Turmeric for Diabetes



   How Turmeric Has An Anti-Diabetic Effect On The Body

Many parts of the world have epidemic rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and stroke. Inflammation has been shown to contribute to the development of diabetes and these related conditions. Evidence available in 2011 suggests that certain medicinal plants possess hypoglycemic, or sugar-lowering, properties due to their rich flavonoid components, and have therefore warranted extensive research to uncover the metabolic pathways involved. As always, consult a health care professional before using herbal remedies to treat illness.

Extracts from turmeric may help manage blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes, suggest data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial from China.


Daily supplements of curcuminoids for three months was associated with improved glycemic control in 50 type-2 diabetics, compared to placebo, according to findings published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research .

The potential benefits of the curcuminoids is linked to a reduction in levels of free fatty acids (FFAs), said researchers Harbin Medical University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

FFAs are reported to play a key role in the development of insulin resistance, and therefore decreasing levels of FFAs could help reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

"This is the first study to show that curcuminoids may have an anti-diabetic effect by decreasing serum fatty acid possibly through the promotion of fatty acid oxidation and utilization," wrote researchers from Harbin Medical University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

   Increasing attention

Curcumin, the natural pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color, has increasingly come under the scientific spotlight in recent years, with studies investigating its potential health benefits.

As a result, curcumin has been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, protection against heart failure, diabetes, and arthritis.



Adding curcumin to human cells with the blood cancer multiple myeloma, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and his colleagues found, stopped the cells from replicating. And the cells that were left died.

One of the most comprehensive summaries of a review of 700 turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd. He showed that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.

For the new study, the Chinese researchers used curcuminoids from of turmeric (Curcuma Longa L., Zingiberaceae, from Hebei Food Additive Co., Hebei, China) with a purity of 97.5%. The composition was 36% curcumin, 19% demethoxycurcumin, and 43% bisdemethoxycurcumin.

One hundred overweight/ obese type-2 diabetics were randomly assigned to receive either 300 mg per day of curcuminoids or placebo for three months.

Results showed that the curcuminoid group displayed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels, hemoglobin A1C (a marker of the long-term presence of excess glucose in the blood), and insulin resistance, compared to placebo.

There was also a significant reduction in free fatty acids in the curcuminoid group, said the researchers.

"The dose of curcuminoids administered in our study cannot easily be achieved by simply incorporating more spice into meals. In addition, incorporating more curcuminoids will change the appearance and taste of food, and some people may not like the color or taste of curcuminoids.

"Therefore, we suggest that it is better to take curcuminoids as a supplement," wrote the researchers.

   Diabetes

The study adds to a growing number of studies looking for natural products to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

With the number of people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25 projected to increase to 26 million by 2030, up from about 19 million currently -- or 4 per cent of the total population --approaches to reduce the risk of diabetes are becoming increasing attractive.

The statistics are even more startling in the US, where almost 24 million people live with diabetes, equal to 8 per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $174 billion, with $116 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2005-2007 American Diabetes Association figures.







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Oral sex can cause throat cancer




People who have had more than five oral-sex partners in their lifetime are 250% more likely to have throat cancer than those who do not have oral sex, a new study suggests.

The researchers believe this is because oral sex may transmit human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus implicated in the majority of cervical cancers.

The new findings should encourage people to consistently use condoms during oral sex as this could protect against HPV, the team says. Other experts say that the results provide more reason for men to receive the new HPV vaccine.

Maura Gillison at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, US, and colleagues collected blood and saliva samples from the throats of 100 patients diagnosed with cancers of the tonsils or back of the throat. The scientists also took samples from 200 healthy people for comparison.


By combining the blood and saliva samples with antibody molecules, Gillison's team could tell whether a person had ever had an HPV infection.

   Cancer traps

All of the study participants provided information about their sexual history, including the number of people with whom they had engaged in oral sex.

After controlling for other risk factors for throat cancer, such as drinking and smoking, the analysis revealed that people who had prior infection with HPV were 32 times as likely to have this cancer as those with no evidence of ever having the virus. And those who tested positive for a particularly aggressive strain of the virus, called HPV-16, were 58 times more likely to have throat cancer.


By comparison, either smoking or drinking increases the risk of such cancer by about threefold.

The throat cancers analysed in the new study mostly started in the "crypts" of the throat - the grooves at the base of the tonsils. This might be because the tonsil grooves trap infectious particles, suggests Mark Stoler of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US, who was not involved in the study.

   High risk levels

The study also revealed a link between oral sex and throat cancer caused by HPV. People who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity - and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250% increased risk.



There was an even stronger link between oral sex and throat cancers clearly caused by HPV-16 (those tumours that tested positive for the strain). People with more than five oral sex partners had a 750% increased risk of these HPV-16-caused cancers.

"This study is important because it is putting all of the pieces together," says Gillison. "We need to add oral HPV infection to the list of risks for oral cancer," she adds.

   Virus vaccine

A vaccine against several of the most aggressive strains of HPV linked to cervical cancer received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2006. However the plan to vaccinate adolescent girls with this vaccine developed by Merck, called Gardasil, has received some criticism.


There have been no studies investigating whether the vaccine can also protect against throat cancer, but the new evidence linking HPV to throat cancer could lead to broader vaccination with Gardasil. "We will see a push for vaccination in men," says Stoler, who has been involved in the development of the vaccine.

Tonsil and throat cancers affect about two in every 100,000 adults in the US. The new results could promote the development of spit tests for HPV infection to help identify people at high risk for these cancers, researchers say.

   Model answers

There has been pressure on policy-makers worldwide to introduce the HPV vaccine. But how can they make rational choices about a medical intervention that might do good in the distant future, but might also do harm, with no prospect of an answer for decades? How should parents, doctors or anyone else decide whether it is a good thing to give a young girl the vaccine?



One way forward is to build a mathematical model of the disease and use it to test the benefits of vaccination. Doing so is extremely complex, however. The model has to factor in the natural history of HPV infection, the effect of the vaccine over a lifetime, the effect on other HPV strains, the effect of the vaccine on natural immunity against HPV, the sexual behaviour of the girls and women and their partners, and finally, cervical-cancer screening practices.




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