Diabetes

Diabetes
Diabetes treatment and understanding its causes has come a long way in recent years. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. It is also the primary cause of kidney failure, limb amputations, and new onset blindness in adults. Diabetes is also one of the major causes of heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, there is no known cure at this time.

Diabetes brings a host of symptoms and complications, and all of them have to do with our body’s production and usage of insulin. The pancreas creates the hormone insulin, which regulates how much glucose reaches the cells in our body. Glucose circulates in the bloodstream and is a major source of energy. Glucose comes from the breakdown of most of the food we eat. Diabetics do not produce enough insulin, or do not use the insulin they produce properly. Sometimes both of these factors play a role. The result is that your blood glucose level is too high.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Frequent urination
- Always feeling tired
- Increased thirst, hunger, or both
- Sudden weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Very dry skin
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Wounds or bruises that heal slowly

Type 1 Diabetes – Previously called juvenile diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce insulin. This form of diabetes usually occurs during childhood or the teen years. The only cells in our body that produce insulin are pancreatic beta cells, and when the body’s immune system destroys these types of cells, type 1 diabetes develops very quickly. Without adequate insulin production, blood glucose levels increase drastically and cause a condition called hyperglycemia. Insulin injections are required for type I diabetics.

Sometimes after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you go through a period where it appears you have overcome the disease. However, usually this period only lasts for a few months to perhaps a year, where you do not require insulin. After that time, most of your insulin-producing cells, if not all, will be destroyed and you will have to totally rely on insulin injections as part of your diabetes treatment.

The life expenctancy for people with this type of diabetes is 15 years less than the average person. Causes of type I diabetes are not clear, but there are certain risk factors such as genetics, autoimmune disorders, and environmental factors. Type 1 diabetes accounts for less than 10% of all cases of diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes – This type of diabetes is much more common and used to be known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. This type develops slowly over time, but is beginning to affect more and more people at ever younger ages. The reasons for this is due to an increase in the comsumption of refined carbohydrates and the obesity epidemic.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes:
-Obesity
- Over 45 years of age
- Family history
- A previous occurrence of gestational diabetes, or a pregnancy where the baby weighed over nine pounds.
- Ethnicity: African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at greater risk.
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- HDL cholesterol lower than 35 or triglycerides above 250

People with type 2 diabetes still produce insulin, but their bodies are no longer responsive to the insulin they produce. Their bodies try to produce more insulin to counteract the resistance, but in time, the production can not keep up with the increased resistance. This causes blood sugar levels to rise.

High blood pressure is common in people with type 2 diabetes. According to a study in England, controlling your blood pressure is even more important than blood sugar levels. If you have type II diabetes, your blood pressure should be no higher than 120/80 mmHg. Risk of heart attack or stroke is greater with even a modest increase over this level.

Gestational Diabetes – This is a form of type 2 diabetes that only affects pregnant women. Approximately five percent of women in their third trimester of pregnancy will develop gestational diabetes. Fortunately, this is just a temporary condition, but serious problems can still result. Most of the same risk factors are present with this type of diabetes, and women who develop this type have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years after their pregnancies.

In rare cases, about one percent of the time, diabetes develops due to other factors. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is one disease that can trigger the onset of diabetes. Certain drugs can temporarily cause diabetes, such as beta-blockers and corticosteroids. Malnutrition and infection can also cause diabetes in rare cases.

Diabetes treatment options – Most complications arising from diabetes are related to vascular problems resulting from damaged endothelial cells. High levels of free radicals are responsible for this damage, which causes decreased nitric oxide production. Diabetic complications usually follow this progression of events. A heart healthy diet that boosts nitric oxide production should be your first diabetes treatment option. This can reduce endothelial damage and potentially stop complications from diabetes.

It is known that nitric oxide reduces blood pressure and can reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition that can occur when an especially bad type of atherosclerosis associated with diabetes develops, which affects both the smaller and larger blood vessels. An overgrowth of very small vessels in the eyes can develop, and these blood vessels are very fragile. If they rupture, then blindness can occur.

People with diabetes produce too much superoxide anion, which destroys nitric oxide. It is extremly important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and plenty of foods that are high in antioxidants as part of your diabetes treatment. Avoid fruit juice if you have diabetes, instead opting for whole fruits, because they contain fiber that slows down the absorption of sugar from the fruit.

Most people with diabetes have abnormal blood lipids, with HDL cholesterol levels too low and triglyceride levels too high. Their LDL cholesterol may be at a normal level, but this may still be too high for someone with diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipids should be a top priority for your diabetes treatment.

Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast, one of the nation’s premier diabetes treatment specialists, and recipient of the American Diabetes Association’s top honor in 2008 states that “Patient empowerment is probably the most philosophically exciting idea to emerge in medicine in recent years. Patients can, and must, be educated to play the primary role in maintaining their own health. I have seen it work and have had the great satisfaction over the past 30 years of helping thousands of individuals live full and active lives.” Dr. Prendergast offers an online diabetes and metabolic management program to offer you the opportunity to use strategic health and telemedicine to manage your diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Prendergast has implemented a treatment protocol since 1991 that incorporates L-arginine, a common amino acid, and vitamin D. He helped formulate the popular nutritional supplement, ProArgi-9+. The results he has seen over these years are what prompted the American Diabetes Association to honor him for:

* Saving more lives than any other physician in the USA
* Clinically testing and documenting the results of more than 6,000 of his own patients
* Not admitting ONE patient to a hospital in 19 years
* Not losing ONE patient to Heart Attack or Stroke in 19 years

Until recently, sulfonylureas were the only available medications for treating type 2 diabetes. This type of medication stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin. DiaBeta (glyburide), Diabinese (chlorpropamide), and Orinase (tolbutamide), are in this class of drugs, along with several others. A slightly different reaction causes an increased production of insulin with non-sulfonylureas. The most common drug from this class is metformin.

There are new medication available now for type 2 diabetes treatment that make the body more sensitive to the insulin it produces, as opposed to increasing insulin production. These types of drugs include the thiazolidinediones Actos (pioglitazone) and Avandia (rosiglitazone).

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are an effective diabetes treatment for some people. These medications, often called “starch blockers” slow down the absorption rate for carbohydrates. This reduces the spike in blood glucose levels. Some examples of this type of medication are Glyset (miglitol) and Precose (acarbose).

Dr. Prendergast began using the injectable drug, Symlin, as part of his diabetes treatment regimin in his patients in March, 2005. The FDA approved this drug to benefit both type 1 and type 2 diabetics by helping them control their blood glucose levels. Its primary use has been with people who have not done well on insulin therapy. Symlin is a synthetic version of amylin, a hormone that is secreted along with insulin. When used with insulin, Symlin helps lower blood sugar after eating a meal for three hours. Some patients have experienced some weight gain while taking this drug.

A sister drug to Symlin that came about around the same time is Byetta. Dr. Prendergast believes that Byetta may be capable of completely reversing diabetes. It was a long process of getting this drug to the market, and it experienced several roadblocks along the way. The potential for this drug is great, but there are also some risks. In FDA trials, Byetta caused seriously low blood sugar levels. Rather than banning it, though, the FDA compared its tremendous benefits to its risks. In order to more closely monitor and explore its potential, it was only made available to 80 doctors in the U.S. and Dr. Prendergast was one of those doctors. Company officials carefully monitored the work of those doctors and the progress of their patients.

Dr. Prendergast has seen remarkable results with his patients on Byetta and believes it could be the next miracle drug. Cells dying due to diabetes are capable of regrowing. Byetta was made available for diabetes treatment to the general population in 2005. It has tremendous potential when used correctly, and it would be worth asking your doctor if it may be useful for your treatment.

There are additional drugs that are being developed for diabetes treatment that may increase your options. Drugs can affect people in different ways, so having various options is important to find out what works best for you.

Diabetes Around The World

World Diabetes Day 2012
Diabetes Around the World
Diabetes affects millions of people in the United States, and in other countries, too. Here’s a look at the worldwide epidemic.
By Jennifer Acosta Scott
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) just released the latest edition of their Diabetes Atlas, a report that breaks down the prevalence of diabetes by country. About 371 million people worldwide are currently living with diabetes — up 5 million from the 2011 report — and that figure is projected to rise to 552 million by 2030. Currently, half of all people with diabetes are undiagnosed.

Deaths from diabetes are also increasing: By the end of the year, 4.8 million people will have died from diabetes complications, compared to 4 million in 2012. Half of all deaths will be in people under age 60.

“As millions of undiagnosed people develop diabetes complications, we can expect to see the mortality rate climb,” says Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation. “On World Diabetes Day, we want to raise awareness that this disease can be controlled and in some cases prevented.”

Which countries have been hardest hit by the diabetes epidemic? Read on to find out.

No. 1: China
China once again has the largest diabetes population in the world, with 92.3 million living with the disease. It is estimated that as many as 20 percent of the residents of some of China’s cities are overweight, a factor that can increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, more than 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. However, overweight people can significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes by losing just 5 to 7 percent of their body weight.

No. 2: India
This country of nearly 1.2 billion people has more than 63 million people with diabetes. About 25 percent of India’s residents live below the poverty line, which may be a factor in the diabetes epidemic. Studies have shown that people with low incomes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than others — perhaps because of their limited ability to purchase healthy foods.
“A lot of very high-calorie foods are among the cheapest, particularly among fast foods,” says Joseph McCormick, MD, a diabetes epidemiologist and regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville.

No. 3: United States
Despite spending more on health care per person than most countries and spending more on diabetes than any other country, more than 24 million American adults have diabetes. Another 79 million have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are elevated but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. However, people with prediabetes may be able to avoid developing full-blown diabetes by losing weight.

No. 4: Brazil
Brazil moved up one spot on the list this year, as the country’s number of people living with diabetes increased from 12.4 million to 13.6 million. Of the millions of people in Brazil with diabetes, many are unaware of their condition, which can prevent them from getting the treatment they need. “People can walk around for a long time with a very high level of blood glucose,” Dr. McCormick warns.

No. 5: Russia
About 12.7 million people in Russia have diabetes, making them the country with the fifth largest diabetes population. About 30 percent of females in the country are obese, a condition characterized by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Like people who are overweight, obese people have an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes — according to one study, adult diabetics were one and a half times more likely to be obese than their non-diabetic counterparts.

No. 6: Mexico
Mexico has 10.6 million people living with diabetes. Little wonder then, that it’s the leading cause of death in the country. According to a recent study, only four in 10 residents of the United States-Mexican border area who have type 2 diabetes regularly monitor their blood sugar — an important step in successfully managing diabetes.

No. 7: Indonesia
Indonesia, which barely made the top 10 last year, has only 2.9 physicians for every 10,000 people within its borders, which may help explain the 7.6 million cases of diabetes that it is dealing with. More doctors means more access to health care, which could help some people change unhealthy habits before they develop diabetes. “In doctors’ offices, they can promote physical activity and health education,” Barcelo says. “That may have a big impact.”

No. 8: Egypt
The latest IDF figures show that 7.5 million people in Egypt have diabetes. Egypt also ranks among the world’s top three nations with the most obese women: According to the World Health Organization, nearly 76 percent of Egyptian women are overweight, and 48 percent are obese, which may help explain the growth in type 2 diabetes in this country.

No. 9: Japan
Japan saw a greater drop in diabetes rates than any other country in the top 10 this year — down from 10.7 million to 7.1 million. For Japanese people, ethnicity may play a strong role in diabetes risk. Some researchers believe that people of Asian heritage may be more likely to carry genes that make them more susceptible to developing diabetes. “They seem to have, perhaps, some propensity,” McCormick says. “[Asian] people tend to get diabetes with lower BMIs than [people] in other parts of the world.”

No. 10: Pakistan
A newcomer to the top 10, Pakistan now has 6.6 million people living with diabetes. (Last year, Bangladesh rounded out the list.) More than 50 percent of people living with diabetes in the Middle East are undiagnosed. The only area with greater numbers is Africa, where 81.2 percent of people with the disease don’t know they have it.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors. Everyday Health medical director Dr. Mallika Marshall shares key risk factors for type 2 diabetes, as well as potential warning signs. The web site also has a video of Dr. Marshall’s presentation: http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes-pictures/diabetes-around-the-world.aspx?xid=aol_eh-endo_2_20121119_&aolcat=APS&icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl42|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D236815#/slide-12

What Does It Mean To Be Fat Adapted? by Mark Sisson

When describing someone that has successfully made the transition to the Primal way of eating I often refer to them as “fat-adapted” or as “fat-burning beasts”. But what exactly does it mean to be “fat-adapted”? How can you tell if you’re fat-adapted or still a “sugar-burner”?

I get these and related questions fairly often, so I thought I’d take the time today to attempt to provide some definitions and bring some clarification to all of this. I’ll try to keep today’s post short and sweet, and not too complicated. Hopefully, med students and well-meaning but inquisitive lay family members alike will be able to take something from it.

As I’ve mentioned before, fat-adaptation is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human animal. It’s nothing special; it’s just how we’re meant to be. That’s actually why we have all this fat on our bodies – turns out it’s a pretty reliable source of energy! To understand what it means to be normal, it’s useful examine what it means to be abnormal. And by that I mean, to understand what being a sugar-dependent person feels like.

Are You a Sugar-Burner?

A sugar-burner can’t effectively access stored fat for energy. What that means is an inability for skeletal muscle to oxidize fat. Ha, not so bad, right? I mean, you could always just burn glucose for energy. Yeah, as long as you’re walking around with an IV-glucose drip hooked up to your veins.
What happens when a sugar-burner goes two, three, four hours without food, or – dare I say it – skips a whole entire meal (without that mythical IV sugar drip)? They get ravenously hungry. Heck, a sugar-burner’s adipose tissue even releases a bunch of fatty acids 4-6 hours after eating and during fasting, because as far as it’s concerned, your muscles should be able to oxidize them[1]. After all, we evolved to rely on beta oxidation of fat for the bulk of our energy needs. But they can’t, so they don’t, and once the blood sugar is all used up (which happens really quickly), hunger sets in, and the hand reaches for yet another bag of chips.

A sugar-burner can’t even effectively access dietary fat for energy. As a result, more dietary fat is stored than burned. Unfortunately for them, they’re likely to end up gaining lots of body fat. As we know, a low ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation is a strong predictor of future weight gain.
A sugar-burner depends on a perpetually-fleeting source of energy. Glucose is nice to burn when you need it, but you can’t really store very much of it on your person (unless you count snacks in pockets, or chipmunkesque cheek-stuffing). Even a 160 pound person who’s visibly lean at 12% body fat still has 19.2 pounds of animal fat on hand for oxidation, while our ability to store glucose as muscle and liver glycogen are limited to about 500 grams (depending on the size of the liver and amount of muscle you’re sporting). You require an exogenous source, and, if you’re unable to effectively beta oxidize fat (as sugar-burners often are), you’d better have some candy on hand.
A sugar-burner will burn through glycogen fairly quickly during exercise. Depending on the nature of the physical activity, glycogen burning could be perfectly desirable and expected, but it’s precious, valuable stuff. If you’re able to power your efforts with fat for as long as possible, that gives you more glycogen – more rocket fuel for later, intenser efforts (like climbing a hill or grabbing that fourth quarter offensive rebound or running from a predator). Sugar-burners waste their glycogen on efforts that fat should be able to power.

The Benefits of Being Fat Adapted

Being fat-adapted, then, looks and feels a little bit like the opposite of all that. A fat-burning beast:

Can effectively burn stored fat for energy throughout the day. If you can handle missing meals and are able to go hours without getting ravenous and cranky (or craving carbs), you’re likely fat-adapted.
Is able to effectively oxidize dietary fat for energy. If you’re adapted, your post-prandial fat oxidation will be increased, and less dietary fat will be stored in adipose tissue.
Has plenty of accessible energy on hand, even if he or she is lean. If you’re adapted, the genes associated with lipid metabolism will be upregulated in your skeletal muscles. You will essentially reprogram your body.
Can rely more on fat for energy during exercise, sparing glycogen for when he or she really needs it. As I’ve discussed before, being able to mobilize and oxidize stored fat during exercise can reduce an athlete’s reliance on glycogen. This is the classic “train low, race high” phenomenon, and it can improve performance, save the glycogen for the truly intense segments of a session, and burn more body fat. If you can handle exercising without having to carb-load, you’re probably fat-adapted. If you can workout effectively in a fasted state, you’re definitely fat-adapted.
Furthermore, a fat-burning beast will be able to burn glucose when necessary and/or available, whereas the opposite cannot be said for a sugar-burner. Ultimately, fat-adaption means metabolic flexibility. It means that a fat-burning beast will be able to handle some carbs along with some fat. A fat-burning beast will be able to empty glycogen stores through intense exercise, refill those stores, burn whatever dietary fat isn’t stored, and then easily access and oxidize the fat that is stored when it’s needed. It’s not that the fat-burning beast can’t burn glucose – because glucose is toxic in the blood, we’ll always preferentially burn it, store it, or otherwise “handle” it – it’s that he doesn’t depend on it.

I’d even suggest that true fat-adaptation will allow someone to eat a higher carb meal or day without derailing the train. Once the fat-burning machinery has been established and programmed, you should be able to effortlessly switch between fuel sources as needed.

How Can You Tell if You’re Fat Adapted?

There’s really no “fat-adaptation home test kit.” I suppose you could test your respiratory quotient (RQ), which is the ratio of carbon dioxide you produce to oxygen you consume. An RQ of 1+ indicates full glucose-burning; an RQ of 0.7 indicates full fat-burning. Somewhere around 0.8 would probably mean you’re fairly well fat-adapted, while something closer to 1 probably means you’re closer to a sugar-burner.

The obese have higher RQs. Diabetics have higher RQs. Nighttime eaters have higher RQs (and lower lipid oxidation). What do these groups all have in common? Lower satiety, insistent hunger, impaired beta-oxidation of fat, increased carb cravings and intake – all hallmarks of the sugar-burner.

It’d be great if you could monitor the efficiency of your mitochondria, including the waste products produced by their ATP manufacturing, perhaps with a really, really powerful microscope, but you’d have to know what you were looking for. And besides, although I like to think our “cellular power plants” resemble the power plant from the Simpsons, I’m pretty sure I’d be disappointed by reality.

Yes?Then you’re probably fat-adapted. Welcome to normal human metabolism! No, there’s no test to take, no simple thing to measure, no one number to track, no lab to order from your doctor. To find out if you’re fat-adapted, the most effective way is to ask yourself a few basic questions:

Can you go three hours without eating? Is skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery?
Do you enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day? Are midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples?
Can you exercise without carb-loading?
Have the headaches and brain fuzziness passed?
Fat Adaption versus Ketosis

A quick note about ketosis: Fat-adaption does not necessarily mean ketosis. Ketosis is ketosis. Fat-adaption describes the ability to burn both fat directly via beta-oxidation and glucose via glycolysis, while ketosis describes the use of fat-derived ketone bodies by tissues (like parts of the brain) that normally use glucose.

A ketogenic diet “tells” your body that no or very little glucose is available in the environment. The result? “Impaired” glucose tolerance and “physiological” insulin resistance, which sound like negatives but are actually necessary to spare what little glucose exists for use in the brain. On the other hand, a well-constructed, lower-carb (but not full-blown ketogenic) Primal way of eating that leads to weight loss generally improves insulin sensitivity.

About the Author:

Mark Sisson is the author of a #1 bestselling health book on Amazon.com, The Primal Blueprint, as well as The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the top-rated health and fitness blog MarksDailyApple.com. He is also the founder of Primal Nutrition, Inc., a company devoted to health education and designing state-of-the-art supplements that address the challenges of living in the modern world. You can visit Mark’s website by visiting marksdailyapple.com.

Statin Drugs and Diabetes

By Dr. Mercola

One in four Americans aged 45 and older take statin drugs to lower cholesterol and supposedly “prevent heart disease.”

That amounts to 32 million Americans or, as Peter Wehrwein pointed out in the Harvard Health Letter, the equivalent of the entire populations of Florida and Illinois combined.i

If you’re one of these millions, or if you’re considering starting a statin prescription anytime soon, you should know that there are serious risks involved with taking these drugs, a fact that even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now acknowledging.

Evidence includes diaries, court records, medical books and literature, in which these two sleep cycles are referred to in such a way as to make it clear that it was common knowledge at the time.

FDA Adds New Warning Labels to Statin Drugs

Following an internal meeting between the FDA’s Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology and Office of New Drugs, the Agency announced it would be requiring additional warning labels for statin drugs. Among them are warnings that statins may increase the risk of:

Liver damage
Memory loss and confusion
Type 2 diabetes
Muscle weakness (for certain statins)

According to Dr. Amy Egan, the FDA’s deputy director of safety in the division of metabolism drug products, the new warnings, particularly the one for memory loss, came as the result of anecdotal reports compiled over the past year. In short, with well over 30 million Americans now taking statin drugs, we’re witnessing a massive ongoing ‘live’ experiment, and many are putting their health on the line for drugs that offer little in the way of heart protection. In fact, they may actually make your heart health worse.

Where’s the Warning for CoQ10 Depletion?

Though the FDA has added new warnings to statin labels, they are continuing to sing their praises and still made sure to tell ABC News “We still think the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks.” These warnings are long overdue, as the drugs are being prescribed to tens of millions of Americans who do not need them, and who are being kept largely in the dark about their potential risks. But they do not go far enough to adequately protect the public.

Ironically, while reducing your risk of cardiovascular events and heart disease is the primary motivation for prescribing statins, these drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to heart failure. Statins lower your CoQ10 levels by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production — the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.

The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion a health-destroying circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage.

There are no official warnings in the United States regarding CoQ10 depletion from taking statin drugs, and many physicians fail to inform you about this problem as well. Labeling in Canada, however, clearly warns of CoQ10 depletion and even notes that this nutrient deficiency “could lead to impaired cardiac function in patients with borderline congestive heart failure.”

As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure, so it is imperative if you take statin drugs that you take CoQ10 or, if you are over the age of 40, or subject to excessive oxidative stress, the reduced version called ubiquinol. A simple warning as such could save countless numbers of people from this potentially deadly risk … but the FDA has stayed mum.

FDA Removes One Important Safety Warning

Due to statins’ potential to increase liver enzymes and cause liver damage, patients must be monitored for normal liver function. At least, that’s what the label used to say. Now the FDA has removed this long-standing warning and ruled that patients taking statins no longer need routine monitoring of liver enzymes, but instead can have liver enzymes tested before starting the drugs, and then only as clinically needed. It’s unclear what prompted the FDA to remove the warning, but many physicians have told the press they plan to continue monitoring their patients’ liver enzymes anyway.

ABC News reported:

“I disagree with the notion that you can stop checking for liver function test abnormalities,” said Dr. Andrew Carroll, a physician at the Renaissance Medical Group in Phoenix. Carroll said he saw high liver enzymes in about 5 percent of the patients to whom he prescribed statins, prompting him to recommend they stop taking the medication.”

It makes no sense that the FDA would remove this cautionary warning, as statins are linked to severe liver injury. Of all the adverse drug reactions (ADRs) suspected to be due to statins received by the Swedish Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee from 1988-2010, the most common was drug-induced liver injury.ii Such cases accounted for 57 percent of all the statin-related ADRs and included potentially severe, and in some cases deadly, consequences, including:

Deaths from acute liver failure
Liver transplantation
Jaundice

The link to liver damage was quite strong, and in several cases after patients recovered from the initial liver damage and then started taking statins again, a similar pattern of liver injury occurred. If someone you love is currently taking a statin, please do alert them to this potential danger, as it can occur quickly. Most patients experienced liver injury just three to four months after the start of therapy.

Further, in 2010 data from more than 2 million 30- to 84-year-old statin users from England and Wales identified increased risks of moderate or serious liver dysfunction as well, among other serious effects, including acute kidney failure, moderate or serious myopathy (muscle disease), and cataract.iii

How Big of a Risk are Statins for Memory Problems and Diabetes?

Statins appear to provoke serious risks of chronic disease, including diabetes, through a few different mechanisms. One primary mechanism is by increasing your insulin levels, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Chronically elevated insulin levels cause inflammation in your body, which is the hallmark of most chronic disease. In fact, elevated insulin levels lead to heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a statin drug in the first place!

It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Statins also increase your diabetes risk by raising your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar levels.

These drugs also rob your body of certain valuable nutrients, which can also impact your blood sugar levels. Two nutrients in particular, vitamin D and CoQ10, are both needed to maintain ideal blood glucose levels.

A recent meta-analysis confirmed that statin drugs are indeed associated with increased risk of developing diabetes.

The researchers evaluated five different clinical trials that together examined more than 32,000 people. They found that the higher the dosage of statin drugs being taken, the greater the diabetes risk. The “number needed to harm” for intensive-dose statin therapy was 498 for new-onset diabetes — that’s the number of people who need to take the drug in order for one person to develop diabetes. In other words, one out of every 498 people who are on a high-dose statin regimen will develop diabetes. If you factor in all 32 million people taking statins, that’s over 64,000 cases of diabetes!

Are Hundreds of Side Effects Being Ignored?

The FDA’s new warning labels may open some people’s eyes to a couple of new statin risks … but what about all the rest of them? Consumer health groups like Natural Society have pointed out that hundreds of adverse health effects have been linked to the drugs, and patients are largely kept in the dark about these risks. As noted in a Natural Society press release:iv

“Fundamentally, the research indicates that statin drugs damage the muscles and nerves in the body. There are well over 100 studies demonstrating the myotoxic, or muscle-harming effects of these drugs, and over 80 demonstrating the nerve-damaging effects. Since the heart is such a vital muscle innervated by a complex network of nerves, many healthcare providers now seriously question whether the unintended, unwanted side effects of statins are worse than the purported “cardiovascular” benefits they provide. Therefore, these peer reviewed research studies may also explain why rates of heart failure may be increasing in the general population who are given these drugs.

While the discovery that statin drugs, instead of preventing heart disease likely contributes to it, might be surprising, it should not distract from the more disturbing discovery that they contribute to over 300 disease and/or adverse health effects.”

That’s right — statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects, which include:

Cognitive loss, Neuropathy, Anemia,
Acidosis, Frequent fevers, Cataracts,
Sexual dysfunction, An increase in cancer risk, Pancreatic dysfunction,
Immune system suppression, Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis, a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition, Hepatic dysfunction. (Due to the potential increase in liver enzymes, patients must be monitored for normal liver function)

Do You Really Need a Statin Drug?

The answer is, probably not. I’ve long stated that the odds are very high — greater than 100 to 1 — that if you’re taking a statin, you may not even need it. To understand why you probably don’t need a statin drug, you first need to realize that cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease. If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher. HDL percentage is a far more potent indicator for heart disease risk. Here are the two ratios you should pay attention to:

HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.
Your body NEEDS cholesterol — it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function. For more information about cholesterol, and why conventional advice to reduce your cholesterol to ridiculously low levels is foolhardy, please listen to this interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

Oftentimes statins do not have any immediate side effects, and they are quite effective, capable of lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more. This makes it appear as though they’re benefiting your health, and health problems that develop later on are frequently misinterpreted as brand new, separate health problems.

But make no mistake about it, statin drugs are some of the most side-effect-ridden medications on the market, and they frequently cause more harm than good. If you are interested in optimizing your cholesterol levels (which doesn’t necessarily mean lowering them), there are natural strategies available for doing so.

Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet, replacing them with mostly whole, fresh vegetable carbs. Also try to consume a good portion of your food raw.
Make sure you are getting enough high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil.
Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats as appropriate for your nutritional type.
Exercise daily, especially with Peak Fitness exercises.
Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

References:

i Harvard Health Letter April 15, 2011
ii Journal of Hepatology 2012 Feb;56(2):374-80.
iii BMJ. 2010 May 20;340:c2197.
iv Reuters.com March 1, 2012

Statins and Type 2 Diabetes

What Doctors Don’t Tell You About Statins And Type 2 Diabetes

Imagine your confusion, frustration and anger if you have been taking a cholesterol-lowering statin and a few months later, you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…
At first, there may have been no obvious link between the two, but now that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new warning about the increased risk of high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes in statin users, you may ask yourself: Why didn’t my doctor tell me?

No guiding light

However, we’re dealing with a double edged blade here, because the reverse is also true. You may suffer from type 2 diabetes and when your doctor prescribes a statin — even though your cholesterol levels are normal — you don’t question him. After all, he says ‘the drug would help prevent heart disease and heart attack’.
And that’s exactly how statin’s reputation as a magic heart pill grows daily. Patients trust their doctors, and doctors trust what all their mainstream colleagues are saying: “Take it. It works.”
Unfortunately, over the past decade, conventional medical wisdom has come to equate type 2 diabetes with heart disease. So if you have heart disease, they put you on a statin. If you have type 2 diabetes, they put you on a statin.

No questions asked.

But now, for many type 2 diabetics the huge question looms: If the FDA has issued this warning, obviously it’s well known throughout the medical community. So why aren’t doctors on the phone calling every type 2 diabetic patient who is using a statin?
The answer is simple: Doctors have no guidance.
The recent FDA action requires statin drug makers to update product information to show that the drug may raise blood sugar and has the potential to prompt full-blown type 2 diabetes. As far as I’ve been able to tell, there’s not a single word from the FDA, or anyone else for that matter, regarding patients who are already type 2 diabetics who are taking statins.

There’s just no excuse for that. It’s insane!

If I was a doctor, I know exactly what I would do. But then I haven’t been brainwashed into believing that a daily statin pill is all that’s standing between every type 2 diabetic and a heart attack.
My gut feeling is that conventional doctors all over the world are in denial about this. They believe that statins are wonder drugs, so they’re struggling to come to terms with the fact that they have been unwitting accomplices in putting their patients in serious danger.
But any doctor worth his salt needs to put aside his confusion — and his pride — and start a programme to get his type 2 diabetes patients to stop using statins immediately.
If you are one of those concerned patients, don’t wait for your doctor to call you. Instead, pick up the phone, make a doctor’s appointment and start discussing alternative treatments to keep your heart healthy and your blood sugar levels under control. Better yet, visit both our dedicated blogs, The Cholesterol Truth and The Real Diabetes Truth, where you will get honest answers and actionable advice.

Still on the topic of type 2 diabetes… A new US study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that eating lots of blueberries and apples appears to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers examined the diets of some 200,000 men and women who were enrolled in three on-going studies of American health professionals and found that those who reported eating the most blueberries and apples tended to have a low risk of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, study participants who ate two or more servings of blueberries per week had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate no blueberries.
The same appeared true for people who ate five or more apples a week compared to those who didn’t report eating apples.
We already know that blueberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch and that they may help prevent cancer, urinary tract infections, heart disease and damage from heart disease.
Organically grown apples (avoid those grown with pesticides or treated with fungicides and wax) have been shown to reduce the risk of colon, liver, prostate and lung cancer, chronic cough and other respiratory symptoms, asthma and heart disease.
These latest findings certainly add to the growing body of evidence that eating lots of whole fresh fruits is one of the best things you can do for your health.