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Diabetes–Time to Control the AGE and RAGE Factor

As described in my blog on diabetes, elevated blood sugars are certainly a potentially life-threatening risk factor to your immediate and long term well being. Yet, the story does not end with blood sugars alone. In fact, there is something called AGE (Advanced Glycation End products) that are generated at a more rapid rate when one’s blood sugars are running rich, meaning above the normally accepted lab range.

AGEs occur when there is attachment of sugars onto your body’s proteins or fats, a process known as glycation. This is the same process that is in part measured by HA1c (Glycosylated Hemoglobin), the test your healthcare provider uses to measure your long term blood sugar control.

When a sugar links with a protein molecule in your body, something called cross-linking occurs. This process can be best imagined if you think of toasted bread. When bread is toasted the protein and the carbohydrates in the bread are exposed to heat and turn brown as a result of the chemical reaction that occurs between the proteins and carbohydrates during the toasting process. The same process occurs within your body at 98.6 F over the course of time resulting in AGEs and ultimately RAGE. The accumulation of AGEs damages tissues in your body and perpetuates the ravages of long term diabetes within the 75 trillion cells that make up the human frame.

AGEs also impact other biochemical processes within the body via activation of signal two pathways, one is anti-inflammatory called AGER1 and the other is proinflammatory RAGE. When RAGE is triggered to over express within the body, it fuels inflammation, premature aging and damage to tissues and accelerates cellular destruction.

Ultimately, AGEs and RAGE contribute to heart disease, mental decline, gastrointestinal maladies and joint problems to name a few.

First and foremost, controlling blood sugars as described in my diabetes blog (recently posted) is essential. Also, gaining control of your diet and tracking your blood sugars daily and getting quarterly HA1c (HbA1c) testing is of paramount importance. When it comes to supplements there are many that can be considered, yet a few of my favorite to support a healthy diet include a good multi-vitamin (men’s / women’s), Lipoic acid, chromium and use of a good daily fiber with each meal.

What Everyone Needs to Understand about Diabetes – Part I

Without proper care and control, diabetes accelerates premature aging and increases countless health conditions ranging from cardiac, eye related disease, kidney and nerve issues and decreased circulatory health throughout your body.

Simply put, diabetes is a state of drowning under a surge of blood sugar (glucose) and an overt drought at the same time. How can that be, drowning during a drought? To understand this riddle is to be one step closer to victory.

First, it is important to know that Type II Diabetes, also known as adult onset, is the most common type of diabetes. In the United States it affects approximately 30 million individuals both diagnosed and un-diagnosed. With another 60 million individuals walking around with pre-diabetes (metabolic syndrome) according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). An important note is that even our youth are now getting this form of diabetes too, due to obesity, diet and genetic susceptibility.

How does ‘drowning’ during a ‘drought’ occur? Well, we all know what drowning is. That is when a person takes on too much water and can’t sustain sufficient oxygen to live. In the case of diabetes, the drowning is not from water, it is from sugar. I have had dozens of patients that have come to my practice with blood sugar levels well above 400. Remember, a healthy blood sugar is ideally in the neighborhood of 80-95 generally. So 200+ is a drowning state, where there is so much sugar floating around in the blood stream, it is literally dangerous to all cells of your body.

This danger takes on the form of a destructive process called glycation. We will talk more about that in another blog. So, why is there this flood of sugar that slowly but surely chokes out the vitality and well-being of a person? Well, in order for blood sugar to enter the cells and be used or stored, you have to have sufficient insulin. Yet, for the Type II diabetic that has had higher blood sugars for a period of time, the cells of the body eventually become used to (habituated or resistant to) the daily barrage of poisonous sugar.

It is kind of like having a really loud and annoying next door neighbor; eventually (hopefully) you learn to ignore them. That is kind of what happens in the case of excess blood sugar (glucose) that drowns the cells. Yet, ignoring the sugar, merely causes it to build up in the blood stream, ultimately leading to the classic signs of diabetes:

  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydypsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyphagia (increased hunger/cravings)

So, that is the drowning part of the story. Now the rest of the story! What is a drought? Well, when there is insufficient water for a farmer to grow their crop, that is called drought conditions. Likewise, for your body, insufficient “intra-cellular” (in your cells) sugar is a drought. The drought arises from the lack of the ability of sufficient blood sugar to enter the cells to nourish them.

This is kind of like the story of Peter and the Wolf. Just like the loud neighbor, if there is lots of excess blood sugar, then more often than not, you learn to tune out all the background noise. Thus, when the neighbor starts hollering, let me in, let me in, you figure they are just being extra loud again. Same thing happens with excess blood sugar; it is banging on the walls of your cells, saying “let me in”. It does this via increased insulin, yet the cell is so use to all the insulin (noise) that is does not respond, thus sugar levels are too low (drought) conditions can eventually occur within the cell.

The Bottom Line: If your cells are under-fueled, then you are too. You are your cells and your cells are you! Starting a mild and health appropriate exercise routine is prudent with your doctors okay, eating more fiber, lowering sugar intake, getting your sleep and lessening your stress and weight will generally pay off with BIG HEALTH “”””DIVID” ” ” ” ENDS. Also, some simple supplements like Chromium, B Complex, Vitamin C and Lipoic Acid are considerations to start to discuss with your doctor. When blood sugars are high and have been diagnosed, diabetic medications are routinely prescribed. For individuals on medication, working closely with your doctor to monitor your blood sugars as you introduce natural supplements is important so blood sugar levels do not drop excessively, before your prescription can be lowered, if this indeed happens in your case.

Remember diabetes erodes away your health, so if you know you have high blood sugars, then take charge. If you are not sure, get tested. Also, when there is a family history there is increased risk.

Supporting Your Hormone Levels – Women and Men

When it comes to female hormones, for decades Premarin made from “pregnant mare urine” hence the name “Pre-mar-in” was used. Yet, Premarin is just Estradiol, and there are 3 hormones in the human body: Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol. So, why only use one and what does each of these do for the body? And also very importantly, what can you do to optimize your estrogen metabolism?

For the men who have kept reading this far, don’t stop. The information that follows applies to you directly, and definitely for the women in your life and circle of influence.

ESTRIOL

Lets review each of these estrogens in a little more detail, ESTRIOL is the most abundant of all the estrogens making up approximately 80 percent of the estrogen present in the female body. Men have estriol as well in their body too. Estriol possesses antioxidant properties. Though it does not have the same powerful impact as estradiol on tissues, it is has been proposed to protect breast tissue, has been used in patients with Multiple Sclerosis and has even been used in Europe with some breast cancer patients.

ESTRADIOL

Upheld as the strongest estrogen, it makes up approximately 10 percent of the body’s total estrogen supply. It has powerful effects on tissues in the body, it also has been shown to be necessary for:

  • Health Cholesterol Levels by increasing HDL (good), lowering LDL (bad) and supporting normal total cholesterol.
  • Support Bone Strength
  • Helps support mood via normal serotonin levels
  • Can help mitigate fatigue
  • Delivers antioxidant protection
  • Supports memory and cognitive performance
  • Enhances mineral absorption such as calcium, zinc and magnesium

ESTRONE

In menopause, Estrone levels become predominant. High levels are believed by many researchers and clinicians to be a SIGNIFICANT risk factor for breast cancer. The heavier a person is, the higher the conversion to estrone increasing risk of estrogen driven cancers.

EXCESS TOTAL ESTROGENS – ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

In today’s world, far too many women and men are estrogen dominant. This problem arises from our environment, the world’s obesity epidemic and also herbicides, pesticides, plastic water bottles, parabens in lotions, cosmetics and contamination of our food supply. Further compounding this issue is that we are all so stressed out, and the stress hormone Cortisol is made from progesterone. Progesterone is a VITAL balancer to estrogen. Thus estrogen dominance can be overt or relative, relative estrogen dominance can exist with normal estrogen or slightly elevated levels even and a deficient level of progesterone.

Some of the RISKS of EXCESS ESTROGEN

  • Depression or Irritability
  • Higher risk of uterine cancer
  • Significantly increased weight gain (abdomen, hips, thighs)
  • Fluid Retention
  • Decreased Sleep Quality
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Increased Risk of Auto-immune Disease

Decrease Estrogen Dominance

  • Stop taking excess estrogen
  • Decrease liver and colon elimination of estrogen
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Poor quality diet, increase fiber and reduce animal product intake
  • Reduce exposure to environmental estrogens and xenobiotics
  • Monitor levels of 16-OH Estrone

NATURAL WAYS TO CONTROL ESTROGEN RATIO and BALANCE

It is absolutely essential to control the production of 16-OH Estrone. If it estrone goes towards 2-OH that is fine, if it goes to 16-OH, this is dangerous. You can enhance the good 2-OH-Estrone and help control the production of the bad 16-OH estrone by eating and supplements:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Kale, Bok Choy, etc.)
  • Flaxseed (ground)
  • Non-GMO Soy
  • Botanical called: Kudzu
  • Use of DIM and I-3-C (Indole-3-carbinol)
  • Adequate Fish Oil and other Omega 3 Oils
  • B vitamin Complex
  • Control Obesity

Though this review has huge implications for all women, men also make estrogen and convert it to dangerous forms. The colon and prostate in particular are very susceptible to estrogen impact as well. So women and men alike need to take charge of their hormonal health. I tell my patients, never take estrogen by itself, never take just estradiol with estriol (with rare exception).

Resveratrol Antioxidant is Also for Menopausal Symptoms

There is new research that the use of resveratrol, commonly found in red wine in small amounts, can help lessen menopausal symptoms. But please note that a dosage of 300 mg of trans-resveratrol supplement, is the equivalent to consuming about 50 bottles of red wine. Clearly supplements are a much better option for anyone. My patients frequently take significant amounts of resveratrol supplement along with additional grape seed extract daily.

Why? Well the fact is that most of us do not have sufficient dietary antioxidant intake on a daily basis.

This is motivation enough, as antioxidant protection is essential to protect the 75 trillion cells that comprise your body. The iron you eat, the healthy oils like fish oil or flaxseed oil you use, and even the air you breath, all burden the body with increased free radical production potential. Yet now, we have a new study suggesting the application of resveratrol to lessen hot flashes, night sweats and other miseries that plague women going through peri-menopause and menopause.

I also make equal recommendations for daily intake of resveratrol for my male patients too due to its antioxidant properties and also ability to induce the Sirt-1 guardian gene.

Resveratrol is a powerful tool to support wellness pursuits. Plus, it also provides an extra bonus for some women that are looking to smooth out the hormonal transition associated with menopause.

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Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

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