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Possible tips, tricks, and leads regarding diabetes prevention, treatment, and cures-- some of which you (and even your doctor!) may be unaware

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This page last updated on or about 5-29-07
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"If you have type 2 diabetes, you may want to sprinkle cinnamon on your cappuccino.

-- Health Tip: Cinnamon for Diabetics; Jun 11, 2004; news-journal.com

"The 30 people getting daily doses of 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days experienced an 18 to 29 percent drop in blood glucose, compared with their values at the beginning of the study. A gram of cinnamon is about one-half a teaspoon..."

"Cinnamon also improved study participants' blood-cholesterol and triglycerides concentrations..."

-- Coffee, Spices, Wine New dietary ammo against diabetes? by Janet Raloff; Science News Online Week of May 1, 2004; Vol. 165, No. 18

"Promising results were obtained by 30 test subjects with type II diabetes after only 40 days of taking cinnamon. They had a significant decrease in blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol."

-- Cinnamon may help to alleviate diabetes says UCSB researcher; Contact: Gail Gallessich gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu 805-893-7220 University of California - Santa Barbara; 13-Apr-2004

"In a study, diabetics...who incorporated one gram -- equivalent to less than one-quarter teaspoon -- of cinnamon per day for 40 days into their normal diets experienced a decrease in levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats."

"Diabetics could add a dash of cinnamon to their morning servings of coffee, orange juice or cereal, Anderson noted. "You can also make a cinnamon tea by simply boiling water with stick cinnamon," he suggested.

Anderson noted that cinnamon may also help stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at risk of the condition.

He added that cinnamon contains some substances that can be toxic in high amounts, so people should be sure not to get too much of a good thing. "Certainly, a gram per day is not a high amount," he reassured."

"Reporting in the journal Diabetes Care, Anderson and his team found that all cinnamon-takers experienced a drop in blood levels of glucose, fats and cholesterol by up to 30 percent."

-- Google search: A Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps Treat Diabetes By Alison McCook; Dec 12, 2003; Reuters

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Decaffeinated coffee, green tea, and chromium

Caffeine is bad for diabetes-- but decaf coffee is good. Green tea is good.

"...chromium supplements can restore blood sugar control to some people and animals with diabetes. The question has been why that is and what might represent effective doses of chromium."

[Chromium is found naturally in black pepper and other foods; sugar consumption causes the body to lose chromium]

"The formulation of currently available chromium supplements doesn't permit the body to absorb the element efficiently, Anderson says. However, his team has just received a patent for a new formulation, called chromium histidine, that in human trials results in absorption of about 50 percent more chromium than conventional supplements do, he says."

-- Coffee, Spices, Wine New dietary ammo against diabetes? by Janet Raloff; Science News Online Week of May 1, 2004; Vol. 165, No. 18

"...green and black tea...for three months...At levels that would be equivalent to less than five cups of tea per day for a human...both teas decreased glucose levels, which in turn affects other biochemical pathways that accelerate diabetic complications...

"Most people, scientists included, believe that green tea has more health benefits than black tea," says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a chemist at the University of Scranton (Penn.) and lead author of the paper. In combination with Vinson's earlier research showing that green tea and black tea equally inhibit atherosclerosis — a major risk factor for heart disease — the findings suggest that both drinks could play a part in curbing two of the most widespread maladies in the United States today."

-- Google search: Tea may help prevent diabetes and cataracts; 18-Apr-2005; Contact: Michael Bernstein m_bernstein@acs.org 202-872-4400 American Chemical Society

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Whole grains and fiber

"People who consume plenty of whole-grain foods, particularly fiber-rich cereals, may be less likely to develop health conditions that put them at increased risk of diabetes, new research suggests."

"In our study, the health benefits of whole grain foods were observed among people who consumed three or more servings of whole grains per day," McKeown said. People who ate this much whole grain had better insulin sensitivity and were less likely to have the metabolic syndrome, she said."

-- Google search: Whole-Grain Foods May Lower Diabetes Risk by By Merritt McKinney; Feb 15, 2004; Reuters

"Just three weeks of a high-fibre, low-fat diet and moderate exercise could slow key changes in the body crucial to the development of diabetes, a new study suggests.

The new study, along with previous work on the so-called Pritkin diet and exercise programme, found that just three weeks of the programme reversed the clinical diagnosis of type 2 diabetes – or its precursor, called metabolic syndrome. The programme worked in half of the overweight patients following it.

“The study shows, contrary to common belief, that type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be reversed solely through lifestyle changes,” says Christian Roberts at the University of California, Los Angeles, US, who led the study."

“Many people have the impression that once they have this disease that there’s not really anything they can do barring using drugs to keep the disease process from getting worse, when in fact that’s not the case."

“For people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, especially those who are overweight, lifestyle changes can mean that insulin injections or tablets are no longer needed. However, the progression of the condition is only slowed down, meaning that blood glucose levels can be controlled through diet and physical activity alone.”

"The diet restricts certain types of fat and sugar drastically, says Roberts, and is heavily plant based, although meat is allowed. For example, foods would include fruit salads, oatmeal, brown rice and vegetable-heavy meat casseroles. The patients also did 45 to 60 minutes of exercise a day – walking on a treadmill."

"Journal reference: Journal of Applied Physiology (DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01292.2005)"

-- Google search: Three-week diet curbs diabetes by Shaoni Bhattacharya; 13 January 2006; NewScientist.com news service

[NOTE: If you're looking for true whole grain rather than various degrees of fakes, avoid anything with "enriched flour" in the fine print ingredients. "Stone ground whole wheat" or "whole grain" should be in the fine print, with NO MENTION WHATSOEVER of "enriched flour". END NOTE.

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Regular vigorous exercise and avoidance of junk foods and sugary drinks

"These results do support what we have found in men, that higher fitness levels protect against the development of diabetes."

-- Staying in Shape Staves Off Diabetes in Women; Nov 20, 2003; Reuters

-- Steady Exercise Beats Back Diabetes After 40; Aug 28, 2003

Diabetes tips and tricks contents


"Researchers in Canada have found new evidence that buckwheat, a grain used in making pancakes and soba noodles, may be beneficial in the management of diabetes. In a controlled study, they showed that extracts of the seed lowered blood glucose levels by 12 percent to 19 percent when fed to diabetic rats. The report comes at a particularly appropriate time since November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The study may lead to new uses of the grain as a dietary supplement or functional food to help people with diabetes and others with conditions involving elevated glucose, the researchers claim. Their findings will appear in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"With diabetes on the rise, incorporation of buckwheat into the diet could help provide a safe, easy and inexpensive way to lower glucose levels and reduce the risk of complications associated with the disease, including heart, nerve and kidney problems," says study leader Carla G. Taylor, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Canada. "Buckwheat won't cure diabetes, but we'd like to evaluate its inclusion in food products as a management aid."

Until similar studies are done on humans with diabetes, no one knows exactly how much buckwheat — in flour or extract form — must be eaten in order to obtain a beneficial effect on glucose levels, Taylor says. Further studies are needed, she adds."

-- Google search: Buckwheat may be beneficial for managing diabetes; 17-Nov-2003; Contact: Allison Byrum a_byrum@acs.org 202-872-4400 American Chemical Society

Diabetes tips and tricks contents


"People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet, researchers said on Thursday."

"They lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, according to the report published in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.

Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. Three of the vegan dieters dropped out of the study, compared to eight on the standard diet.

"I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs," Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study, told a news conference."

"The vegan diet removed all animal products, including meat, fish and dairy. It was also low in added fat and in sugar."

-- Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds By Maggie Fox (article found 7-27-06) Reuters

"...people who ate diets that contained the most vitamin E were 30 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, than people who consumed the least amount of vitamin E.

People who consumed large amounts of carotenoids, a group of compounds that produce the red, yellow, and orange colors found in many fruits and vegetables, were also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin C intake, in contrast, appeared to exert no effect on diabetes risk."

-- Antioxidants Appear to Protect Against Diabetes By Alison McCook; Reuters; Feb 16, 2004

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Strict vegetarianism poses its own risks. One major problem can be vitamin B-12 deficiency. So be sure to attend to such issues if you pursue such a diet regimen. END NOTE.

Diabetes tips and tricks contents


"Reports of a traditional Chinese medicine having beneficial effects for people suffering from type 2 diabetes now has some scientific evidence to back up the claims."

"Berberine is found in the roots and bark of a number of plants used for medicinal purposes including wound healing and treatment of diarrhoea. It has also been documented in Chinese literature as having a glucose lowering effect when administered to people with diabetes..."

"...berberine...helps lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it seems berberine can help reduce body weight"."

"Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. Given the limitations of existing medicines we are excited to have evidence that berberine may be a helpful new treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, despite its widespread use in traditional medicine practices, it will still have to be evaluated properly following the defined clinical trials process..."

-- Google search: Traditional Chinese medicine for diabetes has scientific backing; Contact: Branwen Morgan 61-29-295-8135 Research Australia; 31-Jul-2006

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Sufficient (but not excessive) amounts of good and restful sleep

"Six to eight hours of sleep was found to be most healthy. In contrast, men who reported they slept between five and six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes and men who slept more than eight hours per night were three times as likely to develop diabetes, according to the lead author, H. Klar Yaggi, M.D., professor in Yale's Department of Internal Medicine, pulmonary section. Previous data from the Nurses Health Study have shown similar results in women."

-- Too much or too little sleep increases diabetes risk Contact: Jacqueline Weaver jacqueline.weaver@yale.edu 203-432-8555 Yale University 24-Mar-2006

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Avoiding second-hand smoke

"Breathing in other people's smoke boosts the risk of developing diabetes, a new study suggests."

-- Passive smoking linked with diabetes for first time 07 April 2006; Journal reference: British Medical Journal (DOI: 10.1136/bmj.38779.584028.55)

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Avoiding industrial toxins in the environment (including your own home).

"Exposure to small amounts of an ingredient in polycarbonate plastic may increase a person's risk of diabetes, according to a new study in mice.

The synthetic chemical called bisphenol-A is used to make dental sealants, sturdy microwavable plastics, linings for metal food-and-beverage containers, baby bottles, and numerous other products. When consumed, the chemical can mimic the effects of estrogen. Previous tests had found that bisphenol-A can leach into food and water and that it's widely prevalent in human blood.

The newfound contribution of the chemical to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, might partially explain the global epidemic of that disease, says Angel Nadal of Miguel Hernández University of Elche in Spain, who led the new study."

-- Diabetes from a Plastic? Estrogen mimic provokes insulin resistance by Ben Harder Science News Online Week of Jan. 21, 2006; Vol. 169, No. 3

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Salacia oblonga

"An herb used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes seems to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in a manner similar to prescription drugs, a new study reports.

"The largest dose of the herb extract – 1,000 milligrams – decreased insulin and blood glucose levels by 29 and 23 percent, respectively."

"Salacia oblonga is still relatively difficult to find in the United States, Hertzler said, although there are manufacturers that sell the herb through the Internet."

-- Google search: HERB USED TO TREAT DIABETES WORKS LIKE MODERN-DAY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, STUDY SUGGESTS; (Last updated 2/7/05) Contact: Steve Hertzler, (614) 292-5575; Hertzler.4@osu.edu Written by Holly Wagner, (614) 292-8310; Wagner.235@osu.edu

"The results of the study show that this specific program has a beneficial effect on indicators of glucose metabolism and may therefore play a role in developing secondary prevention strategies for Type 2 diabetes," he said."

-- UQ researchers show traditional Chinese exercises can help combat diabetes; Contact: Liu Xin 61-733-656-463 Research Australia 6-Dec-2005

Diabetes tips and tricks contents


"DHEA, a popular supplement with men, can reduce artery stiffness and improve the body's sensitivity to insulin -- which may lower the risk of heart disease -- new study findings indicate.

Levels of DHEA, a.k.a. dehydroepiandrosterone, decrease with age, and this is linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease..."

"Treatment with DHEA also produced a significant drop in blood sugar levels without altering insulin levels. In other words, it improved insulin sensitivity..."

"DHEA has been demonstrated to have an anti-atherosclerotic effect in animal models and there are some reports that DHEA may have a protective effect against age-related illnesses in humans,"

SOURCE: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, July 2003. "

-- DHEA May Ward Off Heart Problems, Diabetes; Jul 25, 2003

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Small daily doses of alcohol

"Women who drink small to moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of type-2 diabetes than non-drinkers, a study that echoes findings in men has found."

"Compared with non-drinkers, women who drank between about half a drink and two drinks daily were 58 per cent less likely to develop diabetes."

-- Alcohol found to lessen women's diabetes; 11jun03

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Stress management and control

"Patients with type 2 diabetes who incorporate stress management techniques into their routine care can significantly reduce their average blood glucose levels..."

"Such stress management techniques include instructions on how to identify everyday life stressors and how to respond to them with such techniques as progressive muscle relaxation and breathing exercises."

"Stress-management techniques were taught by nurses or graduate students specifically trained for the study. The training included progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, breathing techniques and instructions on how to modify one's physiologic, cognitive and behavioral responses to stress."

"Managing stress can significantly improve a patient's control of their diabetes," said Surwit. "These techniques are simple, quick to learn, and have been shown to work for multiple conditions, including coronary syndromes. There are many self-help books and other commercially available materials about stress management from which patients can learn these techniques."

-- Stress Management Can Help Control Glucose In Type 2 Diabetes; December 27, 2001; Duke University Medical Center

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Consumption of nuts and peanut butter

"A helping of nuts or peanut butter several times a week appears to significantly lower the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes, at least in women..."

-- Nuts, Peanut Butter Ward Off Diabetes - U.S. Study By Andrew Stern; Reuters; Nov 27, 2002

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Avoiding processed meats

"Eating a diet high in processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, salami or sausage may substantially increase a man's risk of developing type 2 diabetes..."

"...eating processed meat five or more times per week increased a man's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 50%."

"Those who ate processed meats two to four times per week had 35% increased risk and those (who ate processed meats) five times or more had almost 50% increased risk of diabetes," he said."

"Since the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a low-fat diet for all people with diabetes, the use of high-fat foods--of all types, which would include foods such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs--should be limited to one to three servings per week," said Anne Daly of the ADA in a prepared statement.

"This study indicates that processed meats should be limited to even more occasional use, such as once a month," she added.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care 2002;25:417-424 "

-- Eating Processed Meats Ups Diabetes Risk in Men By Keith Mulvihill; Feb 26, 2002

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Overweight adults may get some protection from heart problems and type 2 diabetes via dairy consumption

"According to the report, overweight adults who consumed the most servings of milk, butter, yogurt and cheese were the least likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and hypertension (high blood pressure), regardless of whether these foods were low in fat. Collectively, these medical conditions are known as insulin resistance syndrome (IRS) and are major risk factors for diabetes and heart disease..."

"Our findings suggest that dairy consumption may be part of a dietary pattern that reduces the risk of obesity and IRS,"

"There was no association between high dairy consumption and the risk of IRS among individuals who were normal weight....Similarly, both men and women seemed to benefit equally from a dairy-rich diet."

"It is not clear from the current study why dairy products might protect against the symptoms of IRS. The authors note that previous research has shown that calcium, potassium and magnesium--minerals found in these foods--are associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes."

"SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2002;287:2082- "

-- Dairy Foods May Cut Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk By Suzanne Rostler; Apr 23, 2002 Reuters Limited

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)

"Diabetics who added an essential fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to their diets had lower body mass as well as lower blood sugar levels by the end of the eight-week study."

"While CLA supplements are available to consumers, Belury encourages diabetics to get their CLA from food sources – primarily beef, lamb and dairy products.

“Not only does it taste better, it’s also safer and more beneficial to get the nutrients from food,” she said. “Besides, we don’t yet know the long-term effects of taking CLA in supplement form.”

Contact: Martha Belury, 614- 292-1680; Belury.1@osu.edu Written by Holly Wagner; 614-292-8310; Wagner.235@osu.edu"

-- Google search: FAT THAT MAY BENEFIT DIABETICS REDUCES WEIGHT, BLOOD SUGAR (when initially found, the original article had last been updated 1/24/03) --

5-29-07 UPDATE:

"Studies have found that C.L.A. supplements can produce slight reductions in body fat, but that it may carry health risks."

-- The Claim: C.L.A. Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight by ANAHAD O’CONNOR; May 29, 2007; nytimes.com


Diabetes tips and tricks contents


"Patients who undergo obesity surgery get far more than cosmetic benefits — many also shed fat-related ailments including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, researchers say."

-- Google search: Obesity Surgery Could Cure Diabetes By LINDSEY TANNER, AP; Oct 13, 2004

Diabetes tips and tricks contents

Other promising developments

[Regarding type 1 diabetes]"...severely diabetic mice can recover on their own if researchers squelch an immune system attack that is causing the disease."

Roughly half the mice were successfully cured with the procedure.

"In every case, the investigators followed Dr. Faustman's procedures, injecting diabetic mice with Freund's Complete Adjuvant, a mixture of water, oil and parts of dead bacteria. It overstimulates the immune system cells that are attacking the pancreas, making those white blood cells self-destruct, effectively stopping the attack and allowing the pancreas to cure itself."

-- A Controversial Therapy for Diabetes Is Verified - New York Times By GINA KOLATA; March 24, 2006; nytimes.com

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