Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

In type 2 diabetes compounds from two culinary spices improved glucose measures and control

Cinnamon extract

In this study, 66 type 2 diabetics who were taking an oral insulin-stimulating drug also took an extract of cinnamon or a placebo. There were two doses of cinnamon: 120mg or 360 mg per day. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, measures of long-term-average blood sugar levels declined 7 percent in the low-dose cinnamon group, and 10 percent in the high-dose cinnamon group, while fasting blood sugar levels declined 11 and 14 percent respectively.

Although participants’ fasting and long-term blood sugar levels remained higher than normal, doctors said it was the polyphenols in the cinnamon extract that significantly increased insulin-dependent glucose metabolism. Cinnamon also appeared to raise beneficial antioxidant activity in type 2 diabetics.

 

Curcumin from turmeric spice

Lab studies have shown curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric, lowered blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity by helping to metabolize fatty acids. Elevated fatty acid levels are common in type 2 diabetes and play a role in developing insulin resistance, so lowering free fatty acid levels might reduce chances of and help manage diabetes, doctors said.

In this study, 100 people with type 2 diabetes took 300 mg of curcuminoids per day, or a placebo. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, the curcuminoids group saw much lower long-term-average blood sugar levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and greater sensitivity to insulin, meaning the body was better able to metabolize glucose.

In discussing their findings, doctors said part of the reason curcuminoids lower glucose levels is by helping the body use up excess free fatty acids, removing them from the bloodstream, and lowering total fatty acid levels to safer levels.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 6, 408-12

From the December 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on January - 17 - 2013
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Green tea lowered blood pressure

In this study, 56 people with obesity-related high blood pressure took 379 mg of green tea extract per day, or a placebo. Before the study and after three months of taking green tea extract, doctors measured blood pressure, sugar, and fats (lipids), protein in the urine, signs of inflammation, and antioxidant levels.

While the placebo group improved slightly, those in the green tea group saw systolic and diastolic blood pressure decline 4.9 and 4.6 mmHg, respectively. And while there were no improvements for placebo, the green tea group had healthier insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL–the “bad” and “good” cholesterols, respectively. Doctors said the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of green tea compounds may explain its health benefits.

Coleus forskohlii improved blood pressure

Doctors said that coleus forskohlii, a tropical perennial plant, may have blood pressure lowering effects. In this study, 41 people with high blood pressure but no major illnesses, aged 50 to 80, took coleus forskohlii three times per day with meals, either in root form, 1,000 mg per meal; or in root tuber form, 1,400 mg per meal.

Doctors also asked participants to reduce salt in the diet and to exercise mildly, both of which can lower blood pressure. After two months, 75 percent of those in each group showed mild improvements in blood pressure.

Coleus forskohlii has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, which is native to India, to treat heart disease, convulsions, and spasmodic pain, with the earliest references in Indian medical literature dating from about 50 B.C.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 6, 421-7

From the October 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 19 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Vitamin D, blood sugar and insulin

Doctors in this study measured blood sugar and insulin levels in 85 obese and non-obese Philadelphia children, ages 4 to 18, and found nearly half were low or deficient in vitamin D. Older African-American children with higher body-mass index scores had the lowest levels of vitamin D. As vitamin D levels rose, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance decreased, reducing chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D3 more effective than D2 for treating deficiency

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, has two major forms; D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Since vertebrates synthesize vitamin D3 from sunshine, researchers wanted to test for any biological differences between vitamin D2 and D3 once inside the body. In the study, 33 health adults took 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 per week. After 12 weeks, blood serum levels of the active form of vitamin D (calcitriol) were 70 percent higher in the vitamin D3 group than in the vitamin D2 group. The vitamin D3 group also had two to three times the amount of stored vitamin D. Study authors said that most North American pharmaceutical preparations use vitamin D2, and recommend switching to vitamin D3 for its greater potency and lower cost.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 2011, Vol. 96, No. 3, E447-52

From the July 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 7 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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