National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month. Here is a direct quote from Nucleus Medical Media in

According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and affects 25.8 million people of all ages – approximately 8.3 percent of the U.S population with 7.0 million of these individuals currently undiagnosed.

Diabetes is currently the leading cause of kidney failure, new cases of blindness among the adult population and atraumatic lower-limb amputations. It is also a major contributing factor in stroke and heart disease.

Since diabetes is common in my own family, I am very concerned about this disease. Thus, I would like to share two pieces of information that are new to me, and perhaps to you.

Diabetes & Vitamin D

First, in the May 2012 issue of the Nutrition Action Healthletter published by the the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an new study seems to provide a clue that there is a link between diabetes and Vitamin D. According the paragraph in their Quick Studies page, 2,000 people were studied by a research group that had pre-diabetes symptoms, but not diabetes itself.  After three years of being in the study, people in both study groups (1/2 on an intensive program to lose at least 7%of their body weight and 1/2 who received standard advice to lose weight and exercise), people in both groups with the highest levels of vitamin D had a 30% lower risk of diabetes than those with the lowest levels of vitamin D.

(When I reviewed Annemarie Colbin’s book last month on healthy bones, we learned that Vitamin D is also important for strong bones. So this “sunshine” vitamin seems to be very important for more than one reason.)

Diabetes & Alzheimer’s

Second, I read an article while on my road trip about diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, entitled: “Alzheimer’s: Type 3 Diabetes?” I don’t remember where I read it, so I Googled the topic and came up with several hits. This one is from an article based on a report in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. On the web, the article is entitled: Alzheimer’s Disease May Be ‘Type 3’ Diabetes. ( I am quoting the beginning of web article:

Could Alzheimer’s be a form of diabetes? That’s the tantalizing suggestion from a new study that finds insulin production in the brain declines as Alzheimer’s disease advances.

“Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer’s disease,” senior researcher Suzanne M. de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of pathology at Brown University Medical School, said in a prepared statement.

“And many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer’s, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling. This demonstrates that the disease is most likely a neuroendocrine disorder, or another type of diabetes,” she added.

The discovery that the brain produces insulin at all is a recent one, and de la Monte’s group also found that brain insulin produced by patients with Alzheimer’s disease tends to fall below normal levels.

Now her group has discovered that brain levels of insulin and its related cellular receptors fall precipitously during the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Insulin levels continue to drop progressively as the disease becomes more severe — adding to evidence that Alzheimer’s might be a new form of diabetes, she said.

(Please go to the website for the complete article that was published on the web on 11/30/05. The information is apparently not new, just new to me.)

The Role of Insulin

As most of us know, the hormone insulin plays a big role in diabetes. The pancreas makes insulin. With each meal, beta cells release insulin in order to help the body either use or store the blood glucose obtained from food. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make insulin because the beta cells have been destroyed. Type one diabetics need insulin shots to enable them to access the glucose from their food. While people with type 2 diabetes make insulin, for some reason, their bodies don’t respond to it very well. (Source: American Diabetes Society). These people also need insulin, although I know of a few people who handle their diabetes (type2) with diet. (I believe type 1 diabetics do not have this option.)

Now we have a theory that perhaps diabetes and Alzheimer’s are linked, one more reason to change your diet now just in case the two are linked. (Couldn’t hurt!!) Even if this link is not proven, eating well is the best revenge, as actor Paul Newman said.  Also, Mary Tyler Moore is a diabetic and I remember her being quoted saying that everyone should be on a diabetic diet because it is so healthy.  Another reason to look at this diet is that obesity is an epidemic in our country and since it is definitely linked to diabetes, even deserving a new label (diabesity), improving your diet can have significant positive effects on your health.

Because there are many, many articles and books on foods to eat, I will not list them here. Basically, the kinds of recipes on my site seem to follow the guidelines for  creating a healthy food plan for diabetics: fiber, healthy carbs (fruits, veggies, whole grains), heart healthy protein and good fats. (

The bottom line is that every day can be a healthy food day with occasional splurges, like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. So treat your body well to avoid diabetes and if you already have type 2 diabetes, make sure you have a doctor with a strong nutritional bent to help you find foods that you like and that help you control diabetes.

Happy, healthful eating!


P.S. Just received this email & passing the info along:

The Special Diabetes Program battles diabetes with progressive research and effective treatment, and if Congress reauthorizes the program, we can continue moving forward.

SDP has already produced advances in halting and reversing the complications of diabetes; progress in identifying environmental triggers of type 1 diabetes; and a 28% reduction in the incidence of end-stage renal disease in the Native American communities — among its many accomplishments.

That is why it is essential to ensure Congress renew funding for SDP!

Your Members of Congress need to hear from you about this crucial program now. Make sure it’s at the top of your Congress Members’ to-do-lists in the fall session.

P.S. Just read this is also Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, so linking diabetes and Alzheimer’s might benefit both issues.

8 thoughts on “National Diabetes Month

  1. Hey mate ! I just saw your website and all I can say is that is very nice. Lots of usefull information on it. I also see that you dont rank very high in the searchengines. You can use this simple plugin for wordpress to take your website higher in the search engines If you need any help with this plugin Send me an Email.

  2. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you ought to publish more on this issue,
    it may not be a taboo matter but generally people
    don’t discuss these subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

  3. I think Diabetes is not taken seriously enough because you can survive with insulin shots. We need to look more at lifestyle to reduce or avoid the insulin shots.

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