Diabetes - Alcohol, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements, Antioxidants

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Diabetes - Alcohol, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements, Antioxidants - Pg 3
Reprinted by permission from Bill Faloon of The Life Extension Foundation

Know the facts about alcohol.  The most important fact is that being out of control makes it difficult to manage diabetes, even masking the acute danger brought on by hypoglycemic reactions.  If a person is capable of the moderate use of alcohol, other facts are important.  Pure alcohol itself (scotch, vodka, rum, gin, etc.) contains no carbohydrates, despite what it is made from.  Liqueurs, such as Amaretto and Kahlua, on the other hand, are high in carbohydrates.  Another danger comes from the mixers used in cocktails, many of which have high sugar contents (colas, juices, tonic, margarita mix, etc.).

One odd fact is that, under certain circumstances, alcohol can actually cause a low blood sugar reaction.  If blood sugar is low and food is not eaten, plain alcohol alone may prevent the body's natural, protective response to hypoglycemia.  In other words, when the body wants to release stored glycogen (sugar) to combat low blood sugar levels, alcohol prevents it from doing so.

Diabetes damage is increased tremendously by smoking.  Tobacco usage causes severe damage to the vascular system, adding to a diabetic's already embattled health.

The problems of diabetes are compounded by stress.  On a direct level, stress raises blood sugar.  This happens because of the primitive "fight or flight" response in which perceived dangers are met by the body's protective chemical reactions, including a release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands and dumping of glycogen (sugar) stores from the liver.  In a healthy person, the reaction may be useful for the energy and alertness needed to deal with difficult situations.  In a diabetic, the additional glycogen input cannot be utilized and results in elevation of blood sugar.

Such elevations can be extreme and may result from everything from bumping into an ex-spouse, to getting called by a doctor with the results of a blood test, to having to testify in court.  Frequent and timely self-testing may help to mitigate this problem.

Stress also robs the body of necessary nutrient levels.  All of the basic requirements of an individual are increased by stress.

When a diabetic's sugar level becomes elevated, the body attempts to transport the excess sugar out through the kidneys by increasing urination.  In the process of excreting fluids, water-soluble nutrients are lost and must be replaced by regular supplementation.

Exercise plays a direct role in the control of diabetes by increasing the efficiency of available insulin.  Combined with diet and exercise, some Type II diabetics may return to normal metabolic levels.  An additional benefit accrues from the blood-pressure-lowering effect of exercise.  As mentioned previously, diabetics typically suffer from hypertension, a major factor in some of the deadly and disabling complications discussed in this protocol.

Nutritional Supplements for Diabetes
Following the recommendations for diabetes presented below, the protocols for other related medical problems will be suggested as well.

Note that the recommendations are directed primarily at the symptoms of diabetes, not at the disorder itself.  Until a better solution for the disorder is discovered, controlling its damage is paramount.

There are several major avenues involved in dealing with diabetes.  Let's presume that the patient is taking a high-potency, easily assimilated, multi-vitamin/mineral nutritional supplements complex.  The objective of this approach is to support the vascular and neural damage seen in diabetes.  This involves:

  • Improving the oxygen delivery capacity of the circulatory system by stopping, eliminating, or circumventing vascular blockage, thus improving cellular and neural health.
  • Supporting the prevention of diabetes-induced metabolic breakdowns.
  • Reducing oxidative stress.
  • Aiding angiogenesis (regenerating capillaries).
  • Helping the lipid characteristics of blood corpuscles to make them less brittle and more capable of entering the small capillaries.
  • Slowing the possibility of endoneural hypoxia (oxygen deficiency in the tissues).
The following supplements have a high level of scientific support for aggressively enhancing the betterment of health for those with diabetes.

Antioxidants / Nutritional Supplements

Oxidative damage plays critical roles in the complications of diabetes, including being part of the glycosylation process (a major biological development that causes degenerative vascular disease).  Some of the most important antioxidants used to combat this oxidative stress are:

Life Extension Mix - Life Extension Mix is the cornerstone of a comprehensive supplement program because it provides so many well-studied nutrients.  It saves time and money by combining the most popular nutritional supplements in one product.  It eliminates the need to take separate bottles of B-complex, vitamins C and E, mineral supplements and much more that would be required to achieve the same effects.  Life Extension Mix is a multi-formula that contains 90+ unique vegetable, fruit, and herbal extracts along with high-potency amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and special antioxidants.  It supports a detoxification process that helps to remove toxins from the body.  Most multivitamin nutritional supplements provide no vegetable extracts whatsoever.  Chromium, along with magnesium and biotin, are nutrients required to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  The full menu of Life Extension Mix provides 500 micrograms (mcg) chromium, a better absorbed form of magnesium, and high potency of biotin.  A review of studies showing the benefits of chromium supplementation reveals that doses exceeding 200 micrograms (mcg) per day are required for optimal effects.  Recommended dosage:  3 tablets, 3 times a day provides broad-spectrum protection against free radicals.  Or, you can read about other options with capsules or powder here.

Chromium - Because of chromium's ability to enhance cellular absorption (increasing the efficiency of insulin), Type II diabetics should be aware of the possibility that their medications may need lowering.  500 mcg is included in the full menu of Life Extension Mix.  Recommended dosage:  500 mcg daily.

Alpha Lipoic Acid - (not included in Life Extension Mix) is present in the leaves of plants containing mitochondria and non-photosynthetic plant tissues, such as potatoes.  Another source which is very high in mitochondria is red meat.  This is probably the richest source of naturally-occurring Alpha Lipoic Acid.  Under normal conditions, our bodies contain small amounts of Alpha Lipoic Acid but not enough for therapeutic use.  Bearing that in mind, dietary supplementation of Alpha Lipoic Acid may be especially important for vegetarians and those cutting down on red meat consumption.

Alpha-lipoic acid (aLA), is also known as thioctic acid.  It has also been shown to be useful in the maintenance of neural health.  It is suggested that vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin be taken concurrently since aLA may cause B12 depletion.  Recommended dosage:  250 mg 2 times daily.

Proanthocyanidins - (grape seed/skin extract) - These may be the most concentrated natural antioxidants available.  They also inhibit a dangerous enzyme known as COX-2 that interferes with the body's levels of a beneficial substance called prostacyclin (discussed below).  The newest and most effective form of proanthocyanidins is Biovin.  50 mg is included in the full menu of Life Extension Mix, however, the other 150 mg has to be obtained separately.  Recommended dosage:  100 mg twice daily.

Vitamin E - This nutrient also protects prostacyclin, widens blood vessels, and thins the blood. 400 mg is included in the full menu of Life Extension Mix, however, the other 400 to 800 mg has to be obtained separately.  Recommended dosage:  400 mg initially and gradually raised to 400 mg, 2 or 3 times daily.

Vitamin C - Recommended dosage:  2000 mg daily, in divided doses which is included in the full menu of Life Extension Mix.

Coenzyme Q10 - (not included in Life Extension Mix) Coenzyme Q10 is an immune boosting supplement that supports the heart/cardiovascular system and convert fats and sugars into cellular energy.  Our bodies naturally decline production as we age.  Recommended dosage:  30 to 100 mg daily.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) - (not included in Life Extension Mix) - This may be the single most important nutrient in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, capable of demonstrating a significant amelioration of symptoms.  Recommended dosage:  500-1000 mg twice daily.

Aspirin - (not included in Life Extension Mix) - This ubiquitous medication has numerous benefits for diabetics.  Besides its blood thinning (stroke preventing) properties, it is the painkiller that does not interfere with prostacyclin (Drvota, 1990).  Even more significant was the finding of Malik and Meek (1986) that aspirin actually blocked glycosylation.  Recommended dosage:  One regular strength aspirin every other day.

Vitamin K1/K2 - (not included in Life Extension Mix) - The pancreas has the second highest amount of vitamin K in the body.  This suggests the vitamin may have something to do with controlling blood sugar.  In the first study of its kind, researchers in Japan looked at vitamin K's effect on glucose and insulin.  In a study on rats, they found that vitamin K deficiency initially impedes the clearance of glucose then causes too much insulin to be released.  This can be plotted on a graph that looks very similar to what occurs in diabetes.  Recommended dosage:  One 10 mg capsule every other day.

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