Your online resource for objective Diabetes information

Introduction

Whether you have only recently learned that you have diabetes or you know someone with this condition, you’ll find information on here to keep you updated with developments in the treatment field, including medical research and health news. Our ongoing dialogue with our customers enables us to keep providing you with information and support. Look out for our monthly enews (sign up here) and articles from leading experts in the field. You can find general health information on our blog where you’ll find our articles from our in-house nutritionists as well as guest practitioners, events and webinar information and our media cuttings archive.

Symptoms

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder classified by abnormally high blood sugar, resulting from low levels of the hormone insulin. Continuous high levels of glucose can result in damage to blood vessels – the underlying cause of many of the health problems associated with diabetes. People with diabetes have two to four times the risk of developing heart disease or stroke than the general population. They are also highly susceptible to conditions such as nephropathy (damage to the kidneys) and peripheral neuropathy (diabetic nerve damage). Sufferers who have chronic diabetes are about 50% likely to experience some kind of nerve damage.

Causes

Type I diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells (pancreatic beta cells), resulting in high blood sugar. There are several hypotheses as to the cause of type I diabetes, including viral or bacterial infection and/or an autoimmune reaction to components in food such as cow’s milk. In type II diabetes insulin is produced, but the target cells do not recognise it and glucose is not able to move into the cell. This causes a need for abnormally high amounts of insulin; type II diabetes develops when the beta cells cannot meet this demand. Risk factors for type II diabetes include increasing age, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle (lack of physical inactivity), which affect the actions of insulin within the body. A third type of diabetes ‘gestational diabetes’, which occurs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is most likely the result of the production of high levels of a variety of hormones, which impair the action of insulin in the tissues, thereby raising blood sugar.

Fatty acids

Where insulin is absent or activity is impeded, the enzymes needed to create specific fatty acids cannot be produced and this has major effects on cell membrane fluidity and the production of eicosanoids – hormone-like substances which control immunity, inflammation and play a key role in the cardiovascular system. Indeed there is increasing evidence that supplementing with long-chain fatty acids has significant beneficial effects on diabetic neuropathy and serum lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), as well as other diabetic complications such as nephropathy (damage to the kidneys) and macroangiopathy (fat and blood clots in the large blood vessels).

Fatty acid supplementation benefits both the cardiovascular system and the nervous system, nourishes the myelin sheath, and prevents further degeneration of inter-cellular communication. It also reduces the risk of developing neuropathy, and actually reinvigorates nerve endings to overcome numbness and the likelihood of eventual tissue loss. EPA plays a role in the compaction, stabilisation and maintenance of myelin sheaths by regulating the production of proteolipid protein (PLP). PLP is literally the ‘glue’ that holds in place the sheets of protective fats which cover the nerve axon. Loss of PLP is associated with many conditions that have nerve damage including Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Recommendation

We recommend Pharmepa STEP 1: RESTORE at up to 4 capsules daily for a period of 3 months, as it’s suitable for counteracting omega-3 deficiencies and restoring a healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.  Adults should take it for a period of three months. This initial ‘restore’ phase of the treatment programme may then be followed by a long-term ‘maintenance’ dose of 4 capsules of Pharmepa STEP 2: MAINTAIN daily. Take both products with food for optimum absorption. For vegetarians, our Echiomega supplement provides a more effective solution than flaxseed oil, with higher conversion to the important long-chain fatty acid EPA.

References

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Clandinin MT, Cheema S, Field CJ, Baracos VE. (1993) Dietary lipids influence insulin action. Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences 683:151-63. Review.

De Luis DA, Conde R, Aller R, Izaola O, González Sagrado M, Perez Castrillón JL, Dueñas A, Romero E. (2009) Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertriglyceridemia: an open study. The European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 13:51-5.

Farmer A, Montori V, Dinneen S & Clar C. (2001) Fish oil in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (Cochrane Review), The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3: CD003205.

Field CJ, Ryan EA, Thomson AB, Clandinin MT. (1990) Diet fat composition alters membrane phospholipid composition, insulin binding, and glucose metabolism in adipocytes from control and diabetic animals. Journal of Biological Chemistry 265:11143-50.

Hu FBCho ERexrode KMAlbert CMManson JE. (2003) Fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease and total mortality in diabetic women. Circulation 107:1852-7.

Mahmoudabadi MMDjalali MDjazayery SAKeshavarz SAEshraghian MRYaraghi AAAskari GGhiasvand R & Zarei M. (2011) Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid and vitamin C on glycaemic indices, blood pressure, and serum lipids in type 2 diabetic Iranian males. Journal of research in Medical Sciences 1:S361-7.

McEwen B, Morel-Kopp MC, Tofler G & Ward C. (2010) Effect of Omega-3 Fish Oil on Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes.  Diabetes Education  36:565-84

Minami A, Ishimura N, Sakamoto S, Takishita E, Mawatari K, Okada K & Nakaya Y.  (2002) Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester v. oleic acid-rich safflower oil on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic model rats with hypertriacylglycerolaemia. British Journal of Nutrition  87:157-62.

Moreno-Aliaga MJ, Lorente-Cebrián S & Martínez JA. (2010) Regulation of adipokine secretion by n-3 fatty acids. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society   14:1-9.

Nomura S, Inami N, Shouzu A, Omoto S, Kimura Y, Takahashi N, Tanaka A, Urase F, Maeda Y, Ohtani H & Iwasaka T. (2009) The effects of pitavastatin, eicosapentaenoic acid and combined therapy on platelet-derived microparticles and adiponectin in hyperlipidemic, diabetic patients. Platelets 20:16-22.

Nomura S, Shouzu A, Omoto S, Inami N, Ueba T, Urase F &  Maeda Y. (2009) Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on endothelial cell-derived microparticles, angiopoietins and adiponectin in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis 16:83-90.

Rpi RP.  (2010) Efficacy of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and feasibility of optimizing preventive strategies in patients at high cardiovascular risk: rationale, design and baseline characteristics of the Rischio&Prevenzione study, a large randomised trial in general practice. Trials  11:68.

Okuda Y, Mizutani M, Ogawa M, et al. (1996) Long-term effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and serum lipids in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. Journal of Diabetes Complications 10:280–7.

Shah M, Adams-Huet B, Brinkley L, Grundy SM & Garg A. (2007) Lipid, glycemic, and insulin responses to meals rich in saturated, cis-monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated (n-3 and n-6) fatty acids in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 30:2993-8.

Stirban A, Nandrean S, Götting C, Tamler R, Pop A, Negrean M, Gawlowski T, Stratmann B & Tschoepe D. (2010) Effects of n-3 fatty acids on macro- and microvascular function in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91:808-13.

Taneda S, Honda K, Tomidokoro K, Uto K, Nitta K & Oda H. (2010) Eicosapentaenoic acid restores diabetic tubular injury through regulating oxidative stress and mitochondrial apoptosis. American Journal of Physiology 299:1451-61. 15.

Toth C, Martinez J & Zochodne DW.  (2007) RAGE, diabetes, and the nervous system. Current Molecular Medicine  7:766-76.

Yee P, Weymouth AE, Fletcher EL & Vingrys AJ. (2010)  A role for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements in diabetic neuropathy.  Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 51:1755-64.