Monday, June 8, 2009

Antioxidants May Protect Against Diabetes -- Fruits and Vegetables AGAIN!

Antioxidants May Protect Against Diabetes
January 26, 1999

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- Certain carotenoids -- plant compounds with antioxidant properties -- may protect against the development of diabetes, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, measured the amounts of five carotenoids -- alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, and lutein/zeaxanthin -- in the blood of 1,665 people participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The subjects were divided into four groups: those who had normal glucose tolerance tests, those with impaired glucose tolerance, those who were newly diagnosed with diabetes, and those with a previous history of the disease.

After adjusting for potentially confounding factors, the researchers found that the amounts of two carotenoids -- beta-carotene and lycopene -- were on average highest in those individuals with normal glucose tolerance, somewhat lower in those with impaired glucose tolerance, and lower still in people with newly diagnosed diabetes.

"The evidence was strongest for beta-carotene and lycopene... (but) cryptoxanthin also was lower in persons with newly diagnosed diabetes compared with persons with a normal glucose tolerance. Alpha-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin were not significantly different among participants," the authors wrote.

Although there has been little research on the subject of carotenoids and diabetes, the authors point to another study showing that significantly higher proportions of men and women with known non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus had carotene deficiency than did healthy control patients.

They note that several other dietary studies of diabetes have suggested that increased consumption of vegetables may reduce risk of developing diabetes. Antioxidants could play a role in the development of diabetes, but it is not known how.

"With an estimated 16 million persons having diabetes and a cost to the United States of about $92 billion in 1992, new directions in the prevention of diabetes and its complications are clearly desirable," wrote the authors. "The results from our analysis suggest one such avenue."

SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology 1999;149:168-176.

Below is our lead story for June 14. Thought you'd all like to see it.

Frank Grazian, Publisher
Alternative Health News Online (


The next time you hear or read one of those ads for antioxidant vitamins or supplements, you might want to take notice, especially if you have diabetes.

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center say vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene can help diabetics stave off some of the most common and debilitating complications of diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, and amputation.

Dr. Emmanuel Opara has done extensive research on the effects of antioxidants on what are called "free radicals," highly reactive chemicals that are the by-product of the body's process of turning food into energy.

Dr. Opara says research discloses that diabetics who are beginning to show complications of the disease also show signs that they have depleted their store of antioxidants.

"It would be too much to assume that these findings would mean that once you use the supplements it will cure diabetes, but there is certainly a potential for the use of these supplements to help regulate blood sugar."

Dr. Opara says antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene can help the body restore the balance of free radicals as well as blood sugar.

Dr. Opara says his research shows vitamins C and E seem to be the most effective, especially when taken in combination, but he also warns against self-medicating.

Individuals with diabetes still need to consult with their doctors and make sure that they have adequate supervision when they are taking these supplements, so that the doses can be adjusted appropriately."

June 14, 1999

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