Sunday, 30 January 2011

Americans With Diabetes Increase Further to 26 Million

Americans With Diabetes Increase Further to 26 Million

There are now 26 million Americans suffering from diabetes and an additional 79 million in the “prediabetes” stage, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011 figures show a rising trend of diabetes in the U.S. In 2008, the agency reported that there were 23.6 million Americans or 7.8 percent of the population who had diabetes. That same year 57 million people were estimated to have “prediabetes.”

A separate study by the agency released last year showed that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050 if present trends continue.

Most diabetics in the country have type 2 diabetes wherein insulin sensitivity gradually declines over time. The culprit is weight gain and obesity health experts say, as more Americans eat fatty foods and exercise less.

The CDC said that last year some 1.9 million American adults found out that they had diabetes. But 7 million or about 27 percent of the estimated number who have diabetes still do not know that they have the disease.

“These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complication such as kidney failure and blindness,” said Ann Albright, the director of the Division of Diabetes Translation of the CDC. “We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes,” Albright added.

The CDC said diabetes costs $174 billion per year and is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. Diabetes is often a precursor to other dreaded diseases like kidney failure and adverse cardiovascular events like heart attacks and stroke.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Diabetes Affects Both Patient and Spouse

Diabetes Affects Both Patient and Spouse

A new study has found that older patients with diabetes who are not dealing well with the disease are likely to have symptoms of depression, and their spouses also suffer distress related to the disease and its management.

"Responsibilities and anxieties can differ for patients with diabetes and their spouses, but each may experience stress, frustration and sadness at times related to the demands of living with this disease," said Melissa M. Franks, from Purdue University.

"We know spouses often support their partners, but in our work we want to know what form their involvement takes and how the disease and its management affect both the patient and spouse," Franks said.

Franks and her team found that the distress spouses feel is similar to what patients feel, and this could contribute to their own depressive symptoms such as irritability or sadness.

These depressive symptoms come from their own anxieties about living with the disease or caring for someone with the disease and not necessarily because the other person is struggling.

Researchers also found that when male patients were concerned about the management of their diabetes, their depressive symptoms were elevated more than those for female patients with similar levels of concerns.

The study was based on statistical models with 185 couples older than 50.

The patients and spouses completed individual surveys that measured distress related to diabetes, such as adherence to treatment recommendations, as well as depressive symptoms.

The gender effects were measured by comparing the couples' responses. There were 67 female patients and 118 male patients, and each couple was screened to make sure only one person had diabetes.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Children Need More Sleep to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Children Need More Sleep to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Children who get more sleep are more likely to weigh less and avoid metabolic factors that predispose them to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study. If your children are getting less than 9 hours of sleep per night, they need more.

Catch-up sleep on weekends lowers obesity risk

Parents can recognize when their children do not get enough sleep, because they may be cranky and less alert. Research shows that insufficient sleep among children can result in behavior problems, poorer performance on cognitive tests, and more injuries.

An earlier study from the University of California reported that a lack of adequate nighttime sleep among infants and preschool children was a significant risk factor for obesity later in childhood. Inadequate sleep is also known to weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to infections.

A new study by investigators at the University of Chicago and published in Pediatrics shows an association between insufficient sleep and obesity and other metabolic problems. One major finding was that children ages 4 to 10 who got the least amount of sleep and who had the most irregular sleep schedules were greater than 4.4-fold more likely to be obese.

David Gozal, MD, of the University of Chicago, and his research team evaluated 308 healthy children over a one-week period. The children wore wrist actigraphs to record their sleep duration and patterns.

Researchers found that the children averaged about eight hours of sleep per night, regardless of day of the week or the child’s weight. The recommended amount is 9 to 10 hours.

Among other findings was that less sleep (about 6.5 hours) and irregular sleep patterns were associated with altered levels of insulin, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (an indication of inflammation and cardiovascular risk). The authors concluded that “the longer and more-stable sleep duration is, the less likely a child is to manifest metabolic dysfunction.”

On the upside, children who got extra sleep on the weekends lowered their risk of obesity to less than 2.2-fold. Overall, the study results indicated that children who consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Tackling Diabetes in the Latino Community

Tackling Diabetes in the Latino Community

Around 6% of Americans have diabetes, but for Latinos it's double that, around 12 to 13%.

And that's why more than 30 Valley organizations gathered at Shadow Hills High School in Indio Saturday, to help combat the growing diabetes epidemic in the Latino community.

The free event included several lectures, music, food and of course some valuable information about diabetes.

Residents from all over the Valley turned out, and there was even representatives from all three Valley hospitals at the event.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Diabetics Diagnosed With Breast Cancer 50 Percent More Likely to Die

Diabetics Diagnosed With Breast Cancer 50 Percent More Likely to Die

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are nearly 50 percent more likely to die from any cause if they have diabetes, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The research found that diabetics are more likely to be diagnosed with a late-stage breast cancer, and also receive altered forms of treatment to avoid dangerous side effects related to diabetes that could potentially be less effective in curing the patient.

The results could mean more research on what role high levels of insulin play in tumor growth.
"When patients are faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, which they see as an imminent threat to their lives, diabetes care often goes on the back burner, study leader Dr. Kimberly S. Peairs, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a press release.

"This research suggests we may need to proactively treat the diabetes as well as the cancer," Peairs said.

Peairs said diabetics are known to have a higher risk of breast cancer, with additional risks of obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, which suggests the higher death rate could be linked to being in an overall lower state of health than those breast cancer patients without diabetes.

Study Finds Drinking Coffee Cuts Diabetes Risk In Women

Study Finds Drinking Coffee Cuts Diabetes Risk In Women

Researchers at UCLA say coffee appears to boost a protein that regulates the body's sex hormones.

It's a protein that's been shown to protect against diabetes.

The study found women who drank four cups of coffee a day were less than half as likely to develop diabetes than those who didn't drink any coffee.

There were no diabetes benefits found in decaffeinated coffee.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Stem Cells to Treat Diabetes ?

Stem Cells to Treat Diabetes?

In what may pave the way for better treatments for diabetes and heart diseases, scientists claim to have developed the first adult-induced pluripotent "stem cell lines" using skin biopsies from patients suffering from rare genetic disease Friedreich Ataxia (FA).

The study was conducted by the University of Melbourne and Monash Institute of Medical Research and is published in the 'Stem Cell Reviews and Reports' journal.

It is the first time adult pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells have been developed for a specific disease in Australia, allowing for the development of new treatments for FA and related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, say the scientists.

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells result from the reprogramming of adult cells, such as skin cells, and are similar to embryonic stem cells in that they have the potential to generate any cell type of the body.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Preventing Diabetes

Preventing Diabetes

Diabetes is a growing problem for older adults, and the YMCA of Marquette County has a new program to help those at risk for the disease.

The Y's new pre-diabetes program started this week, and their goal is to provide information and activities for those at risk.

If your doctor has diagnosed you as pre-diabetic or you have any of the warning signs, such as being overweight, having high blood pressure, or have family members with the disease, then the program is for you.

"We will focus on increasing physical activity and letting people know how they can lose weight slowly, steadily, and lose that weight to prevent getting type two diabetes," said Y Wellness Director, Jenna Zdunek.

The program runs for seven weeks and costs $30.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Identifying Diabetes

Identifying Diabetes

Diabetes is an incurable disease where the body loses the ability to make or use insulin effectively. When not enough insulin is available, the body is unable to obtain the glucose or sugar from foods to use as energy. When glucose builds up in the blood, it increases the risk of eye problems, hearing loss, kidney failure, skin disorders, serious foot complications and heart disease.

Different types

Type 1 diabetes — The pancreas stops producing insulin. Treatment includes regular blood sugar tests, insulin therapy and medication.

Type 2 diabetes — The body tissues become resistant to insulin. It can often be managed by diet, exercise and blood sugar monitoring.

Prediabetes — Blood glucose levels are higher than normal, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It may be avoided by weight loss and exercise.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Diabetes Plus Depression a Deadly Combo

Diabetes Plus Depression a Deadly Combo

Women suffering from both diabetes and depression have a greater risk of dying, especially from heart disease, a new study suggests.

In fact, women with both conditions have a twofold increased risk of death, researchers say.

"People with both conditions are at very high risk of death," said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Those are double whammies."

When people are afflicted by both diseases, these conditions can lead to a "vicious cycle," Hu said. "People with diabetes are more likely to be depressed, because they are under long-term psychosocial stress, which is associated with diabetes complications."

People with diabetes who are depressed are less likely to take care of themselves and effectively manage their diabetes, he added. "That can lead to complications, which increase the risk of mortality."

Hu stressed that it is important to manage both the diabetes and the depression to lower the mortality risk. "It is possible that these two conditions not only influence each other biologically, but also behaviorally," he said.

Type 2 diabetes and depression are often related to unhealthy lifestyles, including smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, according to the researchers. In addition, depression may trigger changes in the nervous system that adversely affect the heart, they said.

The report is published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Luigi Meneghini, an associate professor of clinical medicine and director of the Eleanor and Joseph Kosow Diabetes Treatment Center at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the findings were not surprising.

"The study highlights that there is a clear increase in risk to your health and to your life when you have a combination of diabetes and depression," he said.

Meneghini noted there are many diabetics with undiagnosed depression. "I am willing to bet that there are quite a number of patients with diabetes and depression walking around without a clear diagnosis."

Patients and doctors need to be more aware that depression is an issue, Meneghini added.

For the study, Hu's team collected data on 78,282 women who were aged 54 to 79 in 2000 and who were participants in the Nurses' Health Study.

Over six years of follow-up, 4,654 women died, including 979 who died of cardiovascular disease, the investigators found.

Women who had diabetes had about a 35% increased risk of dying, and those with depression had about a 44% increased risk, compared with women with neither condition, the researchers calculated.

Those with both conditions had about twice the risk of dying, the study authors found.

When Hu's team looked only at deaths from heart disease, they found that women with diabetes had a 67% increased risk of dying and those with depression had a 37% increased risk of death. But women who had both diabetes and depression had a 2.7-fold increased risk of dying from heart disease, the researchers noted.

In the United States, some 15 million people suffer from depression and 23.5 million have diabetes, the researchers say. Up to one-fourth of people with diabetes also experience depression, which is nearly twice as many as among people who don't have diabetes, they added.

"The combination of diabetes and depression needs to be addressed," Meneghini concluded. He added that patients need to tell their doctors if they are feeling depressed, and doctors also need to be on the lookout for signs of depression in their diabetic patients.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Diabetes Soaring Among American Adults

Diabetes Soaring Among American Adults

The number of American adults treated for diabetes more than doubled between 1996 and 2007, rising from about 9 million to 19 million, says a federal government report released Wednesday.

By age groups, the number of adults treated for diabetes increased from 4.3 million to 8 million among people age 65 and older; 3.6 million to 8.9 million among adults aged 45 to 64; and 1.2 million to 2.4 million among people aged 18 to 44, reported the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Diabetes comes in two forms: type 1, an autoimmune disorder in which patients lack the insulin-producing cells needed to control blood sugar; and type 2, often related to obesity, where cells gradually lose sensitivity to insulin. Over 95% of diabetes cases are of the type 2 variety.

One expert wasn't surprised by the new report.

"Rates of diabetes have risen in all age groups. Twenty years ago, type 2 diabetes was unheard of in children and young adults, but now it is being diagnosed even in these younger age groups," said Dr. Christine Resta of the division of endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center, New York City. "Part of this rise is increased detection -- patients are being evaluated and tested sooner and more often. But part of it is a real increase in the rates."

Resta is sure of one culprit behind the soaring numbers of American diabetics. "The percentage of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese has also risen dramatically, and there is no doubt that rising rates of obesity are linked to the rising rates of diabetes," she said.

The total treatment costs for diabetes also climbed from $18.5 billion to nearly $41 billion during that time, according to the AHRQ's analysis of data from the national Medical Expenditure Panel survey.

Other diabetes-related costs rose as well. The cost of outpatient care for adults with diabetes doubled from about $5 billion to $10 billion between 1996 and 2007.

During those 11 years, total costs of prescription drugs for adults diabetes patients also increased nearly fourfold, from $4 billion to $19 billion. In addition, the per-patient cost of prescription drugs more than doubled, jumping from $495 to $1,048 a year.

"Costs have risen for a number of reasons," Resta said. "Of course, with more patients, there are more costs. But even the cost per patient has gone up. Newer diabetes medications are expensive, often 10 times the cost of older generic medicines. When patients are diagnosed younger, they are more likely to eventually require multiple diabetes medications, which also drives up costs."

And with every diabetes-linked complication, medical bills rise too.

"The longer the duration of diabetes, the more likely the patient is to have complications," Resta explained. "Each of these complications (eye damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, foot infections, cardiovascular disease) adds to the cost of taking care of diabetes. Treating the complications is often much more expensive than treating the blood sugars. So all of these factors are contributiing to the skyrocketing costs."

Friday, 7 January 2011

Insulin Deficiency and Onset of Diabetes

Insulin Deficiency and Onset of Diabetes

Insulin is a peptide (small protein) consisting of fifty-one amino acids synthesized and stored within the pancreas, an organ situated behind the stomach. The protein itself consists of two chains, denoted A and B, linked by disulfide (sulfur-sulfur) bridges between cysteine residues. In fact insulin is a hormone, a chemical transported in the blood that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs in the body. When blood sugar levels rise following a meal, the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin into the bloodstream. In order for tissues to absorb glucose from the blood, they must first bind insulin. Glucose metabolism is necessary for cell growth and energy needs associated with cell function. When insulin binds to receptors on cell membranes, glucose transporter proteins are released from within the cell to the surface of the cell membrane.

Once on the exterior surface of cells, glucose transporters can carry sugar from the blood into the tissue where it is metabolized. Without insulin, cells cannot absorb glucose and effectively starve.

A deficiency in insulin production results in a condition called diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetics account for 10 percent of those individuals suffering from diabetes mellitus. It is also known as juvenile diabetes and generally develops in young people, typically between the ages of ten and fifteen years, as a result of an autoimmune disorder. Why the body's immune system turns on itself, attacking and destroying beta cells, the pancreatic cells in which insulin is synthesized, is not clear. The unfortunate consequence is insulin deficiency.

The majority of individuals afflicted with diabetes mellitus suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The onset of type 2 diabetes occurs much later than for type 1 and typically in people over the age of fifty. The pancreas of type 2 diabetics continues to produce and release insulin. However, cells do not respond appropriately to insulin levels in the blood. This condition is known as insulin-resistance and is associated with obesity and high blood pressure. Children who are obese can also develop type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes affects 3 to 5 percent of pregnant women. Onset generally occurs in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. In pregnant women, the placenta produces hormones to support the growing fetus. Some of these hormones (e.g., estrogen and cortisol) interfere with the actions of insulin. Insulin-resistance develops despite adequate blood insulin levels. Gestational diabetes does not last beyond pregnancy and the condition disappears after delivery.

Before the discovery of insulin, type 1 diabetics usually died within a few years of onset of the disease. During the early 1920s, a young Canadian physician, Frederick Grant Banting, working with John James Rickard Macleod, professor of physiology at the University of Toronto, and Charles Best, a medical student, discovered insulin while performing investigations on extracts acquired from dog pancreas. Soon after, Banting and Macleod were awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery, Banting reportedly split his share of the prize money with Best.

Insulin was rapidly put into clinical use, chiefly through the efforts of August Krogh, a Danish scientist who cofounded the Nordic Insulin Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the production of insulin. Large quantities of insulin were initially acquired from the pancreatic tissues of slaughtered animals, typically cows and pigs. Although bovine (cow) and porcine (pig) insulin are still the major components of commercially available insulin, the use of human insulin preparations is rapidly growing. Since the 1980s, recombinant DNA techniques have made human insulin available for clinical use. Genetically modified strains of Escherichia coli bacteria or Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) containing human genes coding for insulin have been developed for the mass production of human insulin.

Insulin is not a cure for diabetes. It does, however, allow diabetics, especially those with type 1 diabetes, to gain some control over their condition. Insulin is typically administered by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. There are four principal types of insulin preparations commercially available. Insulin lispro (ultra-short-acting insulin) is rapidly absorbed into the blood and lasts only 3 to 4 hours. Regular insulin, on the other hand, takes 30 minutes to become effective, and lasts 5 to 7 hours. Lente and NPH (neutral protamine Hagedorn) insulin preparations are longer acting formulations typically administered every 12 hours. Finally, mixtures of insulin preparations are also commercially available. Typical mixtures consist of 70 percent NPH and 30 percent insulin lispro.

Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease Linked

Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease Linked

Women with depression and diabetes have a higher risk than others of death from heart disease, a six-year study found, U.S. researchers say.

Study leader An Pan of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues said the study indicated women with depression had a 44 percent increased risk of death, those with diabetes had a 35 percent increased risk of death and those with both conditions had approximately twice the risk of death -- vs. women who had neither condition.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found when considering only deaths from cardiovascular disease, women with diabetes had a 67 percent increased risk, women with depression had a 37 percent increased risk and women with both had a 2.7-fold increased risk.

"The underlying mechanisms of the increased mortality risk associated with depression in patients with diabetes remains to be elucidated," the study authors say in a statement.

However, the researchers suggest diabetes and depression links to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle and noted depression could trigger changes in the nervous system that affect the heart adversely.

Pan and colleagues studied participants in the Nurses' Health Study -- 78,282 women ages 54-79 at study start -- 4,654 of whom died, including 979 who died from cardiovascular disease, during the six years.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Arsenic Induces Diabetes

Arsenic Induces Diabetes

Arsenic is a metalloid element, belongs to V group in periodic table, found in the natural environment in some abundance in the Earth’s crust and in small quantities in rock, soil, water and air. About one third of the arsenic in the atmosphere comes from natural sources, such as volcanoes, and the rest comes from man-made sources. The mineral (inorganic) forms of arsenic (iAs) are generally more toxic than its more complex organic compounds found naturally in plant and animal tissues.

Countries where As levels in drinking water have been found to exceed the World Health Organization Standard of 10 µg/l include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, chile, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan, United States of America. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that about 75,000 to 100,000 tons of arsenic is produced annually on a global scale. About 80% of arsenic compounds are used to manufacture products with agricultural applications such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, algaecides, sheep dips, wood preservatives, dyestuffs and for the eradication of tapeworms in sheep and cattle. In addition, the use of arsenic in microelectronics is increasing. Thus, in addition to water contamination by this metal, anthropogenic activity is also important. Arsenic exposure causes diabetes mellitus besides other toxic effects like Cancerous diseases such as: Skin cancer, bladder cancer, liver, lung and stomach cancer.

Non-cancerous diseases such as: Peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular and cerbrovascular diseases, hypertension, goitre, hepatomegaly, respiratory system dysfunction, nervous system dysfunction and diabetes mellitus.

Arsenic have been recently proposed as additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Hydroarsenicism is a major public health problem since millions of people worldwide are exposed to arsenic by the drinking of contaminated water. An increased prevalalence of diabetes has been consistently observed among residents of high arsenic exposure areas, whereas inconsistent findings have been reported from occupational and community-based studies in low arsenic exposure areas. Peoples are exposed to arsenic through many foods containing small amounts of arsenic and water, eating or breathing soil or dust particles contaminated with arsenic, drinking groundwater from natural deposits containing arsenic, breathing sawdust or burning smoke from wood treated with arsenic, working in a job that involves arsenic production or use, such as copper or lead smelting, wood treating, or pesticide application, touching arsenic-containing materials

Chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic represents a risk factor for diabetes mellitus in both environmental and occupational. The researchers reportedly concluded: “Given widespread exposure to inorganic arsenic from drinking water worldwide, elucidating the contribution of arsenic to the diabetes epidemic is a public health research priority with potential implications for the prevention and control of diabetes .

Arsenic induced type 2 diabetes depends on concentration of arsenic, arsenic compound, time of exposure, biological model. Arsenic induced diabetes also depends on individual susceptibility which includes: genetic factors, nutritional status, health status, detoxification capability, interactions with other trace elements, and presence of other risk factors for diabetes mellitus.

The pandemic of arsenic poisoning due to contaminated groundwater in West Bengal, India, and all of Bangladesh has been thought to be limited to the Ganges Delta (the Lower Ganga Plain), despite early survey reports of arsenic contamination in groundwater in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and its surroundings in the northwestern Upper Ganga Plain and recent findings in the Terai area of Nepal.

High levels of arsenic above the permissible levels of 50 parts per billion (ppb) are found in the alluvial plains of Ganges covering six districts of West Bengal. Presence of heavy metals in groundwater is found in 40 districts from 13 states, viz., Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and five blocks of Delhi. There is increase in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus among residents of arseniasis-endemic areas as compared to residents in non-endemic areas. The spread of arsenic contamination in groundwater seems to be assuming gargantuan proportions. What is worse is that inhabitants of the affected areas are unaware and the local authorities totally oblivious to this grave problem. It was known that West Bengal (WB) and Bangladesh had high levels of arsenic in the groundwater, but slowly the problem is spreading to other states like Uttar Pradesh. This is confirmed by the reports of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi that people living in the Ballia district of UP also have high levels of arsenic in their blood, hair, nails, etc.

People should be made aware that their arsenic-related diseases are due to the arsenic-contaminated groundwater they are using for drinking and cooking. Lowering of the ingested inorganic arsenic level and introduction of newer treatment options (implementation of laterite, the natural material) to ensure safe water supply (arsenic free and/or low arsenic within permissible limit) are the urgent needs to safeguard against mass arsenic poisoning and internal arsenic-related health problems.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Fatty Acids And Diabetes

Fatty Acids And Diabetes

Doctors will advise you to reduce the fat content in your daily food consumption as found in cheese, whole milk, yoghurt, butter, meat, and substitute it with skim varieties of dairy products and lean meats, for the sake of health. It is known that low fat diets reduce your blood lipids, such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and doctors stress very much its importance, especially among diabetics.
It is now observed that fat found in dairy products lowers the incidence of developing diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers in New York have observed looking at more than 3,700 US adults, that those with higher blood levels of fatty acid known as trans-palmitoleic acid, there was a 60 percent less likely incidence to develop diabetes, a study carried over a period of 20 years.

The researchers examined 3,736 participants in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded Cardiovascular Health Study, who have been followed for 20 years in an observational study to evaluate risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in older adults. Metabolic risk factors such as blood glucose and insulin levels, and also levels of circulating blood fatty acids, including trans-palmitoleic acid, were measured using stored blood samples in 1992, and participants were followed for development of Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were that the incidence of Type 2 diabetes was less approximately 60% among those who entered the studies. Trans-palmitoleic acid found in the fatty foods was thought to be beneficial for the lower incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

Such benefits may need to be weighed against the fact that full-fat dairy products having high calories could lead to weight gain, a risk factor for diabetes. Dr. Darius Mozaffarian, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston is of the same opinion, and that diabetics should continue their current low fat, low glycaemic foods until further studies are carried out. However, the fact remains that dairy has some anti-diabetes properties.

Trans-palmitoleic acid falls into the broad category of ‘trans-fat,’ which has become notorious in recent years for its links to elevated LDL cholesterol and heart disease. However, unlike the trans-fats in many processed foods, like margarine, crackers and chips, trans-palmitoleic acid is a natural fat. And so far, Mozaffarian said, research has not linked natural trans-fats in dairy and meat to an increased heart disease risk.

It may be that at least some natural trans-fats, like trans-palmitoleic acid, have health benefits, according to Mozaffarian. “I think we all have to start looking at dietary fats in a more nuanced way,” he said.
At baseline, higher circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid were associated with healthier levels of blood cholesterol, inflammatory markers, insulin levels, and insulin sensitivity, after adjustment for other risk factors. During follow-up, individuals with higher circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid had a much lower risk of developing diabetes, with about a 60% lower risk among participants in the highest quintile (fifth) of trans-palmitoleic acid levels, compared to individuals in the lowest quintile.

So it can be infirmed from the research that, after all dairy products and meat are not as unhealthy as was assumed in the past. There has been no clear biologic explanation for the lower risk and incidence of diabetes seen with high consumption of dairy products and meat. Trans-palmitoleic acid being a natural occurring transfat in foods, and not being an artificially produced transfat, such as found in margarine and others presumably could be the reason of its health benefits.


Deepa Khatri, clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, called for more research and advised caution when interpreting the study results. “People should not take the findings of this research as a reason to exceed the recommended portion amounts of dairy food in order to prevent their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Milk and dairy foods can be high in fat, which if eaten in excess can contribute to weight gain.” Keeping an eye on further research on the subject is important.