest epidemic in human history. MedGenMed. 2007;9(3):39.
- Wild S, Roglic G, Green A, Sicree R, King H. Global prevalence of diabetes: estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care. 2004 May;27(5):1047-53.
- The Blood Sugar Solution, Mark Hyman, MD.
- Chromium is Lacking in Type II Diabetic Patients. Diabetes Educ.
- Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 February 67(1):48-53.
- Vanadium has Insulin-Like Properties – Boosts Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolism. Cell Biochem Biophys. Mehdi MZ, Pandey SK, Theberge JF, Srivastava AK.
- Vanadium Helps Liver and Muscle Blood Sugar Metabolism. Diabet Med. Srivastava AK, Mehdi MZ.
- Rodriguez-Moran M, Guerrero-Romero F. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind control trial. Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1147-52.
- Guerrero-Romero F, Tamez-Perez HE, Gonzalez-Gonzalez G, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial. Diab. Metab. 2004 Jun:30(3):253-8.
- Resveratrol Protects Against High Fat Diet, Improves Insulin Resistance. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Jiang WJ.
- Jiang WJ. Sirtuins: novel targets for metabolic disease in drug development. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 August 29;373(3):341-4.
- Red Wine’s Resveratrol May Help Battle Obesity. The Endocrine Society’s 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. 2008 June.
- Ahn J, Lee H, Kim S, Ha T. Resveratrol inhibits TNF-alpha-induced changes of adipocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 December 28;364(4):972-7.
- Herling AW, Burger H, Schubert G, Hemmerle H, Schaefer H, Kramer W. Alterations of carbohydrate and lipid intermediary metabolism during inhibition of glucose-6-phosphatase in rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 1999 December 3861(1):75-82.
- Rodriguez de Sotillo DV, Hadley M. Chlorogenic acid modifies plasma and liver concentrations of cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and minerals in (fa/fa) Zucker rats. J Nutr Biochem. 2002 December 13(12):717-726.
- Watanabe T, Arai Y, Salto I. The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2006 July 28(5):439-49.
- Inger Vedin, Tommy Cederholm, Yvonne Freund Levi, Hans Basun, Anita Garlind, Gerd Faxen Irving, Maria Eriksdotter Jonhagen, Bengt Vessby, Lars-Olef Wahlund and Jan Palmblad. Effects of docosahexaenoic acid-rich omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cytokine release from blood mononuclear leukocytes: the Omega AD Study. Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008 May.
- Banga A, Unal R, Tripathi P, Pokrovskaya I, Owens RJ, Kern PA, Ranganathan G. Adiponectin translation is increased by the PPAR-gamma agonists and omega-3 fatty acids. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 December.
- Janssen B, Hohenadel D, Brinkkoetter P, et al. L-carnosine as a protective factor in diabetic nephropathy: association with a leucine repeat of the carnosinase gene CNDP1. Diabetes 2005 August;54(8):2320-7.
- Riedl E, Pfister F, Braunegel M, et al. Carnosine prevents apoptosis of glomerular cells and podocyte loss in 5TZ diabetic rats. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2011;28(2):279-88.
- Yan H, Guo Y, Zhang J, Ding Z, Ha W, Harding JJ. Effect of carnosine aminoguanidine and aspirin drops on the prevention of cataracts in diabetic rats. Mol Vis. 2008;14:2282-2291.
- Leiter EH, Reifsnyder PC, Xiao Q, Mistry J. Adipokine and insulin profiles distinguish diabetogenic and non-diabetogenic obesities in mice. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Aug;15(8):1961-8.
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