Diabetes and Metabolism Update

Diabetes and Metabolism Update

In these sweltering days of summer, who hasn’t had a craving for ice cream or a cool, fresh root beer float? But for those struggling to maintain healthy blood glucose levels, even a slice of white bread can be a no-no. In these studies, a variety of nutrients showed promise for those concerned about healthy blood sugar levels.

Green tea extract reduced blood sugar, gut inflammation

A healthy digestive tract allows nutrients to pass through its walls into the bloodstream, but blocks potentially harmful substances such as non-nutritive particles from passing through. In certain conditions such as celiac disease, the gut becomes too permeable, allowing harmful substances through, a condition called leaky gut.

This study included 40 participants, half with metabolic syndrome, who took a placebo or a gummy providing 890 mg of green tea catechins: equal to about five cups of green tea, per day. The groups switched placebo and green tea after 28 days. Doctors asked everyone to follow a diet low in polyphenols—an anti-inflammatory component in green tea.

During the green tea phases, fasting blood sugar levels fell significantly in healthy participants and those with metabolic syndrome. Lower levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in fecal samples signaled lower levels of gut inflammation. Doctors said lowering blood sugar appears to be related to decreasing leaky gut and gut inflammation.

Reference: Current Developments in Nutrition; 2022, Vol. 6, Supplement 1, 981

Zinc reduces diabetic kidney damage

People with diabetes are more likely to be deficient in zinc, a factor present in kidney disease. This study covered 60 participants, half of whom were healthy, and half with diabetic kidney disease, a condition called diabetic nephropathy (DN). Doctors measured zinc levels and antioxidant activity to discover differences between the groups.

Compared to healthy participants, those with DN had significantly lower levels of zinc and lower levels of a protein that regulates antioxidant activity in the body: nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2). Those with low zinc levels also had higher diastolic blood pressure. Some of those with DN had sufficient levels of zinc, and their condition was less severe than those with DN who had lower levels of zinc.

Reference: Nutrition & Diabetes; 2022, Vol. 12, Article No. 37

Resveratrol improved metabolism factors

In this study, 94 participants, aged 18 to 70, with type 2 diabetes for at least five years, took a placebo or 200 mg of resveratrol per day. All had been taking blood sugar control drugs for at least one year.

After 24 weeks, compared to the start of the study, the resveratrol group saw fasting and long-term average blood sugar levels decline 5.97 and 5.6 percent, respectively. Fasting insulin and insulin resistance levels reduced by 8.59 and 13.93 percent, respectively. In a measure of better kidney filtration function, levels of protein in the urine declined 15.65 percent.

Inflammation and oxidative stress factors also improved for the resveratrol group, including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and malondialdehyde. The improvements in blood sugar and insulin, as well as most inflammatory factors, were even greater compared to placebo.

Reference: Complementary Therapies in Medicine; 2022, Vol. 66, Article No. 102819
(*Note: Resveratrol may have an effect on hormones. Consult your healthcare provider.)

Vitamin B12 complements metformin

Metformin is the first choice of doctors for managing type 2 diabetes, but long-term use increases chances for anemia, with 30 percent of long-term users experiencing poor absorption of vitamin B12, which the body needs to form red blood cells. This review of 17 type 2 diabetes studies included participants aged 49.5 to 80.

In studies of B12 deficiency, 23.16 percent of those on metformin were deficient compared to 17.4 percent of those not on metformin. In studies of length-of-time on metformin, those taking it for four to 10 years were 1.5 times more likely to be deficient in B12 compared to those taking it for less than four years. And those on doses of metformin of 1,000 mg or more were 1.6 times more likely to be deficient in B12 compared to those on lower doses.

Discussing the findings, doctors said those with type 2 diabetes should test for B12 deficiency, even without signs of anemia.

Reference: Cureus; 2022, Vol. 14, No. 12, e32277

Berberine with probiotics lowered lipid levels

Lipid levels after a meal are as important as fasting levels. In this study, doctors measured lipid levels two hours after 365 people with type 2 diabetes ate a standard carbohydrate meal containing simple sugars and starches.

Before the meal, participants took a placebo, 600 mg of berberine alone, 50 billion colony-forming units of a probiotics combination alone, or these two together. There were no changes for placebo, some improvements for berberine or probiotics separately, and best results for the two combined: total cholesterol down by 24.29—and LDL cholesterol by 16.54—mg per deciliter of blood. Gut levels of bifidobacterium also increased. Simple carbohydrates stimulate the liver to produce more triglycerides, which in turn raises levels of LDL.

Reference: Gut Microbes; 2022, Vol. 14, No. 1, Article ID 2003176

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2023 by Natural Insights for Well Being, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Photo by mali maeder

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