Dr David Lloyd discusses using diabetes drug for anti-aging
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If you have type 2 diabetes, your insulin production is severely hampered. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Poor insulin production means blood sugar levels can soar to dangerous peaks. Fortunately, there is an antidote to this problem and it comes in the form of an orange drink.
Diet holds the key to blood sugar control and certain items have been touted for their blood sugar-lowering prowess.
One of these items is ginger – the thick knotted underground stem (rhizome) of the plant Zingiber officinale that has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine and medicine.
Ginger rhizome can be used fresh, dried and powdered, or as a juice or oil. It has a pungent and sharp aroma and adds a strong spicy flavour to food and drink.
Among the benefits of consuming ginger is blood sugar control, evidenced by several studies.
In a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, insulin and human growth hormone are two examples of products produced by researchers reported that two different ginger extracts, spissum and an oily extract, interact with serotonin receptors to reverse their effect on insulin secretion.
Treatment with the extracts led to a 35 percent drop in blood glucose levels and a 10 percent increase in plasma insulin levels.
Another study, published in the journal Planta Medica, suggested that ginger may improve long-term blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, found that extracts from Buderim Ginger (Australian grown ginger) rich in gingerols – the major active component of ginger rhizome – can increase uptake of glucose (blood sugar) into muscle cells without using insulin, and may therefore assist in the management of high blood sugar levels.
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What’s behind this effect?
In addition to the mechanisms highlighted in the above studies, ginger has a very low glycaemic index (GI), noted Diabetes.co.uk.
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
“Low GI foods break down slowly to form glucose and therefore do not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels as high GI foods do.
Other low GI foods include:
- Some fruit and vegetables
- wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
Some low GI foods, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods we should eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
However, using the glycaemic index to decide whether foods or combinations of foods are healthy can be misleading.
The NHS explains: “Foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.
“For example, watermelon and sometimes parsnips are high GI foods, while chocolate cake has a lower GI value.”
The health body adds: “Also, foods that contain, or are cooked with, fat and protein slow down the absorption of carbohydrate, lowering their GI.”
Type 2 diabetes – do you have it?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
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