Category Archives: Insulin

Dietary adjustments help children produce their own insulin knows that everyone in our community is painfully aware of the tremendous increase in diabetes in the worldwide population. Most disturbing, however, is the startling rise in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children. While there has been research conducting trying to pinpoint the reason for the sharp increase, we still don’t have a conclusive reason for the increasing problem. Type 1 diabetes is almost always diagnosed between infancy and young adulthood, according to the American Diabetes Association. The body’s pancreas is unable to produce adequate amounts of the hormone insulin, required to metabolize food properly and create energy for the body’s cells.

Today we learned of some especially encouraging news coming out of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It appears that by adding foods rich in specific amino and fatty acids to the diets of children, teens and young adults with Type 1 diabetes, their bodies can be encouraged to produce some of their own insulin for up to two years after their diagnosis. While participants still required supplemental insulin, they may have reduced risk of diabetes complications because of the ability to produce some of their own insulin.

The study (Nutritional Factors and Preservation of C-Peptides in Youth with Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes) involved over 1,300 young people ranging from toddler age to 20. They are part of a multi-center “SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth,” the largest United States study of childhood diabetes.

The study identified Leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids that is known to stimulate insulin secretion. Leucine is found in dairy products, meats, soy products, eggs, nuts and whole wheat products. In addition, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, were also associated with the insulin production. The researchers made specific note that the effects were found when the subjects ate actual foods rich in these nutrients. The effects were not associated with taking supplements. is especially encouraged by the association between diet and insulin production. We know that fresh, whole foods impart many benefits to our health and well being. But, we are always thrilled to find out how simple dietary changes can help chronic health problems and disease. We’re excited by the idea of a future where we need less drug-related intervention and enjoy more nutritional intervention. Natural solutions to health conditions will help the worldwide population enjoy longer, more fulfilling and happier lives.

Sugar consumption might be responsible for more than obesity problems … Alzheimer’s and our diet

With all of the recent controversy surrounding sugar-sweetened beverages, has been busy looking at some of the other information available to us regarding sugar intake in our diets. We found some recent information that revisits an extremely important topic that’s certainly worth showcasing here.

Since 2005 there have been studies done that reflect on the connection between Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. It appears the disease may actually be a form of diabetes that could well be brought on by diet.

The studies that have been done focus on insulin. Insulin is released by the body to help cells absorb glucose that’s needed for energy. Our cells can hold a certain amount of sugar and the excess is converted to fat. Blood sugar (glucose) comes from sugar and carbohydrates. Insulin helps to keep our blood vessels healthy and also helps the neurons in our brains to absorb glucose, which strengthens the neurons.

While Type 1 diabetes results from an immune system response that destroys insulin producing cells, Type 2 diabetes results from environmental factors. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about ten percent of diabetic cases – Type 2 accounts for the remainder. Environmental factors are code words here for our diet.

Insulin resistance occurs when a diabetic’s cells don’t respond to the insulin in their bodies. So when the insulin notifies the cells to pick up the glucose in the blood stream, the cells ignore it. The insulin repeatedly notifies the cells when sugary foods are eaten and overloads them with “messages”. The cells become resistant and the process that insulin is responsible for can’t occur. Notably insulin-resistance can cause a diabetic to become disoriented and even lose memories. The neuropathologist whom Alzheimer’s is named for discovered the formation of protein plaques in the brain, replacing normal brain cells. What is being found now, though, is that lack of insulin and insulin resistance is linked to the formation of the plaques found with the disease. Experiments have been performed on rats that blocked the insulin to their brains. The result was that they began exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been shown that diabetics are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. While diabetes isn’t thought to actually cause the debilitating disease, its presence seems to be connected to its development. Type 2 diabetes is a disease people can be genetically predisposed to (as are most diseases that are caused by environmental factors). Since diet is such a powerful influence on their development of Type 2 diabetes, it stands to reason that it is also a powerful influence on the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sugar is being implicated as a culprit in the current war against obesity. But that seems to be only one of the problems being associated with its over-consumption. It’s not only sugary beverages we need to be concerned with – our food supply is saturated with processed products that contain added sugars. Perhaps greater research and publicity around this issue will capture the attention of consumers and cause real changes to the American diet. invites you to read more:

Does grilling contribute to the American obesity problem? has been staying on top of everything related to the growing rates of obesity in the United States. When we find information we deem valuable we share it with our community through here, through our blog. And today we came across some new research that might link the development of abdominal obesity along with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes with the cooking of food over dry heat (aka grilling).

The study was conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. They’ve identified a common compound in our diets that results from grilling food or cooking food with dry heat. That compound is methyl-glyoxal or MG. They have published their findings this month in Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that mice who were fed a diet of food cooked with dry heat on a consistent basis (therefore experiencing prolonged exposure to MG) gained a significant amount of abdominal weight, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. MG is a type of advanced glycation endproduct or AGE. And AGEs can lower the body’s protection against inflammation.

The study spanned four generations of mice and was split into two groups. One was fed a traditional diet without MG and one group was fed a diet high in MG. Over those foru generations of mice, the group fed high-MG food experienced and increase in body fat, and early insulin resistance. The other control group did not develop any of these conditions. There was a definite deficiency in the protective mechanisms of the mice bodies that was related to MG.

Led by Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, the study presents important information regarding the control and possible prevention of both obesity and diabetes. “This was a prolonged but rewarding study showing that a specific AGE compound … contributes to the increase in weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes, reproducing the pattern seen increasingly in humans over the last decades,” said Dr. Vlassara.

“The study demonstrates how the prolonged ingestion of seemingly innocuous substances common in human food, such as MG, can reduce defenses and compromise native resistance to metabolic and other diseases,” said Dr. Vlassara. “The mouse findings are also quite exciting because they provide us with new tools, not only to study, but to begin taking measures to prevent diabetes, either by suppressing their formation or by blocking their absorption with our food.”

Because of this research it does appear that just a small decrease in foods high in AGEs can really improve the insulin resistance of adults with type 2 diabetes. The researchers are recommending that clinical guidelines be revised to eliminate foods cooked with dry heat. Of course, further study is needed to corroborate these findings. But it is possible that avoiding consumption of foods cooked with dry heat and using other methods instead of grilling our foods, we might be able to reduce the instances of both obesity and diabetes. invites our community to read more: