November is American Diabetes Month

Every November, we observe American Diabetes Month, a time for raising awareness of an ever-growing disease. I guarantee that you, or someone you love, has diabetes or prediabetes. In the United States, 25.8 million adults have diabetes (of those, 7 million don’t know they have it) and another 79 million Americans have prediabetes.(1) Prediabetes may also be known by the terms Insulin Intolerance, Insulin Resistance or Impaired Glucose Tolerance. The conditions start when normal glucose levels are greater than 100 mg/dL when fasting and 140 mg/dL two hours after eating. (2) A medical doctor makes the diagnosis.

Over the long-term, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney failure, lower limb amputations and blindness, as well as the development of heart disease and stroke. In the short-term, high blood glucose destabilizes the body. The body attempts to correct high glucose by drawing water out of the cells and into the bloodstream, and then into the urine for excretion. The process is dehydrating and the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and vagina become dry and less able to fight pathogens. Diabetics are especially prone to yeast infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and bacterial and fungal inflections of the skin. When diabetics get an infection, they are often more adversely affected than people without the disease.

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, but there are ways in which we can control it. We can reverse prediabetes through exercise that raises the heart rate for 30 minutes on most days.(2) The best diet is generally high in fiber from vegetables, whole grains and beans, with fat from nuts and olive oil, and lean proteins. Diabetics need similar but individualized treatment. Registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators can help to plan a regimen that achieves results.

To enhance the immune system and resist infection, many people take probiotics, live beneficial microorganisms that colonize the colon. Most of our immune system is in the digestive tract, where beneficial bacteria activate immune cells to fight and prevent disease all throughout our bodies. In the intestine, probiotic bacteria block absorption of pathogens and inhibit their growth. High glucose levels feed organisms in the mouth that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Lactobacillus acidophilus produces lactic acid to make the gut inhospitable to many pathogens, and LA-5®, the L. acidophilus strain in Vidazorb®, produces a toxin that kills certain germs directly.(3) BB-12®, another strain found in Vidazorb® products, may improve immune function as well.(4)
Fundamentally, self-care is the first line of defense against diabetes and prediabetes. Healthy living, including attention to diet, exercise, personal hygiene, and consumption of probiotics, can usually restore and help maintain optimal health. Vidazorb Chewable Probiotics are an outstanding line of shelf-stable chewable live probiotic bacteria that can help to balance intestinal bacteria and may help to ward off many of the ill effects of diabetes.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
(2) The measurement “mg/dL” is read “milligrams per deciliter” and displays the density of the glucose in the bloodstream
(3) The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: Reduction in the evidence of type 2 diabetes with life-style intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002; 346: 393-403.
(4) LA-5® and BB-12® selected studies at www.chr-hansen.com

Disclaimer: This information should not be used for preventing, treating or curing any medical or health condition. Consumers should always contact a professional healthcare provider in case of a medical or health condition.