Diabetes Watch

Pharmacy TimesNovember 2009
Volume 75
Issue 11

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Good Fat Not So Bad for Diabetic Women

A small study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2009) suggested that consuming certain types of fat—conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or safflower oil—may help obese women with diabetes shed some body fat. Martha Belury, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues found that supplements containing these 2 types of fats led to healthy changes in body composition over 4 months.

The study included 35 obese women with type 2 diabetes with an average age of 60 who took either 8 g of the safflower oil supplement or 8 g of the CLA supplement every day for 16 weeks; they then switched supplements after a 1-week hiatus.

Women saw a decrease in body mass index (BMI) and in their total level of body fat with the CLA supplement. With the safflower oil supplement, the women’s BMI did not fluctuate, but overall, they lost a couple of pounds of fat from the trunk area. Women also showed improvements in their blood sugar levels, signaling better diabetes control, with the safflower oil.

Diabetes Patients Should Have Fun in the Sun

Can insufficient levels of vitamin D increase the risk of heart disease in patients with diabetes? Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among patients with diabetes. A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of CVD in this population.

For the study, Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, of Washington University of St. Louis, looked at cholesterol-removing cells known as macrophages to determine if these cells in patients with diabetes and low levels of vitamin D get clogged with cholesterol. Thus, macrophages’ signaling pathways are hindered by low levels of vitamin D. The results of the study identified reduced vitamin D receptor signaling as a possible factor in accelerated CVD in diabetic subjects (Circulation, August 2009). Individuals can replenish levels of vitamin D by going outside and letting the sunshine hit the face and hands for 10 to 15 minutes.

Patients with Diabetes May Benefit from Cranberries

The results of a small study recently suggested that patients with type 2 diabetes may benefit from eating sweetened dried cranberries with a reduced sugar and increased fiber content, which may deliver healthier glycemic and insulin responses.

For the study, Ted Wilson and researchers from Winona State University randomly assigned 13 patients with type 2 diabetes to receive either a single serving of white bread, raw cranberries, or sweetened dried cranberries—original, or the low-sugar, high-fiber sweetened cranberries. They found that the low-sugar sweetened dried cranberries were associated with a healthier glycemic and insulinemic response, compared with white bread and the regular sweetened dried cranberries.

The findings were reported earlier this year at the Experimental Biology conference—meeting abstracts were published in the FASEB Journal.

Adult Men Twice as Likely to Have Diabetes as Women

Middle-aged men, between the ages of 35 and 54, are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes, compared with women of the same age. Statistics from the new report, “Diabetes in the UK 2009,” showed that 2.4% (roughly 92,960) of men in England aged 35 to 44 have diabetes, compared with 1.2% (or 47,000) of women of the same age; 6% (197,050) of men aged 45 to 54 have diabetes, versus 3.6% (120,670) of women the same age.

In addition, the incidence of diabetes in men aged 35 to 44 has risen 4 times faster over the last 12 years, compared with women of the same age, and more men are overweight.

Simon O’Neill, director of care, information and advocacy for Diabetes UK, summarized the findings by stating, “It’s very worrying that men of this age are developing diabetes at such an alarming rate, compared with their female counterparts. Most of them will have type 2 diabetes, which is genetic but is also strongly linked to lifestyle and can be prevented in many cases by eating a healthy, balanced diet and doing regular physical activity.” To support O’Neill’s statement, research has shown that losing weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in those at high risk by 58%, and physical activity can reduce the risk by 64%.

FAST FACT: Medical expenditures for diabetes in 2007 totaled $116 billion.

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