Friday, February 17, 2017

LB17/Fermented Food helps with digestion, immune, blood circulation and skin healing especially sores.

LB17/Fermented Food helps with digestion, immune, blood circulation and skin healing especially sores.

What is LB17/Fermented Foods: 

Fermented Food (previously LB17) is produced from over 70 natural and organic ingredients such as: 


Kombu, Fucus, brown algae, Hibamata from Norway


Shiitake, Maitake, Agaricus brazei murill


Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Komatsuna, Mugwort, young leaves of Barley

medicinal herbs

Nihon-yama-ninjin or Japanese ginseng

grains and cereals

soya bean, unpolished rice

cultivated and wild fruits

apples, oranges, berries, lemon, persimon, guomi, akebi, Chinese matrimony

lactic acid or good bacteria is added to begin the stimulate and begin the fermentation process

The above ingredients are allowed to ferment naturally for a period of 3 years. Due to the way that the fermented food is exposed to extremes in temperature (summer and winter) during the fermentation process, any good bacteria present is potent, resilient and able to stay alive for up to 3 years at room temperature without the need for refrigeration. Any bacteria is live and viable and does not need to be revived, better than most other probiotics particularly those that are"freeze dried"!

Prior to encapsulation with a vegetable gel cap, Perilla oil (high in Omega 3 EFA) is added to provide Omega EFA (essential fatty acids). Fermented Food does not contain any preservatives, additives, colouring, or artificial flavouring.

Fermented Food is suitable for vegans as well as the "raw foods practitioner". It is very useful to the lactose intolerant and milk protein (caesin) sensitive individuals. The bacteria that may be present helps to break down all nutrients consumed into smaller molecules so that they can be better absorbed by the body.

The concentrate in each vegetable softgel capsule of Fermented Food may contain bacteria, digestive enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

How can it help with digestion: 

There are many benefits to incorporating fermented food/LB17 into the way you supplementation. In the recent months, more and more attention has been given to the importance of the micro-biome: that is, the colonies of trillions of bacteria we carry around in our guts that control myriad processes within the body. 

Fermented foods introduce additional beneficial flora to the body, which helps bolster our existing colonies. In particular, eating a variety of fermented foods improves the variety of flora living in your gut, which further bolsters gut health. Also, because fermented foods are powerful chelators, which means they draw toxins out of the system, they help detoxify and remove waste more efficiently.

Why a Healthy Microbiome is Important

A healthy microbiome, supported in part by fermented foods, has been shown to improve not only mood, immunity and metabolism, but digestion, too. The bacteria present in fermented foods provide helpful enzymes – which support digestion – in addition to doing a little of the work for us. Foods that have been cultured arrive to us slightly broken down: less work for the GI tract means easier digestion.

Considering so many people report having digestive issues, foods that help support better digestion – no pills, no surgery, no complicated elimination procedure – could be a pretty delicious revelation.
If you struggle with slow digestion, whether from a diet high in raw foods, low energy, medication or just a stubbornly slow GI tract, fermented foods might be a simple addition that could make a big difference. 

How can it help with immune: 

 Three recent studies highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy gut to avoid disease and optimize your health. The first, published in the journal Cell, shows that "host-specific microbiota appears to be critical for a healthy immune system.

According to Medical News Today:

"Human microbe-colonized mice have gut immune systems that look essentially identical to germ-free mice," said Dennis Kasper of Harvard Medical School. "Even though they have the same number and diversity of bacteria, their immune systems don't develop properly.

... The results might have implications for understanding the health consequences of our shifting diets, our excessive use of antibiotics, and our modern-day obsession with showers and antibacterial household cleansers, the researchers say.

"Because the intestinal microbiota can regulate immune responses outside the gut, the absence of the 'right' gut microbes may conceivably shift the balance toward disease in individuals genetically predisposed to autoimmune diseases," they write, noting that our relationship with our gut microbiome today may be threatened by a combination of heavily processed foods, frequent treatment with antibiotics, and advances in hygiene.

... Although modern medicine and technology may offer alternative ways to fight disease, Kasper says, "the current prevalence of autoimmune diseases - such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease - may be, at least in part, the consequence of the increasing vulnerability of the coevolved human-microbe relationship."

You've probably heard that about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, and the next study underscores this fact. It also provides yet another clue as to the kind of constant pressure your gut bacteria is under to keep your immune system humming. 

The study, featured in Genome Research, looked at a common set of viruses linked to gut bacteria in humans. These viruses, which feed off bacteria, are called phages, and they pose a constant threat to the health of the bacterial community living in your gut. 

Phages can actually outnumber bacteria 10 to 1, which in itself is a testament to the power of your beneficial gut bacteria (and by extension your immune system) to keep disease at bay. But it also helps explain why just a few days of careless eating can sometimes make you feel a bit listless, or why chronic poor health is at such epidemic levels. 

Between chemical assaults, inadequate nutrition, excessive sugar consumption and an overabundance of natural viral "co-hosts," your microflora has one heck of a job to maintain order and balance... And as soon as that balance is thrown off kilter, it will begin to reflect in your immune function.

How can it help with blood circulation: 

Most people know that fermented foods can help to support healthy digestion, but few people realize that they can also boost immunity, reduce IBS symptoms, and even support circulation and healthy blood pressure. 

Fermented foods improve pancreatic function; the lactic acid-fermented foods are already broken down or pre-digested, so it is easy on the pancreas. 

Traditional fermented foods will help lower glucose levels by slowing down the speed with which the stomach empties.

In one study, the glycemic index of sourdough bread, which is fermented grain bread, turned out to be 68 on the glycemic index, while non-sourdough bread is 100 – on the glycemic index table.

More recently, German scientists were working with a strain of lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough bread, and found it to be more effective in killing microbes, which were resistant to most antibiotics.

Early civilizations knew that to preserve food – fermentation was a necessity. Today, we know that the concept of using naturally occurring good bacteria will help eliminate harmful types. This is why we find a diet that includes fermented foods helps eliminate candida; lowers the risk of certain cancers, and supports overall health.

How can it help with skin healing:

How altered gut function impacts the skin

Intestinal permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”) causes both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin disease. In a study way back in 1916, acne patients were more likely to show enhanced reactivity to bacterial strains isolated from stool. 66 percent of the 57 patients with acne in the study showed positive reactivity to stool-isolated bacteria compared to none of the control patients without active skin disease. In a more recent study involving 80 patients, those with acne had higher levels of and reactivity to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins in the blood. None of the matched healthy controls reacted to the e. coli LPS, while 65% of the acne patients had a positive reaction. Both of these studies suggest that increased intestinal permeability is an issue for a significant number of acne patients. 

Speaking of permeable barriers: most of you have heard of leaky gut by now, but what about “leaky skin”? The main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defense system. Studies have shown that both stress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier. This in turn leads to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin. 

The gut flora also influences the skin. Substance P is a neuropeptide produced in the gut, brain and skin that plays a major role in skin conditions. Altered gut microbiota promotes the release of substance P in both the gut and the skin, and probiotics can attenuate this response. The gut microbiota influences lipids and tissue fatty acid profiles, and may influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum. This may explain why a Russian study found that 54% of acne patients have significant alterations to the gut flora, and a Chinese study involving patients with seborrheic dermatitis also noted disruptions in the normal gut flora. 

Fermented Foods improve skin conditions

Another line of evidence suggesting a connection between the gut and skin is the observation that fermented foods improve skin conditions. Fermented foods have been shown to decrease lipopolysaccharide, improve intestinal barrier function and reduce inflammation. The first formal case report series on the value of using lactobacilli to treat skin conditions was published in 1961 by a physician named Robert Siver. He followed 300 patients who were given a commercially available probiotic and found that 80 percent of those with acne had some clinical improvement. In a more recent Italian study involving 40 patients, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum in addition to standard care led to better clinical outcomes than standard care alone. And another recent study of 56 patients with acne showed that the consumption of a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage improved clinical aspects of acne over a 12-week period.

The beneficial effect of probioitics on skin may explain why pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne, but fermented dairy is not. I haven’t seen any studies on raw dairy and skin conditions, but my guess is that it wouldn’t be associated either. Orally consumed fermented foods reduce systemic markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are elevated locally in those with acne. Fermented Foods can also regulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines within the skin. The fermentation of dairy reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) by more than four-fold. This is significant because studies show that acne is driven by IGF-1, and IGF-1 can be absorbed across colonic tissue. This would be particularly problematic when increased intestinal permeability is present, which as I mentioned above is often the case in people with acne. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017


What is diabetic ketoacidosis?

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by dangerously high blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar levels become high because your body does not have enough insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. The lack of insulin forces your body to use fat instead of sugar for energy. As fats are broken down, they leave chemicals called ketones that build up in your blood. Ketones are dangerous at high levels.

What increases my risk for diabetic ketoacidosis?

  • Not enough insulin
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Infection or other illness
  • Heart attack, stroke, trauma, or surgery
  • Certain medicines such as steroids or blood pressure medicines
  • Illegal drugs such as cocaine
  • Emotional stress
  • Pregnancy

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis?

  • More thirst and more frequent urination than usual
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth, eyes, and skin, or your face is red and warm
  • Fast, deep breathing, and a faster heartbeat than normal for you
  • Weak, tired, and confused
  • Fruity, sweet breath
  • Mood changes and irritability

How is diabetic ketoacidosis treated?

Diabetic ketacidosis can be life-threatening. You must get immediate medical attention. The goal of treatment is to replace lost body fluids, and to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.

How can I help prevent diabetic ketoacidosis?

The best way to prevent ketacidosis is to control your diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on how to manage your diabetes. The following may help decrease your risk for ketacidosis:
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels closely if you have an infection, are stressed, sick, or experience trauma. Check your blood sugar levels often. You may need to check at least 3 times each day. If your blood sugar level is too high, give yourself insulin as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Manage your sick days. When you are sick, you may not eat as much as you normally would. You may need to change the amount of insulin you give yourself. You may need to check your blood sugar level more often than usual. Make a plan with your healthcare provider about how to manage your diabetes when you are sick.
  • Check your ketones as directed. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about when you should check your blood or urine for ketones. Your healthcare provider may give you a machine to check your blood ketones. Urine ketones can be checked with sticks you dip in your urine. Do not exercise if you have ketones in your urine or blood.
  • Know how to treat ketacidosis. If you have signs of ketacidosis,  drink more liquids that do not contain sugar, such as water. Take your insulin as directed by your healthcare provider and go to the nearest emergency room.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Diabetic Neuropathy

Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes diabetic neuropathy, although they have some clues. The biggest clue is that diabetic neuropathy is influenced by blood glucose levels and control.

In 1993, a major study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine that showed that controlling blood glucose levels can help prevent diabetes complications, such as neuropathy. That study very conclusively showed intensive insulin therapy to control blood glucose levels led to lower rates of diabetes complications; this was a long-term study done over the span of nearly seven years1.However, researchers don’t entirely understand how elevated blood glucose levels affect the nerves; they just know that there seems to be a connection between poor glucose control and the development of diabetic neuropathy.

It’s possible that elevated blood glucose levels damage the tiny blood vessels that lead to the nerves. If the blood vessels are damaged, they don’t bring oxygen and nutrients to the nerves as they should, which eventually can cause nerve damage.There are some other factors that may lead to the development of diabetic neuropathy:

  • Age: Diabetic neuropathy takes time to develop, so it’s much more common in older people who have had diabetes for 25 years or more.
  • Lifestyle choices: It seems that alcohol and smoking make the symptoms of neuropathy worse.
  • Nerve injury: Whether your nerves have been damaged through inflammation or through a mechanical injury (such as nerve compression associated with carpal tunnel syndrome), it’s possible the previously-damaged nerves are more susceptible to developing diabetic neuropathy.
However the nerves get damaged, the end result is the same: they aren’t able to convey messages as well as they should to the brain, and they lose their ability to help you feel and move.To diagnose diabetic neuropathy (also called diabetic nerve pain), your doctor will run through several exams and tests. These will all be used to help the doctor understand what nerves have been damaged and how extensive that damage is.


Your doctor will review your symptoms with you; this is the first step in trying to figure what kind of nerve damage you may have.The different types of diabetic neuropathy affect different nerves, so you should be very specific when describing your pain or other symptoms.

Physical and Neurological Exams

During a physical exam, the doctor looks at your general physical condition. He or she will examine how well you can move. The doctor will also be looking for tender, sore, or painful areas. The physical exam allows the doctor to assess how your body is doing right now, so he or she will also check blood pressure, heart rate, and other basic health details.

As part of the physical exam, your doctor should thoroughly examine your feet, particularly if you have symptoms that line up with peripheral diabetic neuropathy. (In fact, people with diabetes should have regular foot exams to monitor foot health.)

Since diabetic neuropathy involves the nerves, the neurological exam is a crucial part of the diagnosis. This is where he/she may test your “sensations”—how well you’re able to feel certain stimuli—which is especially important in diagnosing peripheral diabetic neuropathy.Different nerves are in charge of transmitting different sensory messages, such as temperature, touch, and vibration. Damaged nerves can’t transmit messages as well as they should, so these tests can be very helpful in narrowing down which nerves are affected.

Some possible sensation tests are:

  • Temperature: The doctor will hold a very hot or very cold object near your skin to test how well you can feel temperature.
  • Touch: He or she may actually prick you with a pin to see how well your touch nerve fibers are working. These are the fibers that not only tell you when you’ve come into contact with something, but they also tell you when you’ve been hurt (e.g., developed a sore or blister, or stepped on a shard of glass).
  • There is another way to test the touch nerves. The doctor may use a bendable nylon filament to test how much pressure you can feel. There are different-sized filaments that require different amounts of pressure to bend. By pushing a filament against the skin—on the foot, say—the doctor can measure how much force you can feel.
  • If you can feel a thin filament, then you can feel anything that touches your skin. If you can’t feel when a thicker filament is pushed against your skin, you probably have some degree of nerve damage.
  • Vibration: Using a tuning fork, the doctor will test how well you can feel vibrations. The vibration nerves are important for balance.

Diagnostic Tests

The doctor may need to do some simple diagnostic tests to check how well the nerves are conveying messages. Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) is how fast nerve impulses travel, and it’s possible to measure that. Sometimes, noticing a slower NCV is the first sign of diabetic neuropathy because if nerves are damaged, they don’t convey messages as quickly.

Many conditions other than diabetes can cause neuropathy. Because other causes may need to be treated differently than diabetic neuropathy, it is important to do nerve testing in order to know for sure what type(s) of nerve pain you have.

An NCV test is done using electrodes that are patched onto the skin. These are placed along a nerve pathway—one at the top of the leg and one further down, for example. A tiny electrical current stimulates the nerve at one electrode, and then the second electrode captures the signal as it passes down the nerve. The test measures how long it took the signal to travel down the nerve.

An electromyography (EMG) test is often done in conjunction with an NCV test. It shows how well muscles are receiving signals from the nerves. Damaged nerves won’t send clear or consistent messages.

The EMG test uses very thin needles placed into the muscle(s) the doctor wants to test. Those needles are electrodes that measure activity. You’ll have to contract your muscles, and then that activity will be measured. If the muscle isn’t receiving good signals from the nerves, then that should show up on the EMG.

Other Possible Tests

Your doctor may run other tests not listed here—based on your specific symptoms and the type of diabetic nerve pain he or she thinks you have.
All tests will help the doctor pinpoint what kind of nerve damage you have, how it’s affecting your body, and how it can best be treated.

The best way to treat diabetic neuropathy (also called diabetic nerve pain) is to keep tight control on your blood glucose levels. This is, in fact, the only way to slow the progression of nerve damage. Out-of-control blood glucose levels cause diabetic neuropathy, so it makes sense that keeping your blood glucose in an acceptable range can help you avoid nerve damage or stop it from getting worse.

You are familiar with the drill of how to control your blood glucose: eat right, exercise, take your diabetes medication, and monitor your blood sugar (blood glucose) levels throughout the day.

Eat Right 

Your doctor and/or diabetes educator will help you figure out a healthy diet that works for you-one that makes it easier to control your blood glucose and keep your hemoglobin A1c in the correct range. (To learn more about the hemoglobin A1c level—sometimes called the glycosylated hemoglobin or glycol hgb—please see below. With full awareness of the carbohydrates, fat, and protein in your diet, you'll be better able to avoid severe swings from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia. You'll also be able to better maintain a healthy weight.


Exercise can lower your blood glucose level, and it should make it easier to control it. In fact, exercise increases your insulin sensitivity: after you exercise, you don’t need as much insulin to help process carbohydrates.
Additionally, there are all the traditional benefits of exercise:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better heart health
  • Better control of weight
  • Leaner, stronger muscles
  • More energy
Diabetes Medication—Including Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that’s normally produced by the body, but for people with diabetes, it’s either not working as it should (the case in type 2 diabetes) or the body has stopped making it (type 1 diabetes).
People with diabetes may need to take insulin to keep their blood glucose levels in a healthy range—important for preventing diabetic neuropathy.

Insulin helps your body use glucose appropriately. You can read all about the role of insulin in this article that explains how insulin helps control the blood glucose level.

Insulin is absolutely vital for patients with type 1 diabetes; some people with type 2 diabetes can effectively control their blood glucose levels without it by taking medicine that either increases the body’s ability to make insulin or the effectiveness of insulin. Because diabetes is a progressive disease, it’s common for people with type 2 diabetes to need to add medicines over time to keep glucose levels in check.

Blood Glucose Monitoring

You have to watch your blood glucose levels throughout the day in order to know how much insulin you should be taking. At the very least, you should check your blood glucose level four times a day: before each meal and before bedtime.

Keeping tabs on your blood glucose helps you know if you need to readjust insulin or your meals in order to keep your level in a healthy range.

Another important part of blood glucose monitoring is the hemoglobin A1c test, which will give you an idea of your average blood glucose levels over the past three months. The daily monitoring helps you adjust on a moment-to-moment basis; the hemoglobin A1c test lets you know how well you’re doing overall.

For people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy—nerve damage caused by diabetes—taking good care of their feet is very important. The nerves most often affected by peripheral neuropathy are the ones leading to the feet, and this type of nerve damage can cause people to lose feeling in their feet.
This lack of sensation can cause extreme problems. For example, someone with diabetic peripheral neuropathy might develop a blister on the bottom of their foot. People without nerve damage would be able to feel that and take care of it properly.

However, if someone has lost sensation in the feet, they wouldn’t be able to feel the blister. It may eventually rub off and then become infected. Left untreated, that infection may spread to the bones, and then it may become necessary to amputate the foot in order to keep the infection from spreading.
It’s possible to avoid that scenario entirely—just by taking good care of your feet. For starters, make sure your doctor gives you a thorough foot examination at every appointment. In between appointments, you should check your own feet every day.

Here’s what you can do to take good care of your feet:

  • Clean your feet every day.
  • As you’re drying the feet (with a soft towel), check for redness, swelling, blisters, etc. Be sure to look between your toes. If you notice anything, report it to your doctor. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror.
  • Moisturize your feet with a good lotion. Be careful to not get any of the lotion in between your toes because it could actually cause an infection.
  • Keep your toenails at a good length; this should help you avoid ingrown toenails.
  • Wear shoes that fit well. It’s especially important that your toes are able to move and wiggle around, so look for shoes with a good-sized toe box.
  • To avoid injuring your feet, always wear shoes or slippers. You don’t want to step on something—a small pebble, for instance—and injure your foot. You may not feel or notice that small injury, and it could grow into a bigger problem.
  • Before you put on your shoes, make sure there isn’t anything in your shoe that could irritate your foot—a small pebble, for instance.
In taking good care of your feet, you’re being proactive in preventing severe complications from diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Skin and Eye Complications from Diabetes

Common skin conditions for people with type 2 diabetes

People with  diabetes are at an increased risk of developing skin problems, or from complications of skin problems that have not been spotted soon enough, often because of reduced skin sensation.

Most  skin conditions can be prevented and successfully treated if caught early. However, if not cared for properly, a minor skin condition in a person with diabetes can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences.

Skin conditions linked to diabetes

  • Scleroderma diabeticorum: This condition causes a thickening of the skin on the back of the neck and upper back. This condition is rare but can affect people with  type 2 diabetes. The treatment involves bringing your  blood glucose level under control. Lotions and moisturisers may help soften the skin.
  • Diabetic dermopathy: Also called shin spots, this condition develops as a result of changes to the  blood vessels that supply the skin. Dermopathy appears as a shiny round or oval lesion of thin skin over the front lower parts of the lower legs. The patches do not hurt, although rarely they can be itchy or cause burning. Treatment is usually not necessary.
  • Diabetic blisters (bullosis diabeticorum): In rare cases, people with diabetes develop  blisters that resemble burn blisters. These blisters can occur on the fingers, hands,  toes,  feet, legs or forearms. Diabetic blisters are usually painless and heal on their own. They often occur in people who have severe diabetes and  diabetic neuropathy. Bringing your blood glucose level under control is the treatment for this condition.
  • Disseminated  granuloma annulare: This condition causes sharply defined, ring or arc-shaped areas on the skin. These  rashes most often occur on the fingers and  ears, but they can occur on the chest and  abdomen. The rash can be red, red-brown or skin coloured. Treatment is usually not required, but sometimes a topical steroid  medication, such as  hydrocortisone, may help.

Itching and infections

  • Bacterial infections: There are different kinds of bacterial infections affecting the skin. Skin infections with the bacteria known as Staphylococcus are more common and more serious in people with diabetes which is not under control. These bacteria can result in a "boil", an inflamed nodule from a  hair follicle, which can occur in areas where  hair follicles can be irritated. Other infections include styes, which are infections of the glands of the eyelids, and bacterial nail infections. Most bacterial infections require treatment with  antibiotics in the form of pills and/or creams.
  • Fungal infections: A yeast-like fungus called "Candida albicans" is responsible for many of the fungal infections affecting people with diabetes. Other commonly seen areas of infection include the corners of the  mouth with what is known as "angular cheilitis", which feels like small cuts on the corners of the  mouth. Fungus also can occur between the  toes and fingers and in the  nails ( onychomycosis). This fungus creates itchy, bright red rashes, often surrounded by tiny blisters and scales. These infections most often occur in warm, moist folds of the skin. Three common fungal infections are: jock itch (red, itchy area in the groin, on the genitals and the inside of the thighs),  athlete's foot (affects the skin between the toes), and  ringworm (ring-shaped, scaly patches that can itch or blister and appear on the feet, groin, chest and abdomen, scalp or  nails). Medicines that kill the fungus are usually needed to treat these infections. A potentially fatal fungal infection with Mucormycosis is seen in people with diabetes. The infection usually starts in the nasal  cavities and can spread to the eyes and  brain.
  • Itching: Itching skin, also called  pruritus, can have many causes, such as a  yeast infection, dry skin or poor blood flow. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, the lower legs and feet are most often affected. Using lotion can help to keep your skin soft and moist, and prevent itching due to dry skin.

Diabetes eye problems

If you have  diabetes, regular  eye examinations are important to detect and treat  eye problems. These should be arranged by your  diabetes health team as part of regular tests and screening.

High blood sugar (glucose) increases the risk of diabetes eye problems. In fact,  diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 20 to 74.
Blurred vision can be a symptom of more serious  eye problems with diabetes. The three major  eye problems that people with diabetes may develop and should be aware of are  cataracts,  glaucoma, and retinopathy.

Cataracts and diabetes

A cataract is a clouding or fogging of the normally clear lens of the eye. The lens is what allows us to see and focus on an image just like a camera. Although anyone can get  cataracts, people with diabetes get these eye problems at an earlier age than most and the condition progresses more rapidly than in people without diabetes.
If you have a cataract with diabetes, your eye cannot focus light and your  vision is impaired. The symptoms of this eye problem in diabetes include blurred or glaring vision.
The treatment for cataracts is usually surgery to extract the lens, followed by insertion of a lens implant, with glasses or  contact lenses as needed to further correct  vision.

Glaucoma and diabetes

When fluid inside the eye does not drain away properly, a build-up of pressure inside the eye can lead to a condition called glaucoma. The pressure damages nerves and the vessels in the eye, causing changes in vision.
In the most common form of glaucoma, there may be no symptoms of this eye problem at all until the disease is very advanced and there is significant vision loss. In the less common form of this eye problem, symptoms can include  headaches, eye aches or  pain, blurred vision, watering eyes, halos round lights and loss of vision.
Treatment of this eye problem in diabetes can include special  eye drops, laser procedures, medication or surgery. You can prevent serious eye problems in diabetes by getting an annual glaucoma screening from your  optometrist.

Diabetic retinopathy

The retina contains a group of specialised cells that convert light as it enters though the lens into visual signals. The eye nerve or optic nerve transmits visual information to the  brain.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the vascular ( blood-vessel related) complications related to diabetes. This diabetes eye problem is due to damage of small vessels and is called a "microvascular complication."  Kidney disease and  nerve damage due to diabetes are also microvascular complications. Large blood vessel damage (also called macrovascular complications) includes complications like  heart disease and  stroke.
The microvascular complications have, in numerous studies, been shown to be related to high  blood sugar levels. You can reduce your risk of these eye-related diabetes complications by improving your  blood sugar control.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in industrialised nations. The duration of diabetes is the single most important risk for developing retinopathy. So the longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of this very serious eye problem. If retinopathy is not found early or is not treated, it can lead to blindness.
People with  type 1 diabetes rarely develop retinopathy before puberty. In adults with type 1 diabetes, it is also rare to see retinopathy before five years' duration of diabetes. The risks of retinal damage increase with progressive duration of diabetes. Intensive control of blood sugar levels will reduce your risks of developing retinopathy. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, a large study of people with type 1 diabetes, showed that people with diabetes who achieved tight control of their blood sugars with either an  insulin pump or multiple daily injections of insulin were 50%-75% less likely to develop retinopathy, nephropathy (kidney disease), or nerve damage (all microvascular complications).
People with  type 2 diabetes often have signs of eye problems when diabetes is diagnosed. In this case, control of blood sugar,  blood pressure, and blood cholesterol have an important role in slowing the progression of retinopathy and other eye problems.
Types of retinopathy in diabetes:
  • Background retinopathy. Sometimes the blood vessel damage exists, but there is no vision problem. This is called background retinopathy. It's important to carefully manage your diabetes at this stage to prevent background retinopathy from progressing to more serious eye disease.
  • Maculopathy. In maculopathy, the person has developed damage in a critical area called the macula. Because this occurs in an area that is critical to vision, this type of eye problem can significantly reduce vision.
  • Proliferative retinopathy. New blood vessels start to grow in the back of the eye. Because retinopathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes, a disease of small vessels, this type of retinopathy develops because of an increasing lack of oxygen to the eye from  vascular disease. Vessels in the eye are thinned and occluded and they start to remodel.
Here, it is important to address the risks factors that can worsen the occluded vessels.  Smoking cessation,  high blood pressure control,  cholesterol management, and blood sugar control must take place in order to stop the damage to blood vessels and progression of new vessels from growing into the eye. These are fragile vessels that can bleed and eventually cause a clot to form in the retina, which scars and may cause detachment of the retina. This can eventually lead to irreversible vision loss.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy may involve laser procedures or surgery. In a study of people with diabetes with early retinopathy, laser therapy to burn the fragile vessel resulted in a 50% reduction of blindness.
To prevent damage from retinopathy it’s important to have eye screening annually, or more frequently if recommended. Women with diabetes who later become pregnant should have a comprehensive eye examination during the  first trimester and close follow-up with an eye specialist during the rest of their  pregnancy to avoid serious eye problems with diabetes. (This recommendation does not apply to women who develop  gestational diabetes, since they are not at risk of retinopathy.)

When to seek medical advice about eye problems in diabetes

If you have diabetes,  seek medical advice about any eye problems if any of the following occur:
  • Black spots in your vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • “Holes" in your vision.
  • Blurred vision.

Eye care for people with diabetes

Eye care is especially important for people with diabetes because they are at increased risk of developing eye complications from the disease. Retinopathy (damage to the retina at the back of the eye) is a common complication of diabetes. If left untreated, it can get worse and cause some loss of vision, or blindness in severe cases. All people with diabetes should take precautions to help reduce their risk of developing eye problems. Here are some eye care tips:
  • Book regular appointments with your optometrist so that any eye problem can be detected early and treated
  • Maintain control of your blood glucose levels
  • Keep your  blood pressure under control. High blood pressure by itself can lead to eye disease, so if you have high blood pressure as well as diabetes, it is especially important that you take steps to control both conditions
  • Get your blood  cholesterol levels under control
  • Eat a healthy  diet
  • Avoid  smoking
  • Exercise regularly

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Odds are that you know someone with diabetes, possibly even someone who has to take insulin each day to manage the disease. Diabetes is a growing health problem in the United States and has risen about six-fold since 1950, now affecting approximately 20.8 million Americans. About one-third of those 20.8 million do not know that they have the disease. Diabetes-related health care costs total nearly $100 billion per year and are increasing. Diabetes contributes to over 200,000 deaths each year.
To understand diabetes, you first need to know about how your body uses a hormone called insulin to handle glucose, a simple sugar that is its main source of energy. In diabetes, something goes wrong in your body so that you do not produce insulin or are not sensitive to it. Therefore, your body produces high levels of blood glucose, which act on many organs to produce the symptoms of the disease.
In this article, we will examine this serious disease. We will look at how your body handles glucose. We'll find out what insulin is and what it does, how the lack of insulin or insulin-insensitivity affects your body functions to produce the symptoms of diabetes, how the disease is currently treated and what future treatments are in store for diabetics.
Since diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to use glucose, let's start by looking at what glucose is and how your body controls it. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy to all of the cells in your body. The cells take in glucose from the blood and break it down for energy (some cells, like brain cells and red blood cells, rely solely on glucose for fuel). The glucose in the blood comes from the food that you eat.
When you eat food, glucose gets absorbed from your intestines and distributed by the bloodstream to all of the cells in your body. Your body tries to keep a constant supply of glucose for your cells by maintaining a constant glucose concentration in your blood -- otherwise, your cells would have more than enough glucose right after a meal and starve in between meals and overnight. So, when you have an oversupply of glucose, your body stores the excess in the liver and muscles by making glycogen, long chains of glucose. When glucose is in short supply, your body mobilizes glucose from stored glycogen and/or stimulates you to eat food. The key is to maintain a constant blood-glucose level.

So, what happens when you do not eat? In times of fasting, your pancreas releases glucagon so that your body can produce glucose. Glucagon is another protein hormone that is made and secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreatic islets. Glucagon acts on the same cells as insulin, but has the opposite effects:

  • Stimulates the liver and muscles to break down stored glycogen (glycogenolysis) and release the glucose
  • Stimulates gluconeogenesis in the liver and kidneys
In contrast to insulin, glucagon mobilizes glucose from stores inside your body and increases the concentrations of glucose in the bloodstream -- otherwise, your blood glucose would fall to dangerously low levels.
So how does your body know when to secrete glucagon or insulin? Normally, the levels of insulin and glucagon are counter-balanced in the bloodstream. For example, just after you eat a meal, your body is ready to receive the glucose, fatty acids and amino acids absorbed from the food. The presence of these substances in the intestine stimulates the pancreatic beta cells to release insulin into the blood and inhibit the pancreatic alpha cells from secreting glucagon. The levels of insulin in the blood begin to rise and act on cells (particularly liver, fat and muscle) to absorb the incoming molecules of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids. This action of insulin prevents the blood-glucose concentration (as well as the concentrations of fatty acids and amino acids) from substantially increasing in the bloodstream. In this way, your body maintains a steady blood-glucose concentration in particular.
In contrast, when you are between meals or sleeping, your body is essentially starving. Your cells need supplies of glucose from the blood in order to keep going. During these times, slight drops in blood-sugar levels stimulate glucagon secretion from the pancreatic alpha cells and inhibit insulin secretion from the beta cells. Blood-glucagon levels rise. Glucagon acts on liver, muscle and kidney tissue to mobilize glucose from glycogen or to make glucose that gets released into the blood. This action prevents the blood-glucose concentration from falling drastically.
As you can see, the interplay between insulin and glucagon secretions throughout the day help to keep your blood-glucose concentration constant.
Now that you know the symptoms of diabetes -- high blood glucose, excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination -- let's look at what happens to your body during diabetes. For the purposes of this discussion, let's suppose that you have undiagnosed, and therefore unmanaged, diabetes.
Now, let's see how the lack of insulin or insulin-resistance affects your body to produce the clinical symptoms and signs of diabetes:
As of now, there is no cure for diabetes; however, the disease can be treated and managed successfully. The key to treating diabetes is to closely monitor and manage your blood-glucose levels through exercise, diet and medications. The exact treatment regime depends on the type of diabetes.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you lack insulin and must administer it several times each day. Insulin injections are usually timed around meals to cope with the glucose load from digestion. You must monitor your blood-glucose levels several times a day and adjust the amounts of insulin that you inject accordingly. This keeps your blood-glucose concentration from fluctuating wildly.

How to help or reverse Type II Diabetes 
The good news is that most individuals with Type II diabetes are able to reverse or dramatically mitigate their disease with the proper steps.
  1. Get Insulin Problems Under Control– Diabetes is triggered by insulin resistance and regaining proper insulin sensitivity can help reverse the process. Limit consumption of sugars, grains and processed carbohydrates and focus on healthy proteins, fats and green veggies.
  2. Get Your Fats in Good Balance– Overabundance of Omega-6 fats in the diet is a contributing factor in diabetes. Pay attention to your intake of  Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats and try to get them closer to a 1:1 ratio. For many people, supplementing with a good quality Omega-3 oil can help while dietary adjustments are being made. Avoid Omega-6 seed oils and their sources (these are used at almost every restaurant). Eat fatty fish like salmon and sardines for the Omega-3s.
  3. Fix your Gut–  Grains and toxins cause damage to the intestinal lining and facilitate leaky gut syndrome. Depleted beneficial bacteria in the gut caused by poor diet, antibiotic use or being bottle fed as a baby can make the problem worse. Remove the grains, avoid toxins whenever possible and take a high quality probiotic to help the intestines heal. As a note: some people will have continued damage to the gut with exposure to grains, especially gluten, as little as only every 10 days or even every 6 months.
  4. Exercise– Even the mainstream medical community recognizes the advantage of exercise, as it increases the muscles ability to use insulin and over time can help fix insulin resistance. All exercise isn’t created equal though and fortunately, smaller amounts of high intensity exercise have been shown to have a better effect on insulin levels (and weight loss) than an hour of daily moderate cardio. According to the Healthy Skeptic: “A pair of studies done at McMaster University found that “6-minutes of pure, hard exercise once a week could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate activity“, according to the June 6, 2005 CNN article reporting on the study.” I recommend high intensity exercise anyway for its various health advantages, and it is great for diabetes control. too.
  5. Lose Excess Weight– Obesity and Diabetes often go hand in hand, and while the debate still rages on if one causes the other, studies show that losing weight can help mitigate diabetes, and also lowers your risk of getting it to begin with. Certain dietary and lifestyle improvements can help you lose weight and are beneficial for diabetes reversal as well.
  6. Reduce Stress–  Stress raises cortisol and can lead to hormone imbalance, insulin issues and increases risk for certain types of disease. Work to reduce your sources of stress from lack of sleep, exposure to toxins, mental and emotional sources and poor diet. Getting quality sleep every night can help reduce stress hormone levels and is great for blood sugar.
  7. Supplement– Supplements can help your body heal from diabetes, especially while your body works to gain proper insulin reactions again. Supplements often associated with helping diabetes symptoms and improving the disease are cinnamon, omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, chromium, coenzyme Q10, garlic, and magnesium