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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHealth Arrow to Vitamins and Minerals Vitamin & Mineral Guide

For Diabetics, Just a Spoon Full of...
Vitamin C and E

Vitamins C & E for DiabetesFor diabetics, the letters C and E may spell hope...boosting insulin with vitamins C and E may improve the drug's effectiveness and prevent liver damage and other serious complications of the disease.

A UC Irvine College of Medicine study found that these popular antioxidant supplements enhance insulin's ability to reduce blood sugar. This is an important finding, but an even more astounding conclusion is that C and E may also lower the risks of organ damage that diabetics face—even with insulin treatments.

Diabetes is a serious disease which affects nearly 17 million Americans. The number of cases is increasing. It is also appearing at younger ages than ever before...it is believed to be tied in with the increase in childhood obesity in America.

Insulin is the preferred treatment, but patients eventually develop complications even when they take the treatments that are prescribed. Some of these complications are serious enough to cause the treatment to be discontinued. The more serious ones are various forms of heart disease and nerve, liver and kidney damage.

Dr. Nick Vaziri, professor of medicine, and his team found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of damaging oxidizing agents called free radicals. The free radicals converted sugars and proteins into harmful chemicals, increasing the risks of tissue damage often seen in untreated diabetes.

Treating rats with insulin alone lowered their blood pressure slightly. The drug also provided some protection from the free radicals. Sugars and proteins were less likely to be destroyed when the animals were given insulin.

The researchers discovered a new problem. Instead of attacking sugars and proteins, the free radicals began to react with and destroy nitrous oxide. This chemical in the blood functions as a protector against the damage of free radicals in the healthy metabolism.

When the free radicals attack the nitrous oxide, the result is a release of toxic chemicals which may cause damage to tissues. The damage to the diabetics tissues might take longer with the protection of insulin, but eventually, the results are the same.

The researchers tried a new approach. They found that adding vitamins C and E to insulin spared the sugars, proteins... and the nitric oxide from attack.

"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," Vaziri said. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."

This study was reported in a recent issue of Kidney International. More studies still need to be done with human participants, but Vaziri believes that adding vitamins C and E to an insulin-dependent diabetic's diet should help treat the disease and perhaps prevent future organ damage.


Source: University Of California at Irvine

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This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

 

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