People may call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes” suggesting that it’s less serious. However, diabetes is a very serious condition and it’s important to understand what causes diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in the world. Abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood can lead to diabetes. and relates to a problem with the release of a hormone, called insulin.
The pancreas produces insulin. Insulin helps the cells absorb glucose which we get from food and later used for energy. Sometimes the body doesn’t produce enough —or any—insulin or the body does not use insulin in the correct way. A disorder known as “insulin resistance”.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Thus, it is important to understand what causes diabetes and how Lipoic Acid has the ability to enhance the effects of insulin and improve the utilisation of glucose.
What Causes Diabetes
The causes of diabetes vary depending on a combination of genetic predispositions such as genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, health and environmental factors.
Type 1 diabetes – occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. Type 1 diabetes can occur in both children and young adults. However, it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
There are no specific causes of diabetes. The following triggers may be involved:
- Viral or bacterial infection.
- Chemical toxins within foods.
- Unidentified component causing an autoimmune reaction.
- Underlying genetic disposition.
Type 2 diabetes – occurs when the body either does not produce enough or utilise insulin well. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people.
A variety of risk factors for type 2 diabetes exists, which may increase the chances of developing the condition. These include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Increasing age
- Bad diet
Gestational diabetes – is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Both mother and child have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future.
Importance of Anti-Oxidants
The Packer institute at the University of California at Berkeley have been studying and researching antioxidants and their effects for about 50 years.
The researchers do in fact suggest that one of the biggest medical facts of the century is the discovery that antioxidants play a far greater role in health maintenance than they ever believed possible.
Lipoic Acid – A Powerful Anti-Oxidant
As previously mentioned, the causes of diabetes vary depending on a combination of genetic predispositions. By ‘gobbling up’ free radicals, antioxidants may prevent the onset of disease by blocking the activation of so-called “bad genes”. An excellent antioxidant, in this case, is Lipoic Acid.
Most genes are normal, however, we may carry a few defective ones. So if one is born with a gene that develops say colon cancer or heart disease, one assumes that one will get that disease. This is simply not the case as lifestyle, diet, exercise and other factors play a part. Free radicals activate bad genes in the DNA. This is why those of us who are exposed to many free radicals, especially smokers, are more likely to develop the disease than the non-smokers. Therefore, the free radicals in cigarette smoke may activate particular genes which may trigger the onset of cancer or heart disease.
By following an antioxidant regimen using Lipoic Acid, we will be practicing a powerful form of preventative medicine.
Lipoic Acid Improves Insulin and Glucose Utilisation
Type 1 diabetics are insulin-dependent. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people. About 85% of all diabetes cases occur in people over the age of 35 years. The possibility of getting Type 2 diabetes increases rapidly as each decade passes with those people over 70, being twenty times more likely to become diabetic than those of us at 50 years old. Diabetes is a serious disease and can cause much damage overtime throughout the body.
Type 1 diabetics would be taking supplemental insulin to keep their bodies functioning properly. In type 2 diabetes there is normally plenty of insulin but, the insulin works less efficiently. A good diet and regular exercise can control Type 2 diabetes. However, healthcare professionals often prescribe medication to lower blood sugar levels.
It is believed that much of the damage caused, is either directly or indirectly related to free radical action. Diabetes is an oxidative stress disease and people with diabetes have significantly lower levels of antioxidants than those without diabetes. Oxygen loves glucose and the bonding of the two generates more free radicals. We cannot live without oxygen or glucose. One produces glucose from food and the resultant ’fuel’ to run the body. However, like oxygen, glucose can be a dangerous friend. In a process called glycation, it creates a sugar-damaged protein called Advanced Glycation End Product, or AGE. It is quite an appropriate acronym since a high number of these damaged proteins can lead to premature aging. Diabetics tend to be more prone to develop ‘age spots’ on their skin as well as premature wrinkles.
Excess glucose needs to be controlled as early as possible. Lipoic Acid is not a cure for diabetes but it has a beneficial effect by preventing some of the problems that can arise.
Lipoic Acid has been used in Germany for more than 35 years to treat peripheral neuropathy caused by nerve damage. This particular nerve damage can weaken muscles and cause a great deal of discomfort. (200mg to 600mg daily)
Lipoic acid reduces the protein damage (AGE) in humans. It is possible that Lipoic Acid which improves the utilisation of glucose by muscle cells may help prevent the onset of type 11 diabetes. I am not suggesting that one should self-medicate with Lipoic Acid as it is a disease that needs to be carefully managed by a skilled Doctor/Physician. However, Lipoic Acid can be incorporated into the treatment of diabetes along with prescribed therapies.
Researchers have further discovered that Lipoic Acid enhances the effects of insulin, benefitting glucose metabolism and lowering blood sugar levels. This reduces the effect of AGE.
Lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant. It improves blood flow in the legs and can help to reduce blood pressure. (250mg to 500mg daily).
Author: Ellis Henen.
Reference: The Antioxidant Miracle, Lester Packer Ph.D., The University of California at Berkeley and Carol Colman.