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Could A Common Blood Pressure Drug Completely Reverse Diabetes?

Could a common blood pressure drug completely reverse diabetes?

Could a common blood pressure drug completely reverse diabetes?

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, raising risks for heart attack, blindness, kidney disease and limb amputation. But researchers who have shown that a common blood pressure drug totally reverses diabetes in mice are about to begin a new clinical trial to see if it can do the same for humans.
If the trial is successful, it could herald the first "cure" for an incurable disease that affects 12.3% of Americans over the age of 20 and costs the nation $245 billion each year.
The key to the groundbreaking approach that has been proven effective in mice are beta cells, which the researchers explain are "critical" in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These cells are progressively lost in the wake of the disease due to programmed cell death, though the precise triggers for the deaths were previously unknown.
The researchers, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and led by Dr. Anath Shalev, have been working on this research for over a decade in UAB's Comprehensive Diabetes Center.
They explain that their previous research has shown that high blood sugar causes an overproduction of a protein called TXNIP - which is increased within beta cells in response to diabetes. Too much TXNIP in pancreatic beta cells leads to their deaths, stopping the body's efforts to produce insulin and further promoting diabetes.
However, in animal models, the team has found that verapamil - used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and migraine headaches - lowers TXNIP levels in beta cells.
In fact, in mice with established diabetes and blood sugars over 300 mg/ Continue reading

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Stop Diabetes® From Knocking You Off Your Feet

Stop Diabetes® From Knocking You Off Your Feet

Did you know that April is Limb Loss Awareness Month?
People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems, and even seemingly simple ones can lead to serious complications. The reason? Many people with diabetes have artery disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet. Many also have nerve disease, called neuropathy, which reduces sensation, making it harder to tell when something’s wrong.
Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation. In fact, more than 60 percent of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
The good news is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), amputations have declined significantly among U.S. adults with diabetes in recent years. This is largely due to better foot care and overall diabetes management—proving that taking care of yourself and your feet can go a long way.
Most people can prevent serious foot troubles by following some simple steps. So here are the do’s and don’ts of foot care:
Keep your blood glucose in your target range. That’s the best way to prevent most diabetes complications.
Have your health care provider perform a complete foot exam at least once a year.
Check your bare feet daily. Look for red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes. Using a pumice stone (on wet skin) every day will help keep calluses under control.
Keep your skin soft and smooth by rubbin Continue reading

An unlikely tool to combat diabetes: chocolate, say researchers

An unlikely tool to combat diabetes: chocolate, say researchers

But here’s the thing: BYU researchers have discovered certain compounds found in cocoa can actually help your body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. Insulin is the hormone that manages glucose, the blood sugar that reaches unhealthy levels in diabetes.
Of course, there’s a catch.
“You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don’t want it to have a lot of sugar in it,” said study author Jeffery Tessem, assistant professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science at BYU. “It’s the compound in cocoa you’re after.”
When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t process blood sugar properly. At the root of that is the failure of beta cells, whose job it is to produce insulin. The new study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, finds beta cells work better and remain stronger with an increased presence of epicatechin monomers, compounds found naturally in cocoa.
To discover this, collaborators at Virginia Tech first fed the cocoa compound to animals on a high-fat diet. They found that by adding it to the high-fat diet, the compound would decrease the level of obesity in the animals and would increase their ability to deal with increased blood glucose levels.
The BYU team, comprised of graduate and undergraduate students in Tessem's lab and the labs of Ben Bikman and Jason Hansen (BYU professors of physiology and developmental biology), then dove in and dissected what was happening on the cellular level — specifically, the beta cell level. That’s when Continue reading

Type 1 diabetes mellitus and gluten induced disorders

Type 1 diabetes mellitus and gluten induced disorders

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Introduction
Coeliac Disease (CD), also referred to as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune condition that occurs in genetically predisposed people by exposure to gluten. Initially mentioned in literature in the second century AD, CD was described as an intestinal disorder with symptoms of diarrhoea, malabsorption and weight loss. Recently, it has become clear that there is a group of conditions related to gluten consumption. Foremost among them are three types: a) the least common is wheat allergy; b) the autoimmune form, the best characterized, includes CD, dermatitis herpetiformis, and gluten ataxia; and c) sensitivity to gluten, which is possibly immune-mediated and now the most common (1). An association between gluten and CD was only established much later, by Dicke (1953), who found that the removal of gluten from patients’ diets led to the improvement of symptoms (2).
Gluten and gluten toxicity
Gluten is a protein constituent found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is gluten that gives dough its elasticity, helps it rise and contributes to the texture of many food products such as bread, pasta, or imitation meats (3,4). Specifically the storage proteins (prolamins) gliadin (wheat), secalin (rye), and hordein (barley) have been shown to have toxic effects on intestinal cells in gluten sensitive people. The toxic effects of these prolamins include the reduction of F-actin, inhibition of cellular growth, premature cell death, the rearrangement of the cytoskeleton, and increased small bowel permeability (5).
Symptoms and associations of CD
Despite a stron Continue reading

Too little gluten in our diet may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes

Too little gluten in our diet may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes

People with celiac disease or who are gluten intolerant may benefit from a low-gluten diet. A considerable number of people who do not have these diseases still adopt a gluten-free diet in the hope that it benefits their health. New research, however, suggests that a low-gluten diet may even have some adverse health effects, by raising the risk of diabetes.
Gluten is a protein mainly found in wheat, barley, and rye, as well as baked goods and other foods that contain these cereals. People with celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder affecting at least 3 million people in the United States - avoid gluten because their immune system responds to it by attacking the small intestine.
However, more and more people are adopting a gluten-free diet, despite its health benefits being unclear.
In fact, some nutritionists advise against avoiding gluten. Instead, they recommend a well-balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables, as well as whole-grain wheat and other foods containing gluten.
New research - presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle 2017 Scientific Sessions - suggests that a low-gluten diet may have adverse health effects by raising the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Studying the link between gluten consumption and type 2 diabetes
Geng Zong, Ph.D. - one of the study's authors and a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA - explains the motivation behind the study:
We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent Continue reading

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