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By Jennifer Morganti, ND, NEEDS Director of Education
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that almost 10 percent of the U.S. population has Type-2 diabetes, and over one third of U.S. cases go undiagnosed. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death and because of a large aging population, statistics are expected to continue to increase steadily.
People with diabetes have high blood-sugar levels (hyperglycemia) caused by insulin resistance or insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and acts like a taxi that shuttles glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells, where it is either stored or made into energy (ATP).
Insulin resistance occurs when there is plenty of glucose in the blood, but the cells block insulin from entering and refuse delivery of glucose. In diabetes, there isn’t enough insulin, usually because of pancreas dysfunction due to the constant stress of producing more and more insulin.
There are two types of diabetes, Type-1 and Type-2. Type-2 is by far the most prevalent type, yet it is highly preventable and treatable through lifestyle modifications. Type-2 was once called “adult-onset diabetes,” but that term has faded over the past decade because it is now showing up increasingly in younger people. Type-2 diabetes develops due to a combination of genetics, lack of exercise, and most significantly, poor dietary choices. As we get older, the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes increases due to the compounded effects of chronically elevated blood sugar levels, which put excessive strain on the pancreas.
Type-1 diabetes is primarily diagnosed in children. Their pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. It isn’t the result of lifestyle and environmental factors; therefore, it can only be treated by delivering insulin through injection. Only 5% of the U.S. cases of diabetes are Type-1 and there are no known alternative treatments.
Escalating Rates of Diabetes in the U.S.
Some of the complications of hyperglycemia and diabetes include obesity, cataracts, glaucoma, blindness, nerve damage, periodontitis. Other conditions and complications related to cardiovascular disease include: high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension. The combination of hyperglycemia, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity constitutes metabolic syndrome, causing an escalated risk of heart attack. It is estimated that over 30% of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome.
Type-2 diabetes is most prevalent and most within our control to reverse, with a little determination and commitment. The rate of diabetes in the U.S. would significantly decline if we focused on better dietary choices and using supplements that are proven to control blood glucose, rather than depending on drugs to regulate insulin and blood sugar.
Recently, a study was presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting about the effects of adding healthy protein to the diet to help stabilize blood sugar and encourage weight loss. Researchers contended that the key to healthy weight loss and blood-sugar stabilization is a diet plan that includes a high calorie, high-protein breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a smaller dinner, which is practically the exact opposite of how many Americans eat.
The focus of the study was to determine if the quality of protein was significant. Study participants had type-2 diabetes and were overweight or obese. They were divided into three groups: group one ate primarily whey protein shakes for breakfast, group two had other protein sources, such as eggs, tuna, or soy for breakfast, and group three had a high-carb breakfast. After 12 weeks, group one lost almost 17 pounds, group two lost over 13 pounds and the high carb breakfast group lost almost 7 pounds. Group one also showed the most improvement in HbA1C blood levels, which is an indicator that blood-sugar levels were more stable over the long run as compared to the other two groups.
Beyond adding whey protein to your meals, these supplements have been found to help support stable blood sugar levels:
Berberine: A large body of research shows that berberine helps improve insulin resistance and stabilizes blood sugar levels, sometimes as well as metformin, a diabetic medication.
Chromium: Improves sensitivity to insulin, helps lower blood sugar. Recommendation: up to 1,000 mcg/day.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: A strong antioxidant. Improves insulin sensitivity and prevents or slows kidney damage; also improves symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain). Recommendation: 600-1,200 mg/day.
Magnesium: May improve insulin production in the elderly. Also shown to prevent diabetic retinopathy—a major cause of blindness. Recommendation: 200-600 mg/day
Vitamin E: Those with low levels of vitamin E are more likely to develop diabetes. Shown to improve insulin resistance and decrease damage to nerves, eyes, and kidneys; also reduces chances of stroke. Recommendation: 800 IU/day.
B-vitamins: Shown to reduce blood sugar. B12 may significantly reduce nerve pain and improve nerve functioning when given orally at 500 mcg three times daily. Biotin, another B vitamin, has profound benefits for many with diabetes when given at 16 mg/day for a few weeks; some people’s fasting blood sugar reduced by as much as 50 percent.
The key is to prevent the progression of diabetes as early as possible. With proper diet, exercise, and supplements, you can improve blood-sugar stability and prevent the damaging effects of insulin resistance.
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-04-large-whey-proteinbreakfast-diabetes.html JAMA May 19, 2015, Vol 313, No. 19 http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/age/fig1.htm
Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
We’ve all heard the ads about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with the catch phrase “Sugar is sugar.” Not true! Because high-fructose corn syrup is derived from corn (genetically modified, at that), the corn industry tried to call it “corn sugar,” but the FDA denied their claim. As you know, I am not a fan of the FDA, but it appears they finally got something right!
High-fructose corn syrup is highly processed and that processing comes with a price.
First and foremost, according to research published in Environmental Health, most of it is contaminated with mercury, which is used in the processing. Mercury is a poison linked to brain disorders including tremors, Parkinson’s, memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s. Remember the “mad hatters?” That term was coined because mercury was used in the hat-making process, and the makers went “mad.”
Due to the fact that high-fructose corn syrup metabolizes to fat very quickly in the body, and because of its rapid absorption into the blood stream, it causes insulin spikes. Weight gain is the result because insulin is a fat-storing hormone. Also, Dr. Mark Hyman states that HFCS “goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol); this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called ‘fatty liver,’ which affects 70 million people.” Other metabolic disturbances such as increased appetite, accelerated aging, and diabetes also occur.
So what are some of the major products that contain high-fructose corn syrup? Unless you are a label reader (I am!), you’ll probably be surprised. Here are some of the common ones: cereal, salad dressing, pudding mixes, many yogurts (you just think you’re eating something healthy with many brands), candy, chocolate bars, ketchup, juices, bread, and pizza sauce. However, soft drinks are the biggest culprit of all. Many people have a very bad habit of drinking soft drinks instead of water. Don’t make the mistake of drinking low calorie, artificially sweetened, soft drinks as a replacement. I haven’t decided yet which one is worse–the high-fructose corn syrup or the artificial sweeteners!
We all know sugar isn’t good for us but the catch phrase, “Sugar is sugar,” is not true. High-fructose corn syrup is used because it is cheap–plain and simple. Don’t sacrifice your health for it.
By the NEEDS Wellness Team
Probiotics are microorganisms that exert beneficial effects in humans and have been the subject of many recent scientific studies. They benefit us in wide variety of ways, including averting harmful organisms from growing (such as yeast), preventing food and environmental allergies, enhancing the immune system, assisting in the digestion of foods, and promoting the degradation of toxins. Some strains of probiotics have also been shown to bind mercury and other heavy metals, preventing their absorption into the body. Also, probiotics have been shown to prevent and inhibit the growth of colon, liver, and breast cancer. The health benefits of these organisms are so profound; it is one of the few supplements we recommend that almost all people include as part of their daily regimen.
Probiotics are found in a variety of foods, including cheese, yogurt, butter, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. However, most of us can’t or don’t eat these foods in sufficient enough quantities to counteract the challenges of modern life. The proper balance of these microflora can be thrown off by a diet high in meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other processed foods. Also, constipation, diarrhea, stress, birth control pills or other forms of estrogen replacement therapy, chlorinated water, and antibiotics in the food supply also readily off-set the balance of these beneficial organisms.
So, supplementation is necessary. There are many probiotic products to choose from.
Someone who has difficulty swallowing capsules should consider the tiny Acidophilus Pearls from Enzymatic Therapy; because these do not need to be refrigerated, they are also great for when you travel.
Ideally, infants and toddlers should have primarily Bifidobacterium in their intestines to help prevent and stop diarrhea and to aid in the prevention of allergies. Supplementing with a powdered form of Bifidobacterium, either by itself or with a small percentage of Acidophilus, is easy with infants by dipping your fingertip in the powder and having your child suckle it. Adding one-eighth teaspoon to food, such as applesauce, is a great way to provide the Bifidobacterium to toddlers. Children older than two can be given combinations with higher percentages of Acidophilus.
In order to acquire the most significant benefits that probiotics can provide, maintenance is essential. For maintenance, we suggest the use of products that have a multitude of probiotic strains present to provide broad coverage, such as Flora Biotic Plus from Nutrineeds or Garden of Life‘s Primal Defense.
One of the principal foundations of good health is maintaining a vigorous digestive tract. Probiotics are fundamental to this and have been shown to have so many immediate and long-term positive health effects. They inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that cause digestive stress, improve digestion of food and absorption of vitamins, stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanism – the immune system, and help make vitamins needed by the body. With all of these outstanding health benefits, you should consider the importance of working them into your daily routine.
Cold season can extend from fall well into spring. It is worth spending a moment discussing the ancient Zulu remedy for successfully fighting off symptoms such as runny and stuffy noses, sore throats, and coughs.
Native to the coastal regions of South Africa, Pelargonium sidoides was described as “umKhulkane” (denoting respiratory infection) and “uHlabo” (roughly meaning chest pain) by the Zulu. The herbal remedy was introduced to Europeans in the late 19th century by the Englishman and TB-sufferer, Charles Stevens. On a trip to South Africa to seek a cure for TB, he consulted a tribal healer who gave him a strong concoction of Pelargonium sidoides root. Fully recovered, he returned to England with this new remedy and popularized it throughout Europe as “Steven’s Consumption Cure.”
The rediscovery of the root extract occurred in Germany where a standardized product known as Umckaloabo® has been approved for the treatment of bronchitis, tonsillitis, and sinusitis. The overwhelming success of the product has led to its recent introduction to the United States as Umcka Coldcare from Nature’s Way.
Specific findings of the Pelagonium sidoides root include:
Common Cold: A recent study gave 93 adults suffering the common cold either Pelargonium sidoides root extract (30 drops or 1.5 mL three times per day) or a placebo for 10 days. By the fifth day, the majority of participants taking the herbal extract reported not only feeling better, but were back to almost 75 percent of their normal level of activity. Those taking the placebo didn’t feel much better and were at only about 50 percent of normal activity. By day 10, 82 percent of those taking the herbal remedy were back to their normal daily routine compared to only 54 percent of those taking the placebo.
Bronchitis: A clinical study treated 468 adults with bronchitis with either the Pelargonium sidoides root extract (30 drops three times per day) or a placebo. Treated for only seven days, symptoms such as cough, chest pain, sputum production, and shortness of breath, were reduced by almost 50 percent in those persons taking the herbal extract compared to those taking the placebo. Coughing either improved or disappeared in 89 percent of those taking Pelargonium sidoides compared to only 57 percent of those taking the placebo.
Sinusitis: A frustrating and difficult condition to treat, sinusitis is often a recurring problem and resistant to repeated antibiotic use. A new study has shown that using Pelargonium sidoides root extract (60 drops or 3 mL three times per day) for 21 days dramatically reduces not only symptom severity in adults with acute sinusitis, but also improves sinus health. Using x-rays to check for sinus congestion, the study found that almost 98 percent of those taking the herbal extract had normal x-rays by the end of the study compared to only 10 percent of those taking a placebo. Notable is that none of the participants took antibiotics.
As stated above, the researched Pelargonium sidoides root product used in these clinical studies is available in the product Umcka Coldcare™ from Nature’s Way. The safety and effectiveness of this extract for both adults and children makes it a must-have for any natural medicine cabinet.
As you grow older, age-related stiffness and discomfort in the joints becomes a fact of life. Activities once routine become a challenge as limited mobility hampers your every move. You now have a more potent option to provide broad-spectrum support for aging joints. ArthroMax™ Advanced with UC-II® and AprèsFlex™ is a multi-nutrient formula based on the very latest data on natural support for joint health. The new ArthroMax™ formula provides more joint support than ever before, enhanced with two innovative, clinically validated ingredients: AprèsFlex™ and UC-II®.
AprèsFlex™ represents a quantum leap forward in the delivery to aging joints of boswellia, long prized for its ability to help with inflammatory issues. It is a superior inhibitor of the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase or 5-LOX. Excess activity of 5-LOX results in the accumulation of leukotriene B4, a proinflammatory compound that affects aging joints. Boswellia has been shown to bind directly to the 5-LOX enzyme, preventing it from facilitating production of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes. (46,47) AprèsFlex™ boswellia absorbs into the blood 52% better than previously available forms of boswellia, for superior effectiveness.
In addition to AprèsFlex™, this new ArthroMax™ contains a novel standardized chicken cartilage: UC-II®. New data shows it helps with immune issues that can impact joint discomfort and ease of motion in aging individuals.
Taken orally, UC-II® travels to the intestinal tract where it “introduces” the immune system to the same type of collagen molecules found in joint cartilage.
Not just any form of collagen will do. Normally, when chicken collagen is processed, its molecular shape is changed. It loses bioactivity and becomes denatured—which researchers found has no beneficial effect (2) on the immune system. Fortunately, a unique processing technique preserves the correct molecular shape of the collagen (3,4) and preserves its bioactivity (5)—producing a form known as undenatured collagen. The result of this innovative process is an undenatured chicken collagen called Bio-Collagen with Patented UC-II®.
Scientific studies have found that UC-II® reduced sensitive joint discomfort and eased joint function. (1,6-10) One double-blind, placebo-controlled study on patients found that UC-II® provided relief by 33%, and decreased joint discomfort scores by a remarkable 40% in just 90 days.(1)
1. Int J Med Sci. 2009;6(6):312-21. 2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Oct;83(19):7443-6. 3. Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Jan;11(1):12-8. 4. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2002;22(3-4):101-10. 5. Immunol Rev. 2005;206:232-59. 6. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Aug;28(4):385-90. 7. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Jun;30(3):275-8. 8. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2007;17(4):189-96. 9. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). Epub 2011 May 30. 10. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Dec;32(6):577-84. 46. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15-16):373-8. 47. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Sep 19;107(2):249-53.
Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Reprinted with exclusive permission of Life Extension Magazine
Lavender, an herb long prized for its pleasing fragrance, is also an effective remedy for anxiety. Taken orally, lavender extract can be as effective as some of the conventionally prescribed alternatives. Lavender has been used, both internally and by aromatherapy, for centuries for anxiety and depression, as well as for insomnia and gastrointestinal distress (Greive, 1931). Modern analytical methods show more than 160 constituents, many of which interact synergistically to contribute to lavender’s healing effects (Cavanagh et al, 2002).
Clinical Trials of Oral Lavender
Although much previous research on lavender was on its effects when administered as aromatherapy, two controlled clinical trials of have explored the effects of oral, pharmacopoeia-grade lavender oil on anxiety.
Kasper and colleagues compared lavender oil (WS® 1265) against placebo for anxiety in 221 adults from 21 primary care or psychiatric practices. (Kasper et al, 2010). Subjects took 80 mg of lavender oil or placebo for 10 weeks. Those taking lavender showed a total reduction in anxiety scores decrease of 16 points versus 9.5 points for those taking placebo. The lavender was also superior to placebo in terms of having more people respond and fewer people relapse.
In another study, researchers compared lavender oil (WS®1265) to a low-dose, commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug. (Woelk & Schlafke, 2010) The lavender oil, a steam distillate of Lavandula angustifolia, decreased mean anxiety total scores by 45%, versus 46% in the drug group. At the conclusion of the trial, 40% of the lavender group and 27% of the drug group met criteria for remission; the lavender group had a response rate of 52.5% compared to 40.5% of those on the drug.
Lavender oil products for oral use should comply with the most stringent quality standards, such as those set forth in the European Pharmacopoeia. When in compliance with or exceeding these standards, and used at the recommended dose, there is no reason to expect any significant adverse effects. As a precaution, oral lavender oil is not recommended for children only because there are insufficient data available pertaining to this use. Unlike commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs, for example, lavender does not cause psychological or chemical dependence.
Kasper S, et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010; 25:277–87
Woelk H, Schlafke S. Phytomedicine Int J Phytotherapy Phytopharmacol 2010; 17:2: 94–99.
Blumenthal M, ed. Lavender flower. In: The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1998:159–60.
Bio: Jeremy Appleton, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician with an extensive background in natural medicine and education. He graduated from National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), and did his residency at Bastyr University, where he was also on faculty. He served as chair of the nutrition department chair at NCNM for 5 years. He has lectured extensively around the world on topics in nutrition, botanical medicine and dietary supplement quality issues. He is currently Director of Scientific Affairs at Integrative Therapeutics.
by John Neustadt, ND
More than 10 million Americans have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis—approximately 15% of women and 4% of men over the age of 50. Another 34 million or so have osteopenia—bone density that is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis. And every year, two million people with osteoporosis have a so-called “osteoporotic fracture,” usually of the hip, spine, or wrist.
Experts know that an osteoporotic hip fracture is disastrous, as 12% to 40% of victims die within six months (partly because they tend to become depressed and more sedentary). But when Australian researchers studied more than 4,000 people age 60 and older for 18 years, they found that almost any kind of osteoporotic fracture increased the risk for death. Focusing on people over age 75, they found that breaking a wrist increased mortality risk by 40% in women and 80% in men, a spinal fracture doubled mortality risk in both sexes, and a hip fracture more than doubled mortality risk in women and tripled it in men.
It has also been found that bone mineral density (BMD) does not accurately reflect fracture risk. A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) test measures the BMD in your hip, spine, and wrist. A score of –1 to –2.5 indicates osteopenia and a score under –2.5 signals osteoporosis. But in one study, 82% of women who reported fractures of the wrist, forearm, hip, rib, or spine in the year after a BMD test did not have scores indicating osteoporosis (scores of –2.5 or lower). Overall, BMD predicts only 44% of fractures in elderly women and 21% of fractures in elderly men.
The BMD test indicates the hardness of bone, imparted by the minerals calcium and magnesium. But flexibility is what helps bones resist fracture—the bone’s ability to bend a bit and not break. Flexibility is created by the bone’s collagen, the protein-rich infrastructure. To build bone collagen, you need vitamin K.
The Power of MK4
Doctors from England analyzed the data from 13 studies on osteoporosis and a form of vitamin K called MK4. They found vitamin MK4 decreased hip fractures by 73%, spinal fractures by 60%, and non-spinal fractures by 81%. Compare those results to the average 19% decrease in fracture risk from taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D (which aids in the absorption of calcium). And in a clinical trial, when MK4 (45 mg daily) was combined with calcium and vitamin D, the patients had an incredible 87% fracture reduction.
To help my patients, I developed a supplement that contains the same amount and type of the nutrient (45 mg of MK4) used in the clinical trials. The supplement, called Osteo-K, also contains calcium and vitamin D.
MK4 May Help You if You’re Taking Corticosteroids
Medications called corticosteroids (cortisone, prednisone, hydrocortisone) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They are synthetic versions of cortisol, an adrenal hormone. They often are prescribed to help control the symptoms of chronic diseases with an inflammatory component, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and severe asthma. Taken regularly for six months or more, corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis. Additionally, taking these medicines for more than six months increases the risk for vertebral fracture by up to 200%. Clinical trials have shown that taking 45 mg daily of MK4 decreases bone loss and fractures caused by corticosteroids.
MK4 May Help You if You’re Taking Acid- Blocking Medicine
Medications such as Protonix, Prevacid, Zantac, Nexium, Aciphex, Prilosec, are powerful acid-suppressing medications. Many people take them for years without knowing that they increase the risk for osteoporosis and fractures. In one study published in the JAMA, taking these medications for four years increased the risk for hip fracture by nearly 60%. While no clinical trials have been conducted with MK4 and acid-blocking medications, MK4 has been shown to decrease bone loss and fractures due to many medications, including prednisone, leuprolide, and phenytoin.
What About Taking Bone-Building Drugs?
You might think that a MK4 supplement would be a lightweight compared to the widely prescribed bisphosphonate drugs, such as alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), raloxifene (Evista), and zoledronic acid (Zometa). But drugs are less effective at decreasing fracture risk than vitamin K. For example, Fosamax decreases vertebral fracture risk by 47%, compared with a reduction of up to 60% for MK4. And the latest research shows that these bone-building drugs can hurt your health, causing esophageal cancer, heart problems, osteonecrosis of the jaw, and even increased fracture risk!
If you are concerned about losing bone density in the natural aging process, or you currently have low bone density, consider adding Osteo-K to your supplement regime.
Caution: If you are taking the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin), talk to your doctor before taking any type of supplemental vitamin K, which can block the action of the drug.
|John Neustadt, ND is co-founder and president of NBI Health, has published more than 100 scholarly research reviews and consumer articles and is editor of the textbook, Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. He has appeared on local, national, and international radio shows reaching more than two million listeners. In August 2008, Dr. Neustadt was voted Best Doctor in the annual Best of Bozeman (MT) survey. Dr. Neustadt, along with Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD, authored three medical books.|
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