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Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes!

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes!

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes!

What is it about foods like broccoli and spinach that make them so healthy? There’s the fiber, vitamins and minerals, of course, but then there’s other important chemical compounds we call “antioxidants” too — like alpha lipoic acid (ALA).
Chances are you’ve heard a lot about the many benefits of various antioxidants and high-antioxidant foods — fighting inflammation, helping beat cancer or heart disease, warding off depression and cognitive decline, and so much more — but have you ever wondered what exactly antioxidants are and how they work in the body?
Alpha lipoic acid — one kind of antioxidant — is a type of compound found in plant foods we commonly eat that scavenges free radicals, fights inflammation and slows the aging process. But perhaps its most famous use is in treating diabetes naturally.
Humans also make a small amount of ALA on their own, although the concentration in our bloodstreams goes up substantially when we eat a healthy diet. Naturally abundant in foods like green veggies, potatoes and certain types of yeast, lipoic acid is similar to a vitamin in that it can also be man-made in a lab so it can be taken as an anti-inflammatory supplement (which is then called alpha lipoic acid).
How Alpha Lipoic Acid Works
Lipoic acid is found in the body and also synthesized by plants and animals. It’s present in every cell inside the body and helps turn glucose into “fuel” for the body to run off of. Is it “essential” that you consume a certain doseage of alpha lipoic acid every day? Not exactly.
Even though we can make some of it on ou Continue reading

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The Power of Potassium

The Power of Potassium

We’ve talked about several different minerals in past blog entries. Potassium is the mineral of choice for this week’s post for several reasons, and it’s a mineral that people with kidney problems should be sure to pay close attention to.
What potassium does in the body
First, let’s explore what potassium does in the body. This mineral is often referred to as an “electrolyte.” Electrolytes are electrically charged particles, called ions, which our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses, such as nerve impulses, to other cells. (Bet you didn’t think you had all this electrical activity in your body, did you?) Some of the main electrolytes in our bodies, besides potassium, are sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Your kidneys help regulate the amount of electrolytes in the body.
Potassium’s job is to help nerve conduction, help regulate your heartbeat, and help your muscles contract. It also works to maintain proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids. The body is a fine-tuned machine in that, as long as it’s healthy and functioning properly, things will work as they should. This means that, as long as your kidneys are working up to par, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs. However, people with diabetes who have kidney disease need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body when the kidneys don’t work as they should. Too much potassium is just as dangerous as too little.
Your physician can measure the amount of potassi Continue reading

Smartphone-Controlled Cells Could Pump Insulin for Diabetics

Smartphone-Controlled Cells Could Pump Insulin for Diabetics

Scientists in China have used a smartphone and a technique called optogenetics to precisely control cells to deliver insulin to diabetic mice. The approach could be used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels in human diabetics and automatically produce necessary insulin, a hormone that converts sugar from food into energy the body can use.
The researchers engineered human cells with a light-sensitive gene that is found in plants and produces insulin on cue when activated by wirelessly powered red LED lights. They inserted those lights and the designer cells onto small, flexible discs that were then grafted onto the backs of mice.
Neural probes that combine optics, electronics, and drugs could help unlock the secrets of the brain.
A customized Android-based phone app turns on the LED lights and adjusts the intensity of the light. The researchers exposed the diabetic mice to about four hours of light each day and were able to stabilize normal insulin production in the bloodstream for 15 days.
Optogenetics is an emerging field that uses light-sensitive proteins to regulate biological activities in the body. The technique has been envisioned as a way to treat a range of diseases, including Parkinson’s and schizophrenia. The first human test of optogenetics is under way to restore vision to patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that leads to blindness.
The researchers, who describe the insulin delivery approach in Science Translational Medicine, say the system was inspired by the “smart home” concept, which involves lighting, heating, and Continue reading

Lose Belly Fat Fast With This Diabetes-Friendly Exercise Routine

Lose Belly Fat Fast With This Diabetes-Friendly Exercise Routine

Everyone seems to want a slimmer middle, a smaller pant size — you know the drill. But trimming your waistline is about so much more than how you look in the mirror; it’s about improving your insulin sensitivity, glucose levels, and risk for diabetes complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
“Current research shows that abdominal fat is a driving factor behind the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as [a factor that affects] how people manage the condition,” explains Margaret Eckert-Norton, PhD, RN, a certified diabetes educator and associate professor of nursing at St. Joseph’s College in New York City.
The Difference Between Visceral Fat and Subcutaneous Fat
Belly fat, also known as abdominal or visceral fat, hangs out in and around your internal organs. It's known to secrete a variety of proteins that trigger inflammation and affect your body’s hormone levels, and it can increase your risk for a variety of conditions (but more on this later). For this reason, some experts actually call it “active fat.” That’s in contrast to subcutaneous fat, which sits directly underneath your skin and pretty much just acts as an energy reserve without strongly influencing health, Dr. Eckert-Norton says.
How Excess Belly Fat Can Increase the Risk of Diabetes Complications
So what are those conditions that belly fat influences? The first and most notable one for anyone with diabetes is insulin resistance, she says. One of the many factors at play is retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), a compound that visceral cells secrete, dull Continue reading

Visceral Fat & Diabetes: Reducing Belly Fat

Visceral Fat & Diabetes: Reducing Belly Fat

Noticing a little extra fat around your waist? That’s a clear warning sign– belly fat, or visceral fat means that your body is sounding an alarm you shouldn’t ignore. Doing so will increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even more weight gain.
Arm yourself with the knowledge to understand the problem with belly fat, and what you can do to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
It’s What You Can’t See That is So Deadly
Your body is programmed to store fat under the skin where you can pinch it. That’s the safest place for it, far away from your organs.
But that programming can get totally messed up.
When that happens, your body has no choice but to quickly grab up extra fat and tuck it away between your organs.
Like a boa constrictor, it wraps itself around your intestines, liver, pancreas, and even your heart. This is called “visceral fat,” and it is very dangerous.1
Each of the cross-sections in the image below shows what belly fat looks like in seven men with the exact same waist girth. The dark areas are organs and muscle. The white areas are fat:
The “very marbled steak” in the lower right hand corner is packed so full of killer visceral fat that you can’t even see the organs.
Skinny On the Outside, Obese On the Inside
Chrumaine is a lovely lady, busy school teacher, and totally devoted to her family.
In the photo to the right, you can see that she’s not morbidly obese. In fact, at 5’3″ and 157 pounds, she doesn’t have a BMI that would concern her doctor too much.
She seems healthy enough, right?
Wrong. That red shirt is hiding dea Continue reading

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