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How to control Diabetes with Vit E

Break out that jar of wheat germ in the back of the refrigerator because it might help save your life
if you are diabetic.
Scientists are assessing research that suggests high dosages of Vitamin E - naturally found in wheat germ, vegetable oils, margarine, whole-grain breads, nuts and peanut butter -may help stave off the ravages of diabetes.
The complications from diabetes can be devastating,including heart disease, eye and nerve damage,leading to amputations and kidney failure.About 16 million Americans have the disease,which is caused by a deficiency of insulin,a hormone secreted by the pancreas and that is essential for converting sugar, starches and other foods into energy for cells.Lacking insulin, sugars build up in the blood rather than entering cells to fuel them. The result is that the body's cells literally can starve to death, causing the complications.

At the same time, the unprocessed sugar damages the weakened cell walls.
Some 798,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed annually in the United States.It is a chronic disease that has no cure and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Diabetes has two major subsets.

In Type 1 diabetes, most often occurring in children and young adults,the body does not produce insulin and
patients must take daily insulin injections to live.
Type 1 accounts for about 10 percent of all diabetes cases.

In Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't properly use it to convert foods.
This is the most common form of the disease, comprising about 90 percent of all cases.

Weight loss and exercise can control many of these cases.
African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans,American Indians and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Scientists believe high doses of Vitamin E help diabetics on at least two levels.

First, the vitamin acts as an antioxidant, a kind of chemical shield that protects cells against free radicals -
potentially damaging byproducts of the body's metabolism.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., says that free radicals can cause cell damage that may
contribute to heart disease and certain cancers.
And diabetics have an abnormally large supply of free radicals triggered by the high level of
sugars, or glucose, in the blood.

Second, Vitamin E appears to arrest the effects of glucose.
Dr. George King, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and research director of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, explained that high glucose levels stimulate the development of an enzyme - known as PKC -
that is particularly dangerous to diabetics.
``For some reason that isn't clear yet, Vitamin E in high doses not only is an antioxidant but it also inhibits the enzyme PKC.When that is done, you reverse or stop or prevent many of the blood-vessel complications we
find in diabetes,'' said King, one the country's leading Vitamin E researchers.

Damage to nerves, eyes, kidneys and heart appears to be slowed or arrested in diabetics when they take large daily doses of the vitamin,somewhere in the range of 1,000 international units or more.

The typical over-the-counter supplement is around 250 to 400 IUs.

Vitamin E ``could have dramatic consequences if a larger clinical trial showed that this can be helpful,'' King added.Most of the studies showing a benefit have been conducted on small numbers of diabetics,usually under 200 patients.King said large pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to foot the bill for an expensive study with thousands of participants because no single company has a patent on the vitamin.

Likewise, the NIH tends to give vitamin studies low priority ``because it's not as sexy as other medical developments,'' King lamented.

Some of the strongest recent evidence for a benefit to diabetics comes from researchers at
the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where scientists found that Vitamin E
reduced the risk of heart failure in diabetics.Heart disease is one of the most serious side effects of diabetes.

Researchers showed that Vitamin E curtailed the inflammation in blood vessels of the heart. Left unchecked, the swelling of the vessels can lead to heart disease.Researchers studied 75 patients who had Type 2diabetes. Test subjects received l,200 IUs of Vitamin E daily,and all of the participants experienced a drop-off in inflammation.
 Dr. Sridevi Devaraj, assistant professor of pathology and a lead researcher on the study, said the results were very encouraging.

``The study showed that Vitamin E significantly decreases micro-vascular complications'' in diabetics, he said.

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