Diabetes Socks – Could They Work For You?

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

Another addition to the information last week on preventing and reducing the impact of diabetes is a product that can help with the poor circulation that often accompanies the condition and relieve swollen and painful feet. It could also help anyone who is struggling with heavy, tired legs which as the average person takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps daily which mount up to an amazing 100,000 miles in their lifetime could mean all of us. Also if anyone accuses you of not exercising, try throwing those statistics at them and rejoice in the fact that help is at hand and in the everyday guise of a pair of socks!

Rx Incredisocks are for more than keeping your toes toasty, in this case they are very specifically designed and been proven to increase circulation quickly. This results in an increased blood flow and so gets a greater amount of oxygen to the tissues. You will notice two effects of this: inflammation is reduced, and secondly the oxygen gives the skin tone a healthier colour.

They are a one-of-a-kind medical design with a patented technology and have a thermo-regulating function through a unique infared-emmitting thread which provides the required increase/decrease in temperature in as little as five minutes. Startling technology in itself – and that is all important – but how comfortable are they? With a 200 thread count and their unique 3-D weave design they do provide incredible cushioning for your feet as well as keeping them absolutely dry. That is vital, because did you know that your feet contain about 250,000 sweat glands and release half a pint of moisture daily? Not sure where all that liquid is going, but I am now looking more suspiciously at the suede base of my summer sandals.

If that’s not enough, they also have a natural anti-microbial that kills the odour causing bacteria (smelly summer feet take note) and are made from bamboo charcoal that helps with foot fatigue by releasing negative ions into your body, ensuring your feet never tire.
Well that sounds like something to pack for my next salsa holiday, and as well as benefitting diabetics they have also proved a boon to those who are suffering from circulation problems in their legs.

To find a list of stockists of Incredisocks (diabetic or normal version) near you contact Steve at Vital Life on: 0207 7201441 or email him [email protected]

The Dietary Way to Avoid, or Reverse, Type 2 Diabetes

July 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Diets, Food & Nutrition, Health, Natural Medicine

It is estimated that by 2050 as much of thirty percent of the American population could suffer with diabetes and usually where they lead we in the UK do tend to follow. As new studies show that diabetics also have nearly double the risk of cancer compared to the rest of the population it seems only sensible to be proactive and diet is the first and simplest step on that road.

All of the following have been shown to help prevent diabetes so stock up your larder and add them to your regular shopping list:

• It may seem odd that a sweet substance is on the list, but maple syrup can protect against both diabetes and cancer and contains a newly identified substance called Quebecol, formed when the sap is boiled, and is full of antioxidants.

• Ayurvedic medicine has long suggested the use of spices that offer some protection against diabetes: turmeric, curcumin and fenugreek. All are found in Indian cooking so makek a weekly date with your favourite restaurant or take away.

• The link between obesity and diabetes has been challenged by a recent study involving the Yup’ik people of Alaska where 70% are classified as obese, but only 3.3% of them have diabetes. The key may be in consuming indicates that consuming the type of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, salmon, lake trout, herring, tuna and salmon.

• A 2006 Italian study found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of insulin resistance, but the best comes from raw, unprocessed cocoa without any refined sugars added so minimal processing and maximum cocoa content is the key here with cocoa powder and baking chocolate containing the highest levels of the protective flavonoids.

• Coffee, in moderation, increases blood levels of testosterone and oestrogen. These hormones have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

• Polyphenols, the natural chemicals found in red grape skin and red wine, help the body regulate glucose levels, preventing potentially dangerous plunges and surges in blood sugar levels – same advice as for chocolate – in moderation!

• Phytochemicals – naturally occurring antioxidants – found in blueberries, cranberries and strawberries can also reduce your risk of diabetes, with the added benefit of helping you lose belly fat, according to a 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study.

• Cherries are abundant in natural chemicals called anthocyanins, which increased insulin production in animal pancreatic cells by 50% in laboratory trials. Other sources include strawberries, red grapes and blueberries.

• Red and black beans can help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels so can help prevent diabetes, or minimize its effects if you are already diagnosed.

• Coconut oil has smaller, easily absorbed medium chain molecules that supply the cells with essential fatty acids without glucose and without inhibiting insulin production.

• Almonds and walnuts prevent diabetes by regulating blood glucose, particularly if eaten before a meal as that can help regulate blood sugar levels, and regular consumption did improve insulin levels in a 2009 study.

• Buckwheat helps control blood sugar levels and in an animal trial t heir glucose levels went down by twelve to nineteen percent. Easier to find as Japanese soba noodles in the supermarket.

• Cinnamon provides antioxidants and the powdered bark is also effective against diabetes. It improves blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing your glucose metabolism and has insulin-like effects in the body. Proanthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid found in cinnamon, changes the insulin-signalling activity of your fat cells.

• Tea: Green tea lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and reduces associated complications such as cataracts and cardiovascular disease Black tea contains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose, that may benefit people with diabetes by slowing glucose absorption. A Scottish study found that natural chemicals found in black tea may protect against diabetes by mimicking the effects of insulin in the body.

• Seaweed, in the form wakame, helps promote fat-burning protein and promotes the synthesis in the liver of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), a fatty acid also found in fish oil. It is also said to help prevent prostate cancer, support thyroid function, and assist in blocking the growth of breast cancer tumours.

Some of these changes are easy, others may be harder, but if you vary your diet and expand your culinary horizons you will definitely reap the benefit. Eating out from India to Japan and China won’t be too hard will it?

Got Diabetes? – Eat More Strawberries

Wimbledon may be over, but we are still in the wonderful English strawberry season and now there is a powerful health reason to eat more of them. A recent study from scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies suggests that a strawberry a day could lessen the complications of diabetes. Or more accurately, the fisetin they contain as this naturally-occurring flavonoid is found most abundantly in strawberries.

Fisetin is a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries, and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, and has been found to be able to target multiple organs. This research describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type 1 diabetes model and strongly suggests that a single drug could be used to mitigate numerous medical complications.

Fisetin was originally identified as a neuroprotective flavonoid ten years ago and in plants it act as sunscreen and protects leaves and fruit from insects. The types of fruit and vegetables containing fisetin are found in the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ and contribute to the protective effect of that regime.

The researchers evaluated effects of fisetin supplementation with reference to the serious complications of diabetes such as diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease, retinopathy, and neuropathies in which patients lose touch or heat sensations. Improvements were seen, but remember that to achieve a similar effect you would need to eat 37 strawberries a day so let’s hope they manage to turn the fisetin into a supplement form fairly soon.

Interestingly, the fisetin was also effective in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease so there is certainly more research to be done.

In the meantime what about a strawberry and blueberry smoothie to get the maximum fisetin into your system in a palatable way?

Diet Dangers for Type 2 Diabetics

May 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

Being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, and there are a million diets out there if you are looking to lose a few pounds, or even stones. However, for diabetics the right diet is crucial as it is essential to have the right balance of foods to keep blood sugar levels under control.

The most popular diet advocated generally has been one that is low fat and high carbohydrate based, but many diabetics have struggled to lose weight, and keep it off, on this. More recently there has been a surge of interest in low carbohydrate and high protein diets (Atkins and similar) which have proved highly effective, but have not previously been suggested for diabetics. This has prompted Diabetes UK, the UK’s leading charity for people with diabetes, to state their position as their previous dietary recommendations have focused on the type of carbohydrate in the diet of people with diabetes and they have clarified this to say that the priority for people with Type 2 diabetes wanting to lose weight should be reducing overall energy intake whilst ensuring that the diet still provides all essential nutrients.

Everyone responds differently and what suits one person’s metabolism does not necessarily work for another and so you may need to try a number of different variations in your diet to achieve, and maintain, optimum weight loss. Diabetes UK does not say that low carbohydrate diets are best for all people with Type 2 diabetes, but that it may be suitable for some. Information to date has suggested that low-carbohydrate diets can reduce weight and lead to improvements in blood glucose control but the charity only found convincing evidence that this was effective for up to 1 year. Thus far there is insufficient evidence to support the safety and benefit of low-carbohydrate diets in the longer term.

If you want to lose weight on a low carbohydrate diet, and are diabetic, then you must discuss this with your dietitian so they can alert you the possible side effects of such a diet. If you are on a low carb diet then your blood glucose levels should be closely monitored and medications adjusted where necessary. Carbohydrate foods mainly provide energy for physical activity, so it is sensible to tailor the amount of the foods to how much exercise you do. Few people today get recommended daily minimum amount of physical activity, so it is little wonder that the old advice to eat more starchy foods would lead to weight gain for many.

This is good news for diabetics to try the high protein, low carb diets but remember you do need some carbohydrates – just make sure they are wholegrains and in moderate quantities. The best diet is the simplest; one that is low in saturated fats and salt, and rich in vegetables and fruits and includes wholegrains and oily fish. The two main factors that promote weight gain are having a sedentary lifestyle and eating too much refined carbohydrate from heavily processed foods.
If you want more information on living with diabetes visit www.diabetes.org.uk

Testosterone Replacement Could Decrease Deaths in Men With Type 2 Diabetes

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Healthy Ageing, Mens Health

A new study reported at the Society for Endocrinology by Professor Hugh Jones shows that men with low levels of testosterone may die sooner unless they are given testosterone replacement therapy.

Professor Jones’ team conducted a six year study of 587 men with type 2 diabetes, splitting them into three groups: those with normal and low testosterone levels and those with low testosterone levels treated with testosterone replacement therapy for two years or more during the follow up period.

The findings show for the first time that low testosterone puts diabetic men at a significantly increased risk of death. 36 of the 182 diabetic men with untreated low testosterone died during the six year study, compared to 31 of the 338 men with normal testosterone levels (20% vs 9%). Furthermore, only 5 of the 58 diabetic men that were given testosterone replacement therapy died during the study (8.6%), meaning they showed significantly better survival compared to the non-treated group.

It is well known that men with type 2 diabetes often have low testosterone levels, so it is important that we investigate the health implications of this. We now need to carry out a larger clinical trial to confirm these preliminary findings. If confirmed, then many deaths could be prevented every year.

This is the first study to show testosterone treatment can improve survival in men with type 2 diabetes and testosterone deficiency. Further studies now need to be carried out to fully investigate the potential therapeutic benefit of testosterone replacement in diabetic men with low testosterone but such men might well consider looking at natural testosterone supplements in consultation with their doctor.

The Benefits of Fish Oil in Avoiding Complications of Diabetes

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health

There are 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and it’s estimated that there are a further 850,000 undiagnosed people with the condition. Unfortunately, there are many serious complications associated with diabetes including nerve damage, amputation, blindness or heart disease and new research currently being funded by leading health charity Diabetes UK aims to determine if regular doses of medication derived from fish oil could be used to improve this situation.

Keith McCormick at the University of Southampton is to conduct an 18-month clinical trial on 100 people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to determine whether taking high-doses of purified n-3 long chain fatty acids can improve the function of nerves and small blood vessels in the feet of those with a higher chance of developing the condition.

This will be done by giving them a medication derived from fish oil found in Norwegian sardines (named OMACOR) but whether that is each individual sardine or their family name isn’t quite clear – at least to me. The object of the study is to use the data obtained to improve our knowledge of the link between nerve function and blood vessel damage.

People with diabetes are susceptible to develop serious health complications as previously described and this is as a result of neuropathy where the nerves and small blood vessels become damaged. Sensory neuropathy is the most common form and mainly affects the nerves in the feet and legs. The loss of sensation in these limbs can make people with diabetes vulnerable to foot wounds and these complications can develop even before diabetes is diagnosed.

Apparently those OMACOR sardines have already proved to be extremely successful in the treatment of high triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood, so I sincerely hope there are plenty of such fish in the sea and they don’t fall fall foul of fishing quotas.

This is a valuable area to explore as diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today. It takes approximately 10 per cent of NHS spending, £9 million a year, and neuropathy and blood vessel damage are behind many of the complications of diabetes, which ultimately lead to 100 amputations each week in the UK.

Because Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for up to ten years, 50 per cent of people already have complications, such as neuropathy, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, by the time they’re diagnosed. The research being funded at the University of Southampton therefore has the potential to identify a readily available treatment to prevent some of the serious complications of diabetes and protect those at risk.

If you would like more information on diabetes, then The Diabetes UK Careline offers information and support on any aspect of managing diabetes. The line is a low cost number (0845 120 2960) and opens Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Recorded information on a number of diabetes-related topics is also available on this number 24 hours a day.

Weight Loss and Help For Diabetes – the Fibre Solution

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

Simply increasing the amount of fermentable carbohydrates found in foods such as asparagus, garlic, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes could be used to aid weight loss and prevent Type 2 diabetes according to new research currently being funded by leading health charity Diabetes UK.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 per cent of all those diagnosed with diabetes and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. It’s also estimated that there are up to half a million people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes in the UK, which can remain undetected for 10 years or more. This means that around half of the population who are diagnosed and begin treatment for Type 2 diabetes may already have diabetes-related complications.

Sustained weight loss can delay and even prevent Type 2 diabetes and research in recent years has suggested that certain foods are particularly good at stabilizing blood glucose levels. Fermentable carbohydrates are one such example and, unlike most of our dietary carbohydrates, are fermented by bacteria in the colon rather than absorbed in the small intestine. As a result these carbohydrates cause the release of gut hormones that could reduce appetite and enhance insulin sensitivity, which could lead to improved blood glucose control and weight loss.

The research is being carried out by the Nutrition and Research Group at Imperial College, London, where dietitian Nicola Guess has been awarded a three-year Fellowship to investigate the role fermentable carbohydrates could play in Type 2 diabetes prevention. The carbohydrate will be given to participants as a daily supplement during three periods of investigation, each examining different mechanisms involved in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Risk Factors for Type 2 diabetes

The risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, more than 40 years old, being of Black or South Asian origin and having a family history of the condition. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities. There is also a more specific risk for women who contract diabetes as adults as research has shown that they are more vulnerable to both ovarian and bowel cancer.

If any of those risk factors apply to you, then some simple dietary adjustments could make all the difference and if you would like more help with diabetes information the Diabetes UK Careline (0845 120 2960) offers information and support on any aspect of managing the condition. The line is a low cost number and opens Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or visit www.diabetes.org.uk

All You Need To Know About Diabetes

June 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


With over 2 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and a further 1 million undiagnosed, this is obviously a serious and rising problem. There is a lot of information around about diabetes, indeed I pass on frequent health News about it, but there is a new book that I think will be extremely helpful for patients and their families and carers.

Diabetes – the essential guide has been written by someone who knows all about it as the author, Sue Marshall, was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of five. Now 41, she has lived with this condition for more than 35 years so is well qualified to offer advice and understanding on how to deal with the condition.

It is an extremely practical book, containing information about symptoms, diagnosis, types of diabetes and blood testing. It offers information on the types of medication available, and practical advice on how to manage the condition. Special sections on dealing with travelling, being away from home, pregnancy, and children with diabetes are well handled and looked at in detail.

As I found with my own stress book, what people need when dealing with any medical condition is clear, concise and easy to access information — no waffle and no padding. This book certainly delivers that and once you have read through the book and got some understanding about how your diet affects your blood sugar and what you can actually do to handle it successfully you have a practical plan to follow.

Diabetes – the essential guide costs £8.99 from bookshops or direct from the publisher’s website at need2knowbooks.co.uk and Sue Marshall has her own webbsite where she gives information on diabetes health care and related products. You will find it at www.desang.net


Diabetes Help from the Baby Jackfruit

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health


The figures for diabetes in the UK are worrying, and increasing. There are currently 2.3 million people diagnosed with diabetes and more than 500,000 believed to have the condition but aren’t aware of it. Within 15 year, at the current rate of increase, it is thought that there will be an additional 1.3 million people with the condition which is the equivalent of a 46% increase.

Like many conditions, diabetes can be helped by a dressing diet and lifestyle. One new element on the horizon is the Baby Jackfruit – an unusual and interesting red skinned fruit from Asia which has been seen to have potential health benefits for diabetes sufferers.

Baby Jackfruit, is known as the ‘fruit from heaven’, and is used for food and medicinal purposes across Southeast Asia. It is hardly ever seen in Europe because it fruits only once a year and so is found mainly in local markets at the right time of year.

Recent studies have shown that Baby Jackfruit has been found to be very high in a molecule called beta-carotene, which is a vegetable form of Vitamin A and it is thought that many diabetics suffer from a lack of this nutrient due to poor diets. There are a number of studies that indicate vitamin A may be beneficial for those suffering with diabetes and a clinical trial on 52 healthy volunteers showed that there is a distinct relationship between the amount of Vitamin A you have in your body and the speed at which the body can dispose of glucose. This could potentially be valuable for type 2 diabetes sufferers as it is the inability to break down glucose, and hence its high levels in the blood, that can cause health problems.

Jackfruit contains by far the highest content of beta-carotene of any known fruit or vegetable, 10 times higher than carrots for example and research has confirmed that the beta-carotene (Vitamin A) it contains is highly bioavailable to humans. In a double-blind study, based on 185 subjects, people were either given 3.5mg of beta-carotene from Baby Jackfruit, or an identical looking preparation of 5mgof beta-carotene powder. After 30 days, the former group, eating natural beta-carotene from the Baby Jackfruit, had significantly greater plasma (blood) levels of beta-carotene than the latter, who used synthetic beta-carotene.

Another benefit of eating vegetables rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene found in Baby Jackfruit, is that they are thought to help protect against raised blood glucose levels and may well be a preventative factor in hyperglycemia. This benefit of the metabolism of glucose from eating carotenoids from fruit and vegetables has also been shown in men at high risk of type 2 diabetes, and so may well help in the disease developing in the first place.

You may well struggle to find it in your local supermarket, though if you have a good Asian market you may be lucky enough to find it there. If you are interested in trying it, then a supplement is probably going to be your best bet. If your local health store can’t help you, then the first one available in the UK can be obtained at www.drinkherbaltea.co.uk as capsules that contain baby jackfruit oil that is naturally extracted.

Low Vegetable Intake During Pregnancy Can Increase Baby’s Diabetes Risk by 70%

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


Diabetes UK estimate that seven million people in the UK are at risk of developing diabetes, which can lead to other significant health problems by affecting the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and heart. It can lead to greater susceptibility to strokes and cause blood clots in the vessels in the legs which may result in amputation. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the working population as it can affect the blood vessels at the back of the eye [retinopathy] and this can lead to visual impairment or blindness.

With this in mind, it makes sense to start early prevention and new research published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes undertaken by the University of Gothenburg and Linkoping University in Sweden offers some hope for that. It seems that women who eat more vegetables while pregnant significantly reduce their children’s risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that develops when the immune system produces antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Researchers tested the blood of 6,000 five-year-old children for these antibodies, and compared the results to their mothers’ self-reported vegetable intakes (excluding root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots) during their pregnancy. They found children whose mothers had eaten vegetables only three to five times a week while pregnant were 70 percent more likely to have elevated antibody levels than children whose mothers ate vegetables every day. In this study the most frequently consumed vegetables were tomatoes, cabbage, onions, lettuce and cucumbers.

The researchers found that this positive effect remained after researchers adjusted for other Type 1 diabetes risk factors, such as mother’s education level. The reason lies yet again with those vital flavonoids in fruit and vegetables as these powerful antioxidants have previously been suggested to be potentially therapeutic agents for Type 1 diabetes. Vegetables also containing vitamin C and vitamin E have also been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

If you are pregnant, or planning to start a family, or know someone who is then it would be a good deed to encourage them to up their fruit and vegetable intake not only for their own wellbeing but for the long term health of their baby.

For more information on diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.org.uk

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