Diabetics and Exercise

Importance of Physical Exercise For Diabetes Patients

Diabetics and Exercise

The importance of exercise and physical activity has been proven time and time again in a multitude of studies over the past few decades. For diabetics, exercising has been shown to be just as important as having a healthy and nutritious diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Even in healthy individuals, exercise helps improve blood circulation, prevents a build-up of plaque and helps oxygenate the blood, keeping the heart, vessels and the entire body healthy. Since diabetics face higher chances of cardiovascular diseases compared to other people, regular and vigorous physical activity is a crucial part to effectively reduce that risk.

Can exercise be effective in curbing or even curing diabetes?

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the importance of exercise cannot be understated. Vigorous exercising can help you fight diabetes in several important ways:

1.Exercising helps deplete glycogen from your muscles (energy storing form of glucose) which lowers your overall sugar levels

and

2. Exercise increases your overall muscle mass, which creates more space for your body to store excess sugar properly, effectively and without harm to your body.

Thus, in the case of type 2 diabetes, exercise can help greatly improve your state and potentially – eventually! – even help cure diabetes. However, this will not be the case with type 1 diabetes or even type 2 diabetes not caused by insulin resistance.

Things to know about exercising with diabetes

Timing

If you are a busy person, it is a very good idea to exercise at any time of day, whenever you can find the time for it. However, for better results, you should avoid exercising early in the mornings before your first meal. Very often people believe that exercising before eating can lead to the body using stored fat and thus weight loss. Some even believe that it’s a good way to keep blood glucose lower while exercising and throughout the day.

However, early morning exercises may be detrimental to blood glucose levels control.

Many diabetes doctors advise avoiding exercising first thing in the morning before you have your breakfast. This is because, if you haven’t yet eaten and start to vigorously exercise, your body may increase the release of glucose-raising hormones to help fuel your activity. Instead of lowering your blood glucose levels for the day, it will actually raise them! To prevent a spike in blood glucose levels, try to exercise after a meal, never before.

How much to exercise

The correct answer is as much as you can within the norm prescribed by your doctor. Generally, 2 – 2.5 hrs per week is considered ideal. By exercising this much, you should be able to significantly lower your A1C levels within a few months (for people with Type 2 diabetes). For people with type 1 diabetes, the correlation isn’t as evident, but exercising is beneficial for overall body health in any case.

What type of exercising is best for diabetes?

Both cardiovascular and strength training exercises help lower blood sugar levels allowing a balanced and healthy glycemic level. However, while any exercise is better than none, if you are looking into losing some weight and better controlling your diabetes, you should pay greater attention to anaerobic exercise as opposed to aerobic exercises.

Some of the examples of anaerobic exercises are heavy weight lifting, hill climbing, interval training and other types of weight and resistance-related exercises. Aerobic exercises are such exercises as treadmill exercising, swimming, running, dancing, aerobics classes etc. Anaerobic exercises are great for diabetes patients because they tend to increase muscle mass. Most of the body glucose is stored in the muscles, and the more you have, the more productively the glucose will be stored and used for performance as opposed to harming your body. Regular exercise will also help you achieve a toned body and more defined muscles. Regular exercise increases muscle mass in the body, which in turn makes it more effective in burning fats. This will make you lean and strong, and help you deal with any extra weight you may have.  With excess weight gone, you will experience less pressure on the joints, significantly lowering the risks of joint problems.

A lot of people, particularly those who live a sedentary lifestyle, might have a hard time starting to follow a regular exercise program. Patience is key! Try to slowly incorporate the exercise program into a daily routine, and don’t give up if it takes time and effort.  Make sure to avoid rushing anything and exerting too much as it may pose a risk such of injury or your overall health getting worse instead of better. Exercise is great for everyone, including and especially for diabetes patients. However, as with everything, it is important to monitor your health and overall state and consult with your physician if you notice any signs of pain, discomfort or any other unusual symptoms while or after exercising.

Regular exercise will also help you burn more body fat. Exercise that is more constant trains the muscles, making the body burn more fats easily. Without excess fats in the body, there will be less pressure on the joints, significantly lowering the risks of joint problems and less strain on the muscles as there is no need to exert more strength in carrying a heavy body.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

Metformin and vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Diabetes

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Among Diabetic PATIENTS

As you probably already know, one of the side effects of metformin is that it prevents proper nutrient absorption from food in your intestinal tract. Vitally important vitamins and minerals pass through your system not absorbed, leaving your body deficient in the elements it needs to rebuild and heal itself. As you can understand, it’s a dangerous side effect, in that it can further exacerbate your condition and weaken your body even more, although all you are trying to do is to actually help it fight the disease.

The solution to this side effect is to start supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals to maintain the proper balance in your body and to help your body acquire those building blocks that it needs for its perfect performance. I definitely recommend speaking to your doctor about supplementation. It is possible that they will have you do some tests to see what you may already be deficient in and recommend certain supplements to support you.

Although supplements have been thoroughly researched and a multitude of studies have proved them effective and safe, a lot of people are still skeptical about the idea of nutritionally supplementing their diet, whether they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or not. You may think you are already eating a healthy and balanced diet. Why would you need to supplement?

A harsh truth is that only a few of us come close to eating a truly healthy and balanced diet, even those that aren’t on metformin. The type of lifestyle people live today contributes to the decreasing quality of the food we eat. Our soil is depleted of nutrients due to constant overuse. Our meat, instead of being grass-fed, is often fed grains and other foods that aren’t nutritionally rich, and so we can’t get the nutrition we should be able to get from meats. In addition to that, most people simply don’t have a diverse and rich enough diet to really enjoy the nutritional variety that we need to thrive. A lot of us eat out in fast foods restaurants almost daily, and even if you eat at home, it is possible that most of your food is nutritionally poor processed food. These type of foods undoubtedly lack in nutrients needed by the body for proper function and performance.

Another misconception is the idea that supplements are really not that beneficial and are only a waste of money. This could not be farther from the truth! You will be surprised how much difference even a single supplement can make in your everyday life. I can attest to a major improvement in my health state after I began taking vitamins B6, B12, vitamin D, and iron. For my particular case, those were an absolute game changer. It is always a great idea to check your vitamin and mineral levels professionally to get a better picture of how your body is doing, especially if you are on such harsh medication as metformin. Further in this article, I will concentrate more on Vitamin B12 in particular as one of the most vitally important vitamins for your body to thrive.

BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the water-soluble vitamins that provides the following benefits:

  • Effective metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
  • Improves the function of iron in the body
  • Supports proper maintenance of a healthy central nervous system
  • Supports healthy folate activity and calcium absorption
  • Helps increase your energy
  • Helps in healthy formation and regeneration of red blood cells.

Here is some of my personal history with vitamin B12. At a certain point, I noticed that I started forgetting words, and it took me a while to remember them while speaking. I also noticed I became mentally slow. I talked slowly, I constantly stammered and couldn’t find words for even the simplest concepts. I couldn’t even think fast. I lived in a nearly constant state of mental fog. Then I found out I was deficient in Vitamin B12.

I started taking supplements, just one tablet a day, and the results have been short of amazing. I noticed that I am much less tired. I think and speak faster and make decisions with greater ease. I have much more energy. And that’s just what I see on the surface. I am sure if I did some tests, I would see some great results in the internal systems of my body as well. This is why I highly recommend supplementing with B12, especially if you are on metformin which tends to exacerbate malabsorption of nutrients and may wreak havoc in multiple systems of your body unless you help support yourself.

Through diet, Vitamin B12 can be obtained by consuming tuna, salmon, chicken, milk, and eggs, and also vegan burger patties fortified with Vitamin B12. You can see that most of the sources of B12 are of animal origin, so if you are a vegetarian or especially vegan, you are almost 100% guaranteed to be lacking in vitamin B12.

A study that involved 46 individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and taking either Metformin or Phenformin or both, showed that thirty percent of patients had vitamin strong B12 malabsorption. This meant that their bodies had difficulties in absorbing the vitamin, which resulted in the deficiency that continued even when the intake of medications was stopped. This is quite a large percentage of such a small representative group. In reality, almost anyone should supplement with vitamin B12, even if they aren’t on metformin.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

How can you tell if you are vitamin B12 deficient?  The best way is to do medical tests to find out. However, some of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include the following:

  • weakness and/or soreness in arms and legs
  • slow sensory perception and reflexes
  • stammering and nervousness
  • jerking in limbs and difficulty walking
  • inflammation of the nerves
  • memory loss and mental slowness
  • mood disorders (irritability, depression, anger, etc..)
  • unpleasant body odor

Your health care provider can easily monitor your vitamin B12 levels through a blood test. In the case of severe deficiency, your doctor can administer vitamin B12 injections under the tongue or by using a patch that can quickly deliver the vitamin to the body. Once your levels are stabilized, you can maintain healthy levels of daily Vitamin B12 supplementation.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes and The Risk of Heart Failure

Can Diabetes Lead to Heart problems?

One of the possibly fatal complications that can be caused by Type 2 Diabetes is diabetic heart disease. Patients with diabetes are much more predisposed to heart disease than other individuals. They have additional causes that can lead to heart disease, they can get it at younger ages, in more severe forms, and their systems are already weakened by diabetes to effectively prevent or curb heart issues. Diabetics can experience such heart diseases as diabetic cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.

Causes of heart disease in diabetic patients

One of the main reasons for heart disease in type 2 diabetes patients is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance tends to cause blood clotting, which over time can lead to blocked coronary arteries. This poses a serious risk of a heart attack and can be lethal.

Metabolic syndrome is another risk factor for heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is very common for diabetes sufferers and can be described as a combination of several or all of the following: high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol (HDL) in your system; high blood pressure, high blood sugar; increased waistline and some others.

High blood pressure and high sugar levels may lead to atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque in the arteries) in diabetic patients, which is another risk factor for heart disease.

The number and graveness of risk factors and their consequences in the form of heart disease, of course, is a major source of concern both for a diabetic patient and their family.

However, you can be proactive and take measures to maintain and strengthen your health and prevent any possible heart complications. A change in lifestyle, diet, and level of activity may help better control diabetes and its complications. Staying on top of prescribed medications can be also vitally important.

METFORMIN AND HEART DISEASE IN DIABETIC PATIENTS

Metformin will often be the drug of choice for the pre-treatment and the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes with the purpose of controlling the disease itself and its possible complications. The journal Circulation and Heart Failure recently published an article about how Metformin is able to also prevent death from heart disease caused by diabetes.

A study conducted at Baylor College of Medicine by researchers and Michael E. De Bakey of VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, involved 6,185 Type 2 Diabetes patients who had heart failure. Twenty-five percent of these patients were treated with Metformin. The research concluded with the following results:

  • After a two-year period, 15.8% or 246 patients who were treated with Metformin died.
  • After a two-year period, 25.5% or 1177 patients who were not treated with Metformin died.

Both of the groups that were part of the research had the same total rate of hospitalization due to heart failure as well as the rate of hospitalization. However, diabetic patients with heart failures that have undergone Metformin treatment had a higher chance of survival. The study concluded with the need for more related studies in order to discover effective therapies for patients that are diagnosed with both Type 2 Diabetes and heart failure.

Metformin belongs to a family of drugs known as biguanides (the blood sugar controlling drugs). It is one of the insulin-sensitizing drugs, that helps prevent the fluctuation of glucose between meals allowing effective weight loss. It also limits the total amount of insulin that comes from the pancreas instead of increasing it and controls the amount of glucose coming from the small intestines and liver that enters the blood flow.

Type 2 Diabetes is known to promote insulin resistance. Biguanides like Metformin attack the disease at the root. In general, Metformin is a safe medication. However, it has a range of side effects. For example, there are rare instances where patients who take the drug develop lactic acidosis, which is a serious condition. Ten to Thirty percent of Metformin users report that they experience gastrointestinal side effects, which subside over time. If you experience a similar side effect that does stay long, you can consult your doctor for the administration of a lower dose. Metformin is also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, or Fortamet in the market. These are brand names of Metformin with slightly different formulations, and they tend to cause fewer side effects.

Metformin should be taken regularly to be able to achieve its positive effects. However, there are some instances where its use should be discontinued temporarily. If you are suffering from severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, in need of less than normal fluid intake, you should alert your doctor immediately. If you are undergoing X-ray procedures, you should also let your doctor know or ask beforehand if using Metformin when undergoing an X-ray scan is advisable.

Metformin is a popular choice to control diabetes and its possible complication in the form of heart disease as it is generically available and is cheaper than most drugs available. However, don’t forget to also pay attention to your lifestyle, your exercise regime, nutritional supplementation, and diet. All of these factors will greatly improve your chances to live healthier and happier!

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

Metformin, diabetes and food interactions

Metformin Food Interactions

How Does Metformin And Other Anti Diabetic Drugs Interact With Food?

When you are taking any medication, it’s important to know what other life factors can affect that medication’s absorption and functioning in your body. Food is one of the most important factors to take into consideration. Consumption of alcohol is another.

Many types of foods, especially those that originate from plants, have various chemical compounds that interact with the enzymes present in the liver. These enzymes are also used by the liver to destroy and detoxify active chemicals that are present in the medications you take to control diabetes.

It is important to know how the type of food you consume will affect your liver’s ability to recycle the active ingredients present in diabetes medications, as well as which type of foods can slow this process down as these will affect the rise and the dip of blood sugar levels.

How foods affect diabetic drug processing

How the food you eat will affect the diabetes medication you take will depend on what enzyme is used by your liver to break down those medications. This is an overview of how several known diabetic drugs are processed in the liver and how they are affected by the foods you eat.

Metformin

Also known as Glucophage, metformin is one medication that does not get processed by the liver. This means the use of Metformin cannot be affected by the food you eat.

However, consumption of alcohol does affect metformin metabolism. Excessive alcohol in your system will lead to metformin breaking down too much lactate which can cause one of the metformin side effects known as lactic acidosis.

Lactic Acidosis a serious condition that is characterised by an increased amount of lactate in the body and can cause multiple negative symptoms such as trouble breathing, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, and tiredness. In severe cases, lactic acidosis can be lethal. To avoid any negative symptoms, it is best to avoid alcohol or limit it to very small amounts ( 1 drink a day maximum for women and 1-2 for men) while medicating with metformin.

You will be even better off speaking to your doctor about risks of consuming alcohol in your particular case as well.

Vildagliptin

Also known as Galvus, vildagliptin is a diabetes medication that is processed by the liver with cytochrome P450. However, the processing is very limited. Through consuming licorice, grapefruit, ginger, or hot peppers, you can increase the ability of this medication to decrease blood sugar levels in the body.

Sitagliptin

Also known as Januvia, sitagliptin gets processed in the liver with the CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 enzymes. Avoid eating too much fruit and drinking fruit juices as these will interfere with the enzymes and increase the possibility of more severe side effects caused by the medication.

When using Sitagliptin, you should particularly avoid consumption of mangoes, oranges, dragon fruits, rambutans, passion fruits, pawpaws, wild grapes, pomegranates, wild mulberries, and kiwis.

Pioglitazone

This medication is also known as Actos and is processed with the CYP2C8 enzyme. All of the fruits mentioned above (mangoes, oranges, dragon fruits, rambutans, passion fruits, pawpaws, wild grapes, pomegranates, wild mulberries, and kiwis) will also affect this medication so it is important to avoid them especially pomegranate juice.

Rosiglitazone

The CYP2C8 enzyme also processes Rosiglitazone, also known as Avandia, so it is also advised to avoid the fruits mentioned earlier. The intake of pomegranate juice will also cause this medication to produce greater side effects so stay away from the fruit juice as much as possible.

Food is very important when it comes to maintaining your body’s ideal health and well-being. Maintaining a correct diet and supplementing vitamins and minerals, as well as watching foods that can affect your medications should be high on your list of priorities in your quest to feel better.

Another important factor is following a healthy lifestyle, which includes: eating the right amount of healthy foods, maintaining regular physical activity and reducing stress.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

DIABETES AND HEART ATTACKS

Diabetes, Heart Attacks and Metformin

How do heart attack survivors respond to Metformin?

Cardio-vascular diseases are a reason behind more than half of all deaths in diabetic patients. Heart attacks – fatal and not fatal – are fairly common in diabetics. Metformin, a common drug for type 2  diabetes, has been shown to be very effective not only in preventing the development of heart disease but also after a heart attack has already occurred in diabetic patients.

A study conducted in the Cardiology Unit of the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Sweden involved a group of researchers that aimed to discover how heart attack survivors that were diagnosed with diabetes respond to different types of treatments, including metformin. In February 2011, the results of their findings were published in a journal named Diabetologia.

The subject of the study were 1,145 patients that were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had also suffered and survived a heart attack. These patients were divided into three different groups.

  1. The first group was administered with insulin
  2. The second group was administered with metformin along with conventional treatment
  3. The third group was only provided with conventional treatment for 2.1 years

All of the patients were monitored for an average of 4.1 years. The study indicated that the number of fatal heart attacks during the monitoring period was the same in the three groups. However, non-fatal heart attack rates differed. The highest rate of heart attacks that were non-fatal was in the group treated with insulin. The group who received conventional treatment had the lowest risk in death from cancer while the group that was administered with Metformin both had low risks in death from heart attack and from cancer compared to the other patients from the other groups.

A more recent set of studies researched the mechanisms by which metformin is able to curb heart disease and help patients heal after heart attacks. The scientists from Newcastle University, Saudi Arabia, were able to create a model of a heart attack in the lab conditions. They were able to monitor the formation of the new blood vessels which is essential for the recovery after heart attack. They were also able to see that metformin enhanced the process of those blood vessels formation. Metformin has been shown to be able to lower blood glucose in the heart attack model, which is one of the factors that hinders new vessel formation. Metformin also was shown to activate a set of genes that help strengthen the new vessels and thus lead to a faster and more effective recovery.

This outcome is very promising not only in terms of using metformin to help diabetic patients who have survived heart attacks but also in developing new drugs aimed specifically at healing after heart attacks in a wider population.

Metformin, which is available in tablet form and is commonly known as Fortamet, Glucophage, or Glucophage CR is used to lower blood sugar levels. Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes commonly use it and it can also be used to prevent the development of Type 2 Diabetes for pre-diabetic patients. A Canadian study showed that the use of both Avandia and Metformin helped decrease the risk of diabetes in pre-diabetic volunteers.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

DIABETES AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Diabetes And Artificial Sweeteners

Diabetes And Artificial Sweeteners – Are They Really As Good As They Say?

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, it is very important to take extra caution in controlling the amount of sugar you intake with your meals. Your dietitian or doctor will often instruct you to cut down your sugar and carbohydrate intake. Of course, this may often require great discipline, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Good news is, there is already a wide variety of artificial sweeteners available on the market. But finding the best ones among the multitude of sweeteners available can be very confusing. Here is a little overview of what artificial sweeteners are and which ones you can use safely in your meals.

WHAT ARE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS?

Artificial sweeteners, also known as artificial sugars, are food additives that do not contain sugar but taste like sugar. Artificial sweeteners are usually sugar substitutes that were not derived from natural sources but produced artificially. For example, one of the most popular and commonly used artificial sweeteners is sucralose. Artificial sweeteners are a popular alternative or substitute for sugar as they contain little to no calories. In the diabetic world, they are used because they provide sweetness without harming your blood sugar levels. The sweeteners are also harder for your body to break down and process, so in many cases, they easily pass the intestinal tract as is, without adding to your calorie load or causing a spike in insulin. (This is not the case for aspartame, however.) Artificial sweeteners are generally sweeter than sugar, although some sweeteners often leave a bitter aftertaste, which is tolerable for some but can be bothersome for others.

Artificial sweeteners are commonly used by manufacturers of products that cater to diabetics and those who are conscious about their weight and the type of food they are eating.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS ON THE MARKET

Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener invented in the 1980s. It was commonly known through its popular brand names such as Spoonfuls, Sweetmate, and Equal. Aspartame is derived from amino-acids and it is metabolized and digested by the body just like food containing protein. Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar so only a tiny amount of this sweetener can satisfy your sweet cravings. Although aspartame comes very close to sugar in its taste profile, the taste still differs significantly in how it affects your receptors and how long it lasts.

Aspartame can be found in various types of products such as desserts, different kinds of snack foods, gums and candies, salad dressings, beverages, and breakfast cereals. Because of the way it breaks down, aspartame is not a good sweetener for baking and does not support a long shelf life of a product.

Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly tested food additives on the market. It is currently considered safe, although some studies disproved its effectiveness of use for diabetics and in weight loss. Some studies have associated aspartame with weight gain and heart disease risks. Do consult your doctor before using aspartame in your diet.

Sucralose

Another known sweetener is Sucralose, which is also popularly known as Splenda. It is known to be 600 times sweeter than sugar and is in a crystalline powder form made from sugar. Sucralose cannot be absorbed by the body’s digestive tract so has zero calories. It also does not promote dental cavities. Sucralose or Splenda can be found in most packaged foods, baked goods, frozen foods, and hot or cold foods. It is considered safe to use for diabetics, although a 2018 study has shown that non-caloric (zero calories) sweeteners may be associated with weight gain as opposed to weight loss. Another study conducted by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (2008) showed that sucralose may alter the intestinal bacterial environment in your body, increasing your risks of gastrointestinal infections caused by the infiltration of pathogenic microorganisms. There are also reported cases of artificial sweeteners such as Splenda causing drug interactions (also according to the study conducted by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.) Further research is needed to specify this finding.

Pay attention

While cooking or consuming foods with artificial sweeteners, you should also take in consideration the fact that most of the foods where artificial sweeteners are used will still contain calories. It is true that the sweeteners themselves contain zero calories but the rest of the ingredients present in the food you eat will still contain some calories. Make sure to take special precautions and continue to monitor your caloric intake to be sure.

CONCLUSION

Although the above-mentioned artificial sweeteners have been approved by FDA and are easily available on the market, my recommendation is that they should only be used to satisfy your cravings for something sweet – occasionally! Not every day. Health experts still advise that these sweeteners should be taken in moderation. Physical activity, along with a healthy diet is still the best way available to reduce weight as well as caloric intake. If you find it hard to fight sweet cravings, you may notice that it is only hard in the very beginning. If you go cold turkey on sugar entirely (including artificial or even natural sweeteners), you may notice that very soon your cravings disappear altogether, and you will find enjoyment in other types of foods rather than sweet foods. This can go a long way in helping you maintain a healthy diet, controlling weight and blood sugar, as well as mood swings.

If you are suffering from diabetes-related neuropathy, please check out this Guide by Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author. It has helped a lot of people end chronic peripheral neuropathy and regain health and well-being.

“I get so excited every time I have the opportunity to help someone with a chronic unresolved health problem. The ability to provide my expertise and experience in resolving these conditions creates a feeling of satisfaction like nothing else.”
Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author

 

DIABETES AND STRESS

The Link Between Diabetes and Stress

Diabetes and Stress – How Are They connected?

A lot has been said and written about stress in the past few decades. Everyone knows that stress can have a profound effect on both your mind and your body, aggravating or even causing health conditions just like any physical factor would. When it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, patients who experience extra pressures of stress have been shown to experience faster-progressing disease. Under stress, the diabetes patients sustain more harm to their body and a generally more aggravated disease than patients that are able to successfully manage stress.  In the case of diabetes in particular and any other condition in general stress is now considered to be one of the leading causes of death as it manifests itself into a wide array of medical conditions.

Stress is defined as a reaction to pressure, both physical and emotional, that is perceived as a form of threat, both real or imagined. This response to a threat is also recognized as the “fight or flight” response that is intrinsic and natural in humans.

Stress is particularly dangerous for patients with diabetes as it is able to affect blood glucose levels. Stress affects the body’s blood sugar levels both directly and indirectly. The change in blood sugar level immediately occurs during the “fight or flight” response as the body releases cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucagon, the stress hormone, when a threat is perceived. Your blood sugar raises naturally so that your body has enough energy to “fight” or ” flee”.  If you closely monitor your sugar levels, you may notice that it goes up when your stress level increases and lowers when your stress levels decrease. Stress hormones release also increases your blood pressure so that you can respond to the real or perceived danger. Chronic stress can cause chronically high blood pressure, which can lead to a build-up of plaque and further damage to your arteries. This is another risk factor for Diabetic patients possibly developing cardio-vascular diseases as they are already predisposed to those just from having diabetes.

Apart from this, diabetes itself can be a cause of constant stress for a patient, simply from having to deal with the disease and medications. There are always discomfort, and side effects, and of course patients are understandably worried about their future. All of this can lead to chronic stress, and stress,a s was shown above, can aggravated diabetes, thus creating a viscous self-perpetuating cycle. This is why it is crucial to learn some stress management techniques, especially if you are a diabetic patient.

MANAGING STRESS WITH DIABETES

Knowing how to deal with stress, or stress management, is one of the best ways to lessen its impacts on your health. It is important to learn to control your emotions and reactions in your every day life. Some relaxation techniques could also be very useful in preventing complications of stress, especially when diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to relax and destress. Vigorous exercising helps you release endorphines – happyness hormones – that will make you feel good both in the moment and after exercising. Jogging, swimming, weight-lifting, dancing and any other exercises will not only improve your mood, but also have a range of positive physical benefits for your body. Exercise can help oxygenate your blood, clear your arteries, improve circulation and blood flow. It will help you lose weight, and make you leaner and stronger. Good muscle weight is one of the health benefits of exercise particularly important for diabetics, as high muscle weight can help store carbohydrates more efficiently and helps control blood glucose levels.

Exercise also helps you burn carbohydrates more efficiently which can help control hyperglycemia. Training and exercising can also help cut down the excess fat in your body. Excess fat, especially in the abdominal area, is one of the risk factors of diabetes and can disrupt your metabolism, your blood sugar levels and many other healthy body functions.

If you find it hard to commit to vigorous exercising, you can try something that’s less demanding, such as yoga. Another type of exercise that involves a combination of breathing and mild physical activity is Tai Chi. It is an ancient form of martial arts that is overlooked when it comes to its overall health potential.

Meditation

Meditation is an extremely powerful tool that effectively controls stress. Regular meditation, whether alone or in a group environment, can significantly bring down stress levels and relax the body. Don’t think of meditation as something religious or spiritual. Meditation can be as simple and basic as simply closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing, or just one sight, such as a view of the trees out of your window, or blue sky, something you can imagine in your mind’s eye. The important thing is to stop thinking about too many things and help your body relax. You will be surprised how different you will feel after even your first meditation session. Regular meditation can help you achieve a whole new level of relaxation and long-standing piece in your life.

Communication

You are fighting a serious disease, and you need others in your life – people you can talk to and share your feelings and possibly fears with. Keeping your emotions bottled up inside can cause stress to grow and accumulate over time, which is never a good idea. By letting things out, you will be able to feel heard and understood, and also to hear other people’s perspectives. You may be surprised how supportive people often are, even when they aren’t your close family or friends. Try joining a support group, an online community or an actual real life group of people with similar issues as yours. Also, don’t forget about your connections with other people – maybe someone you work with, or have a common hobby with. Your disease doesn’t have to take over your whole world, in fact, the more you distract yourself and find pleasure in every day life no matter what, the less stress you will experience and the more chances you will have to successfully control your condition. Remember, no matter what, your life is in your hands and under your control, and you can always make it better!

Professional help

If you find that you cannot manage stress on your own and have a hard time maintaining good mental state, you might need help. Never feel bad about consulting with your doctor, or therapist, or even a psychologist. This is nothing to be ashamed of or feel bad about. A qualified person will have tools and ways to help you beyond anything you can even imagine and there is no reason not to use help when you need it. You are already dealing with a tricky health condition and there is no need to add stress and mental hardship to it, and especially to go it all alone. Remember that you are not alone, and that there is always help if you need it.

Happy healing!

 

 

BEFORE YOU START TAKING METFORMIN

Before You Start Taking Metformin

Overview of metformin

Metformin is an orally-administered medicine intended to treat diabetes by controlling sugar levels in the blood. It is a drug for patients with type 2, non-insulin dependent diabetes. It is occasionally administered in conjunction with insulin or other medicines. Metformin is not intended to treat type 1 diabetes.

This drug is now regarded as the most recommended anti-diabetic prescription medicine in the world. In 2010, almost 50 million metformin prescriptions were issued in the United States alone.

Metformin may serve other purposes not found in this medication guide.

What to pay attention to before taking metformin

Allergies

It is important that any medicine you take does not do more harm than good. (Ideally, no harm!) Always let your physician know if you have any allergies to other medications, foods, additives etc, before taking metformin. If you find that you develop an allergic reaction to metformin, stop taking it immediately and consult with your doctor.

Ketoacidosis

If your diabetes is in ketoacidosis state, insulin treatment is necessary.

Former history

It’s important to notify your doctor if you have any liver conditions or heart disease history before you take Metformin.

Lactic acidosis

Lactic acidosis is a dangerous side effect that may occur while taking Metformin. The condition can be life-threatening if symptoms are not remedied in due time. Seek medical attention if you have symptoms such as numbness, dizziness and vomiting, unstable blood pressure, stress, stomach and muscle pains and difficulty breathing.

Metformin and children

Metformin has been proved to be a safe and effective drug in treating children with diabetes as well as adults. However, a consultation with a doctor is always necessary, as well as the right dosage.

Metformin and the elderly

There haven’t been specific studies to determine metformin affects in the geriatric population. However, it is generally believed that metformin is safe for the elderly and can be used just as with any other age group.

Having said that, a large percentage of the elderly population may have kidney, liver and heart issues and that has to be taken into account when metformin is prescribed.

Pregnant women and metformin

Metformin is considered safe for women at any stage of pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

DOSAGE AND PRESCRIPTION

Always pay attention to your doctor’s exact prescription and dosage and follow their advice as to how to take metformin, when and under which conditions. Generally, it is recommended that metformin is taken with food to soften its effect on GI tract and bowels, which can be particularly strong in the first few weeks of meditating. Swallow the tablets whole with some water.

Do not break the tablets. The correct dosage of metformin will be defined by the physician for your particular case after taking into account your health state, your history with other medications, your lifestyle and your health goals. Generally, adults are recommended 500 mg to 1000 mg per day depending on metformin formulation.

Dosage for children is always determined strictly by the doctor.

If I Missed A Dose of Metformin, What Should I Do?

If you missed a dose in medication’s schedule, take it as soon as possible if it’s still a long time until your next dose. However, if it’s almost the time for your next dose, don’t take the missed dose and go on with the standard schedule. Never take two doses of metformin at the same time!

Storing Metformin

The medicine should be kept in a dry place at room temperature. Keep the drug in an airtight bottle. Keep the drug and other medicines beyond children’s and pets’ reach.

 

METFORMIN AND HAIR LOSS

Metformin and Hair Loss – Are They Related?

Is Hair Loss a Side Effect of Metformin?

Although Metformin has a few potential side effects, some of which are quite considerable, it is very unlikely that hair loss would be one of them. According to lab tests conducted prior to metformin’s approval as a drug by FDA, hair loss was not found to be a common side effect of metformin.

Hair loss is likely probable to occur in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) who are taking Metformin, though it is not caused by taking Metformin but by the disorder itself.

In the case of diabetes, a lot of diabetic patients report minimal to moderate to sometimes severe hair loss, and a lot of them are on metformin. Although that still doesn’t mean that metformin is the direct cause, it can very well be an indirect cause.

When a drug is just being developed, multiple lab experiments are often held to examine its potential adverse effects. However, often it is after it is approved and more and more people take the drug long-term, that it is possible to discover more side effects. 

Thus, it’s not always possible to confidently assert that a specific effect is not caused by a medicine, even though the side effect was not found during the tests.

If you notice a change in your hair growth while on metformin, do consult your doctor. Your medical practitioner will have a few options to offer you depending on how grave your hair loss is. If the symptoms keep bothering you and your doctor confirms that Metformin is at the root, he or she might prescribe you with another medication for your treatment.

Why metformin can cause hair loss

Metformin is known to hinder mineral and nutrient absorption in the human body. It often leads to depletion of various important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which by itself can cause a whole range of unpleasant symptoms and conditions. Hair loss may very well be one of them.

Two nutrients, in particular, are very beneficial for maintaining good hair health.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been proven to positively affect the growth of hair follicles and support the health of your hair throughout its life. You can be deficient in Vitamin D if you live in a northern climate and do not have a regular sun exposure. In this case, you can supplement vitamin D for better health of your hair.

Iron

According to one study, low levels of iron may inhibit an enzyme that is vitally important for hair health. You may have low iron and not be aware of it whether you are on metformin or not. Women are particularly at risk of low iron or even anaemia.

If you are frequently cold, tired, weak, have pale skin and tremor in your limbs, cold hands, and feet, you might be low on iron.  Iron is vitally important for many different functions of your body, not just your hair health. Consult with your doctor.

They might advise you to do some tests to see your iron levels and prescribe you a supplement. If you are on metformin, it is especially important to supplement iron (and other minerals and vitamins) because of the ability of metformin to block proper mineral absorption, even if you get enough iron with your food.

Other vitamins and nutrients that are important for optimal hair health are:

Biotin (Vitamin H)  – a vitamin that helps strengthen the protein structure in the hair
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Flax Seed Oil
Zinc
Selenium
Folic Acid

Some of these you can easily add to your system by supplementing without many risks. (Such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Flax Seed and Folic Acid.) With some others, a bit more caution is required. Do not start supplementing Selenium or Zinc without first consulting a professional.

Another possibility is that you are experiencing a so-called psychological hair loss. This is because you might have been stressed out of the past while, dealing with your disease and medications, and adjusting to the new lifestyle. Try not to panic if you notice signs of hair loss.

For one, if it is psychological and stress-related, you won’t lose much hair. The conditions will very likely stabilise in a few weeks. Also, the more you stress, the worse it will be. If you learn to relax and keep stress at bay, you might notice your hair state improve.

Of course, it’s understandable that hair loss can cause a lot of stress by itself, both for male and female patients. If you have been watching your hair for a while and haven’t noticed any improvement, it might be time to consult with your doctor. You don’t want your difficulties with your hair lead to anxiety and lost self-confidence, or worse, depression.

Treatments are available to help deal with hair loss. Whether your original diagnosis was diabetes or PCOS, see your doctor and ask what alternative is best for you in terms of supporting your hair health.

METFORMIN AND ALCOHOL

Metformin and Alcohol – Know The Risks

Risks of consuming alcohol while on Metformin

If you are used to having a glass of wine with your dinner or a can of beer now and again, you might wonder if you can continue with that habit once you are on metformin. The answer is: it depends on the dosage.

Alcohol in moderation is OK to consume for diabetic patients on metformin. One drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men seems to be a safe dosage recommended by specialists.

However, it is not advisable to go over that dosage. There are two potential conditions that are dangerous for diabetic patients that can be associated with consuming too much alcohol on metformin.

Lactic acidosis

One of them is lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis is when a patient’s body accumulates too much lactic acid which is by itself a rare but grave side effect of metformin. The symptoms of lactic acidosis may include:

abdominal pain
difficulty breathing
vomiting
nausea
decreased appetite
low blood pressure
overall tiredness.
diarrhea
high pulse rate

Lactic acidosis untreated can be very dangerous and even lethal. Alcohol is able to exacerbate accumulation of lactates in the body of patients on metformin, thus causing lactic acidosis. If you find that you have symptoms of lactic acidosis, be sure to consult with your doctor. Remember, it is a dangerous side effect that must not be left unattended.

Hypoglycemia

Another dangerous condition that may arise in patients on metformin taking larger doses of alcohol is hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar. Metformin’s main role is to lower blood sugar levels in the patients. Alcohol also has this effect. Taken in combination, these two agents may cause your blood levels to go too low and cause hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia may express itself in:

dizziness
nausea
weakness
mental fog
headaches
extreme hunger
blurred vision
shakiness
slurred speech

The danger here is that a patient may think those symptoms simply arise from alcohol consumption when it is really their sugar levels being too low that cause the symptoms. If you have such symptoms after having a large dose of alcohol, be sure to check your blood sugar levels.

Often blood sugar level can be corrected at home by using glucose supplements or simply eating something that has sugar in it. Severe symptoms of hypoglycemia include loss of consciousness. If you or anyone else is experiencing strong signs of hypoglycemia and can’t correct them at home, call 9-11 immediately.

How to drink alcohol safely with diabetes

Here are some precautions related to drinking alcohol with diabetes (while on metformin medication).

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Always have something to eat first. This will help ensure your blood sugar levels don’t go too low.

Stop consuming alcohol immediately if you notice that your blood sugar levels are low.

Drink water. It’s important to stay hydrated. Enough water will help curb alcohol’s effect on your blood sugar.

Eat after you consume alcohol as well.

 

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.