Saturday, October 21, 2006

When Blood Cholesterol Value Equals Zero

What happens if cholesterol in our blood completely vanished, and blood cholesterol value becomes at zero level? Is it possible? and if so, what is its impacton our health?.

If we have theoretically no cholesterol in our blood, this would result in the following consequences:
1- Change in the composition and properties of cell membranes in all the body tissues.
2- No synthesis of vitamin D leading to diminished calcium level in the blood, with its impact on bones, kidney, calcium regulating hormones...etc.
3- No synthesis of steroidal hormones:
# No Corticosteroids with its widespread effects on almost all the body cells, specially under stress conditions.
# No Sex hormones and its sequale of aborted sexual and maternal life ( this is why marine creatures and other foods rich in cholesterol have aphrodisiac properties)
4- No protection from entrance of blood under the inner membranes of the arteries and peeling it off leading to death. Normally, when abraisions and tear are produced in the arteries as a result of rush of blood through constricted arteries or capillaries ( those of the heart first). Cholesterol is a waterproof bandage that the body has designed to cover up the tears and abraisons in the arteries.

Thus, we can easily understand that it is impossible that cholesterol may disappear from the blood. Body supply of cholesterol is a dual one; the intake of external cholesterol with food, and the internal liver synthesis of cholesterol.

Cholesterol normal rate of production is to participate in building cell membranes, insulating nerve cells and synthesizing body hormones.The rational approach of dealing with increased cholesterol levels is to know first why the body has started raising its levels. Yet, having neither this alternative, nor another alternative, we think that something is up, bring it down.

When cholesterol levels were found to be increased with atherosclerosis, a sacred war has begun against cholesterol. The warfare diversified from the food industry and its new fats to the pharmaceutical industry with its new statins. Both has their impact on conception, health and economy of individuals and societies.

In essence, we are still walking the trial and error way of understanding cholesterol in the body, and how to deal with it the perfect way.
For now, eat blueberries, nuts, vegetables, soy derivatives.., and some lobster whenever you need.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Onion,Garlic and other Herbs to Lower Blood Sugar

Since antiquity, diabetes has been treated with plant medicines. Recent scientific investigation has confirmed the efficacy of many of these preparations, some of which are remarkably effective. Only those herbs that appear most effective, are relatively non-toxic and have substantial documentation of efficacy are covered here.

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia):
Bitter melon, also known as balsam pear, is a tropical vegetable widely cultivated in Asia, Africa and South America, and has been used extensively in folk medicine as a remedy for diabetes. The blood sugar lowering action of the fresh juice or extract of the unripe fruit has been clearly established in both experimental lab and clinical studies.

Bitter melon is composed of several compounds with confirmed anti-diabetic properties. Charantin, extracted by alcohol, is a hypoglycaemic agent composed of mixed steroids that is more potent than the drug tolbutamide which is often used in the treatment of diabetes. Momordica also contains an insulin-like polypeptide, polypeptide-P, which lowers blood sugar levels when injected subcutaneously into type 1 diabetic patients. The oral administration of 50-60 ml of the juice has shown good results in clinical trials.

Excessively high doses of bitter melon juice can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Small children or anyone with hypoglycemiashould not take bitter melon, since this herb could theoretically trigger or worsen low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Furthermore, diabetics taking hypoglycemic drugs (such as chlorpropamide,glyburide, or phenformin) or insulin should use bitter melon withcaution, as it may potentiate the effectiveness of the drugs, leading to severe hypoglycemia.

Onion and Garlic:
( Allium cepa and Allium sativum) Onion and garlic have significant blood sugar lowering action. The principal active ingredients are believed to be allyl propyl disulphide (APDS) and diallyl disulphide oxide (allicin), although other constitutents such as flavonoids may play a role as well.
Experimental and clinical evidence suggests that APDS lowers glucose levels by competing with insulin for insulin-inactivating sites in the liver. This results in an increase of free insulin.APDS administered in doses of 125 mg/ kg to fasting humans was found to cause a marked fall in blood glucose levels and an increase in serum insulin. Allicin doses of 100 mg/kg produced a similar effect.

Onion extract was found to reduce blood sugar levels during oral and intravenous glucose tolerance. The effect improved as the dosage was increased; however, beneficial effects were observed even for low levels that used in the diet (eg., 25 to 200 grams). The effects were similar in both raw and boiled onion extracts. Onions affect the hepatic metabolism of glucose and/or increases the release of insulin, and/or prevent insulin's destruction.

The additional benefit of the use of garlic and onions are their beneficial cardiovascular effects. They are found to lower lipid levels, inhibit platelet aggregation and are antihypertensive.
So, liberal use of onion and garlic are recommended for diabetic patients.
You can get odorles Standerdized Garlic here

Blueberry leaves (Vaccinium myrtillus):
A decoction of the leaves of the blueberry has a long history of folk use in the treatment of diabetes. The compound myrtillin (an anthocyanoside) is apparently the most active ingredient. Upon injection it is somewhat weaker than insulin, but is less toxic, even at 50 times the 1 g per day therapeutic dose. A single dose can produce beneficial effects lasting several weeks.
Blueberry anthocyanosides also increase capillary integrity, inhibit free-radical damage and improve the tone of the vascular system. In Europe, it is used as an anti-haemorrhagic agent in the treatment of eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy.

Asian Ginseng:
Asian ginseng is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes. It has been shown to enhance the release of insulin from the pancreas and to increase the number of insulin receptors. It also has a direct blood sugar-lowering effect. A recent study found that 200 mg of ginseng extract per day improved blood sugar control as well as energy levels in Type 2 diabetes (NIDDM).Ginseng Varieties

It may lower the risk of some diabetic complications, such as diabetic cataracts and retinopathy.Billberry

has been used traditionally to treat diabetes. Early reports suggested that stevia might have beneficial effects on glucose tolerance (and therefore potentially help with diabetes), although not all reports have confirmed this. Even if stevia did not have direct antidiabetic effects, its use as a sweetener could reduce intake of sugars in such patients.Get Stevia

Ginkgo Biloba:
Ginkgo biloba extract may prove useful for prevention and treatment of early-stage diabetic neuropathy.

Cinnamon :
It triples insulin's efficiency..Standerdized Cinnamon

Barberry :
One of the mildest and best liver tonics known.
Dosage: tincture, 10-30 drops; standard decoction or 3-9 g.

Nigella Sativa Oil( NSO):
NSO significantly lowered blood glucose concentrations in diabetic rats after 2, 4 and 6 weeks. The blood lowering effect of NSO was, however, not paralled by a stimulation of insulin release in the presence of NSO,or its active ingredients, nigellone or thymoquinone. The data indicate that the hypoglycemic effect of NSO may be mediated by extrapancreatic actions rather than by stimulated insulin release.

Almost all can be easily obtained, or they are already in your kitchen.

Living with Type II Diabetes?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fenugreek Lowers Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar

Before we discuss the effect of Fenugreek on Glycemic Index (GI), we should understand the effect of GI on blood sugar.
Glycemic Index can only be applied to foods with a reasonable carbohydrates content. Carbohydrates that breakdown rapidly during digestion have the highest Glycemic Index (GI).
A lower glycemic response equates to a lower Insulin demand, better long-term blood glucose control and a reduction in blood lipids. A low glycemic index food will release energy slowly and steadily and is generally appropriate for every one, specially diabetics and dieters.
Several lines of recent scientific evidence have shown that individuals who followed a low GI diet over many years at a significant lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases.
Recently, postprandial (after meal) hyperglycemia presents an increased risk for atherosclerosis in the diabetic population.Recent animal research provides compelling evidence that high GI carbohydrates is associated with increased risk of obesity.

Fenugreek seeds contain nutrients and phyto-chemicals that slow down the time that food takes to go through the intestinal tract. As one result, sugars are absorbed from foods more slowly and blood sugar levels may not rise as high or fluctuate as much as usual. Also, fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which appears to increase the body's production of insulin when blood sugar levels are high. Higher insulin production may decrease the amounts of sugar that stay in the blood for many individuals. In some studies of animals and humans with both diabetes and high cholesterol levels, fenugreek lowered cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels. However, no blood-sugar lowering effect was seen in non-diabetic animals. Similarly individuals with normal cholesterol levels showed no significant reductions in cholesterol while taking fenugreek.

Pregnant women should not take fenugreek by mouth. In animal studies, fenugreek has caused contractions of uterine tissue. Such contractions could result in a miscarriage if they happen during pregnancy. In addition, fenugreek passes into the blood of developing babies.

Major Side Effects
It is possible that taking large amounts of fenugreek for very long periods of time could result in hypoglycemia (blood sugar that is too low). Signs that blood sugar may be too low include shakiness, sweating, confusion, distorted speech, and loss of muscle control. If not corrected, low blood sugar can lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Less Severe Side Effects
Due to its effects on the gastrointestinal tract, most side effects reported from using fenugreek orally are gastrointestinal in nature. They include diarrhea and gas.
Taking fenugreek by mouth may make the urine smell somewhat like maple syrup. A relatively rare serious metabolic disorder also causes a similar smell in the urine of affected individuals. Cases of misdiagnosis have been reported in medical literature when small children or pregnant or lactating women who took fenugreek had a maple sugar-like smell in their urine.

What interactions should I watch for?
Prescription Drugs
Fenugreek contains small amounts of coumarins, chemicals that are used in drugs to increase the time blood needs to clot. When very large amounts of fenugreek are taken with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, the effect of the drug may be increased, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
Antiplatelets include Plavix and Ticlid. Anticoagulants include heparin and warfarin.
Because it may have a lowering effect on blood sugar, fenugreek may increase the effectiveness of medications used for the treatment of diabetes. If you are taking medications for diabetes, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using fenugreek.
When mixed with water or other fluids, fenugreek forms a sticky, slippery gel. In theory, taking fenugreek by mouth could block the absorption of other drugs that are taken at the same time. If you take fenugreek, do not take other drugs within 2 hours.
Non-prescription Drugs
Large amounts of fenugreek taken by mouth possibly may affect the ability of blood to clot after an injury. Aspirin can also delay clotting, so fenugreek should not be taken orally at the same time as aspirin.

Herbal Products
Theoretically, if fenugreek is used with other herbs that affect blood clotting, bleeding may occur. Some of the most common herbal products that might inhibit blood clotting are:
Danshen-Devil's-Claw-Garlic-Ginger-Ginkgo-Ginseng-Horse-Chestnut-Papain-Red-Clover-Saw Palmetto.
Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals. For specific information on how fenugreek interacts with drugs, other herbals, and foods and the severity of those interactions, please use this Drug Interactions Checker to check for possible interactions.

Dosage and Administration
No more than 6,000 mg (6 grams) of fenugreek should be taken by mouth per day.

Commercially, fenugreek is available as whole or ground seed and also as capsules, bulk powder, and a liquid tincture. Common dosing recommendations for fenugreek suggest taking 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg (one gram to 2 grams) three times a day. It is usually taken with food because it has a bitter taste.
Fenugreek tea is prepared by soaking 500 mg of the seed in about 5 ounces of cold water for at least 3 hours. The seeds are then strained out of the liquid before drinking the tea, which can be heated or ingested cold. It can be sweetened using honey to maximize its benefits.

Fenugreek is used in some countries as an official treatment of type2 Diabetes Mellitus.

You can get Fenugreek capsules here

Living with Type II Diabetes?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Foods Increase Insulin and Foods Decrease Blood Sugar

Insulin and blood sugar increase and decrease upon eating certain foods, are very important aspects for weight issue and of crucial importance for diabetics.

Insulin secretion is regulated physiologically ( under normal condition of the body ) by the food elements, hormones, herbs and drugs circulating in the blood.
Glucose, Mannose, B-keto acids, Amino acids ( Leucine, Arginine and others) are the food components that increase insulin secretion.

Glucose is the most important stimulatory agent of insulin secretion, as it is always present in the blood, its concentration is kept withina narrow range and its amounts consumed by humans are the largest ones amongst all nutrients.
Thus sugars and starchy foods that release glucose like Potatoes, Rice, Pasta, Bread...etc, all lead to rapid rise in blood glucose concentration having a high Glycemic Index ( GI) which is an index of the speed of appearance of high glucose concentration in the blood after ingesting food.

Insulin secretion increase is not a good favor for the normal person. For example, if a normal healthy person ingested food that increases insulin secretion sharply, the secreted insulin will cause glucose vanishes quickly from the blood and this person will feel hungry, consequently he will take foods that block this feeling , i.e. foods with high Glycemic Index and this effect will create spikes in blood glucose level. This may lead to overweight of normal person ( having other predisposing factors), as well as it is a predisposing factor to insulin resistance.
Insulin secretion increase on eating high Glycemic Index foods is not the case of a diabetic subject, as his debilitated pancreas may not secrete the sufficient amounts of insulin to meet the requirements needed to meet the sudden glucose load, leading to hyperglycemia.

Pregnancy hormonal levels can increase the blood sugar of a pregnant woman to the point that some people with normal glucose metabolism become diabetic during pregnancy, and although 95% of them recover after delivery yet, consuming much of the high Glycemic foods can exacerbate this case.

Some foods like Garlic and Onions can decrease blood sugar by competing with Insulin for Insulin inactivating sites in the liver, and this results in increase in free Insulin in the blood and this Insulin decreases blood sugar.
Ginseng herb has been shown to increase the release of insulin from the pancreas and to increase the of Insulin receptors, i.e. it enhances the effect of Insulin in decreasing blood sugar.

The list of foods that decrease blood sugar is long and include many foods, thus to discuss their mechanism of action, amounts to be taken, precautions and drawbacks of high intake, I need to write another article.

Living with Type II Diabetes?

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