Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases in which sufferers have high blood glucose levels due either to inadequate insulin production, failure of the body’s cells to respond to insulin production or both. Persons with high blood sugar typically experience frequent urination (polyuria) and become progressively hungry (polyphagia) and thirsty (polydipsia).
There are three types of diabetes, affecting approximately 347 million people worldwide. Type 1 diabetes accounts for roughly 10% of all diabetes cases worldwide, and occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Persons with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin injections for the rest of their lives, unless a cure for the disease is found. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of the disease, accounting for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to meet its needs or the body’s cells might be insulin resistant (that is, the cells do not respond to the body’s release of insulin). Type 3 diabetes, also called “gestational diabetes” is much less common and affects some females during pregnancy.
There is a general belief among many persons that diabetes is more of an annoyance (due to the various lifestyle adjustments that have to be made) than a serious disease. However this position could not be much further from the truth. There are many health complications which have been linked with badly controlled diabetes, including heart problems, hypertension, blindness, mental deterioration, gum disease, gastroparesis, ketoacidosis, neuropathy, nephropathy, erectile dysfunction, stroke, and many others. In fact, two thirds of all diabetics die prematurely due to stroke or heart disease and the life expectancy of an individual who is diabetic is 5-10 years shorter than someone without the disease. The World Health Organization predicts that diabetes will become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030. In a nutshell, diabetes is a serious condition.
While type 1 diabetes is not preventable, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by paying keen attention to personal nutrition and exercise. One dietary supplement that has been causing some commotion within the scientific community is antioxidant rich grape seed extract.
Metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) is a medical condition that is distinguished by a fat belly, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart complications and insulin resistance. Researchers in France discovered that laboratory mice which showed all the characteristics of prediabetes were able to rid themselves of these symptoms after grape seed extract was incorporated into their diet. Crucially, the scientists also proved that while the polyphenols found in red wine were able to reverse almost all of the symptoms of prediabetes, they did not improve the rodents’ response to insulin. Only the procyanidins found in the grape seeds were able to reverse insulin resistance.
Even more interesting is a new study published in the Journal of cell Communication and Signaling, where researchers compared the effect of grape seed extract against popular diabetes drug metformin. In the experiment, rats were fed a high sugar, high fat diet in order to induce insulin resistance and then given the respective treatments. The results showed that grape seed extract and metformin both reduced elevated blood insulin and high blood sugar levels. However metformin’s mechanism of action is currently unknown, and several studies have shown that the drug is toxic to the cardiovascular system. Grape seed extract on the other hand, has no such negative effects.
So why don’t all persons with type 2 diabetes use the cheaper, all natural grape seed extract rather than the more expensive, toxic, manmade alternative? In a word — money. The law prohibits the medicinal use of natural substances, and in order to perform the clinical trials necessary to appease such governmental bodies as the FDA, over $800 million in funding is needed. The result is that health consumers are left without professional guidance as doctors would lose their FDA-underwritten liability shield should they deviate from the drug based standard of care.
However, knowledge is power. And more diabetics are discovering the amazing health benefits of grape seed extract with each passing day. You can help to spread the word. More importantly, you can protect your life as well as the lives of your friends and family by incorporating this inexpensive, yet invaluable supplement into your respective diets.
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