Have you read the latest headlines? The rate of people with metabolic syndrome — the precursor to diabetes — continues to grow. And the prevalence is increasing in young adults as well. That means the threat of diabetes expands with it. Along for the ride is insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s production of insulin can’t keep up with the demand, so blood sugar levels increase. It’s also a stepping stone to diabetes. This is a dangerous trend that must be reversed. Thankfully, Reliv has made inroads. Blood Sugar 101
● With insulin resistance, your pancreas can’t keep up with the body’s demand for insulin. As a result, excess glucose builds up in the blood stream, which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes.
● Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of factors that come together in one person. These include belly fat (apple shape), low HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar.
● Insulin resistance can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, even if the person does not have type 2 diabetes.
● People with insulin resistance may have an increased risk of stroke.
● Moderate physical activity and maintaining proper weight can help prevent insulin resistance.
● Studies have shown that exercise can improve your insulin sensitivity within just one week of training even without weight loss.
● Just one night of insufficient sleep can reduce insulin sensitivity.
● Losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight prevents or delays diabetes by nearly 60 percent.
Take Steps to Be More ‘Sensitive’
By improving your insulin sensitivity, you may steer your body away from developing type 2 diabetes as well as other serious health issues. The National Institute of Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) clinical trial found that lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet reduced the risk of diabetes by 58 percent. These steps also helped people with elevated blood sugar — not yet type 2 diabetes — return to normal blood sugar levels.
Exercise makes muscle cells more sensitive to insulin so they’re better able to use blood sugar for energy. Combining aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming, with strength training has the most impact on insulin sensitivity. In one study, insulin-resistant adults who did 30 minutes of moderate walking three to seven days a week for six months reversed their insulin resistance. Lose Weight Losing excess body fat is also essential to improving insulin sensitivity. In the DPP trial, participants who lost weight were much less likely to develop diabetes than those who remained at an unhealthy weight.
Choose Your Foods Wisely
Avoiding elevated blood sugar levels after meals can improve your insulin sensitivity. One way to do that is to eat the right kind of carbohydrates. High glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise quickly and require more insulin to control those levels. Examples of high GI foods include unrefined sugars, white bread and fries. Instead, choose low GI carbohydrates with higher fiber such as whole grain breads, brown rice; and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, asparagus and greens.
Nutrients To Better Manage Blood Sugar
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can protect against liver damage and accompanying insulin resistance caused by obesity. These omega acids also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar. In addition, studies show they promote cardiovascular health and maintain optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels — all common challenges for people with elevated blood sugar.
Pycnogenol®, a pinebark extract, is clinically proven to lower high blood glucose levels and improve related symptoms. The Journal of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice reported that Pycnogenol is 190 times more effective than a prescription medicine in slowing the uptake of glucose after a meal.
Another study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Research, showed Pycnogenol simultaneously lowered blood glucose, LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.
New research shows that antioxidants can be an important way to improve insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance have increased levels of oxidative stress. Evidence shows oxidative stress can damage cells and may play a role in developing metabolic syndrome. Antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage and may even repair it. Antioxidants include vitamins E and C, selenium and carotenoids.
The Ups and Downs of Blood Sugar Management
Two years ago, Reliv introduced GlucAffect®, a revolutionary, targeted nutritional supplement created to address the cascade of heath problems caused by metabolic syndrome. The product brings together an unprecedented array of clinically proven ingredients to lower blood sugar and tackle cardiovascular issues.
In an eight-week clinical trial of GlucAffect, participants decreased their fasting blood glucose by 30.4 percent, which returned participants to healthy blood sugar values; their HbA1c (which shows an average of blood sugar levels over time) decreased from 7.59 percent to 6.33 percent, which put them in normal range; and they lost an average of 15 pounds.
Results like these are being duplicated by people around the world. With the rising rates of metabolic syndrome, it’s vital we share GlucAffect and all Reliv products so more people can enjoy good health — and a brighter future.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Reliv Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer