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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic degenerative disease caused by the body’s pancreas’s inability to produce insulin or too properly use insulin.  Insulin is the main hormone required to metabolize sugar properly, and insulin converts starches, sugars and other foods into an energy source for the cells of the body.  Type 1 diabetes,also known as insulin dependant diabetes mellitus is a condition where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin in the pancreas.  To make up for the lack of production of insulin, the body needs insulin supplementation in the form of injections and a controlled diet is essential.

Type 2 diabetes, is also known as non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus, although if present long enough may also require insulin due to pancreatic exhaustion of insulin production.  In this condition the insulin receptor in cells generally ignore insulin signals, and insulin production is therefore raised both in the pre-diabetes phase as well as before pancreatic production is exahuasted from long term type 2 diabetes.  The term often used medically is insulin resistance for the condition of adult onset diabetes where the receptors are not sensitive to the insulin hormone.

A consequence of type 2 diabetes is an accumulation or rise of blood sugar which leads to advanced glycation end products (glucose bound to protein molecules).  This can impair bloodflow to the eyes , legs and feet.  A high antioxidant intake can slow down their formation.

Criteria for diagnosing insulin resistance syndrome

The diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome/ insulin resistance is made when 3 or more of the following criteria are present (according to NCEP):

  • Central obesity (waist circumference: women > 88cm, men > 102cm
  • Fasting triglyceride >= 1.7 mmol/L
  • HDL- cholesterol < 1.2 mmol/L in women and < 1 mmol/L in men
  • Hypertension (BP >= 130/85) or on treatment
  • Impaired fasting glycaemia (p-Glucose 6.1 – 6.9 mmol/L

Causes of a high insulin productions which can lead to type 2 diabetes include :

  • A diet very high in starchy/carbohydrate foods
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Abuse of alcohol
  • Nicotine use
  • Excessive dieting
  • Birth control pills
  • Lack of exercise / couch potatoe lifestyle
  • Hormonal changes, for example in a female : low estrogen, increased testosterone, high progesterone levels.     In a man for example : low testosterone, High dhea may be risk factors
  • Insomnia
  • Underactive thyroid

Functions of the pancreas:

  • Exocrine Function: The pancreas contains exocrine glands that produce enzymes important to digestion. . The pancreatic juices and bile that are released into the duodenum, help the body to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
  • Endocrine Function: The endocrine component of the pancreas consists of islet cells that create and release important hormonesdirectly into the bloodstream. Two of the main pancreatic hormones are insulin, which acts to lower blood sugar, and glucagon, which acts to raise blood sugar. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels is crucial to the functioning of key organs including the brain, liver, and kidneys.

Some of the most important functions of the liver :

  • The liver stores and filters the blood to remove infectious organisms:
    • The Liver processes approximately three pints of Blood every minute.
    • Most Blood arrives at the Liver direct from the Intestines via the Portal Vein carrying dietary nutrients and dietary toxins - the remaining Blood arrives at the Liver via the Hepatic Artery.
  • The Liver is the primary organ for the detoxification of toxic chemicals that enter the body:
    • Phase I Enzymes in the Liver directly neutralize many toxic chemicals or convert them to metabolites.  Unfortunately, often these metabolites are more toxic than their precursor toxins.  This process is also known as the Cytochrome P-450 system.
    • Phase II Enzymes in the Liver process the metabolites of toxins produced by Phase I Enzymes.
  • The Liver cleanses the body of Bilirubin, the yellow pigment produced when Red Blood Cells die (via Bile).
  • The Liver is responsible for the processes involved in the Urea Cycle which involves the conversion of Ammonia (derived from Nitrogen from Amino Acids) to Urea.
  • The Liver is responsible for the metabolism of 90% of ingested Alcohol.
  • The Liver is responsible for 25% of Basal Metabolism.
  • The Liver is responsible for the conversion of stored Glycogen into Glucose for release into the bloodstream.
  • Carbohydrates are converted to Fats in the Liver.
  • Galactose and Fructose are converted to Glucose in the Liver.
  • Glycogen comprises 5% of the total weight of the Liver.
  • Heparin is manufactured within the Liver.
  • Bile is manufactured in the Liver, important for fat metabolism.
  • Acetylcholinesterase is manufactured by the Liver.
  • Approximately 80% of Triiodothyronine (T3) is produced in the Liver (from the conversion of Thyroxine to Triiodothyronine).
  • Cholesterol, proteins and phospholipids are also produced in the liver

Functions of the small intestine :

Also known as the Small Bowel, the Small Intestine is a Muscular tube about 6.5 meters long and 35 mm in diameter - it is one of the primary components of the Digestive System.

The functioning of the small intestine is improved by :

  • Glutamine
  • Guar Gum
  • Pancreatic Enzymes
  • Proteolytic Enzymes may help to prevent the proliferation of Intestinal Parasites and Detrimental Microorganisms within the Small Intestine
  • Bromelain may inhibit the ability of Detrimental Bacteria to adhere to the lining of the Small Intestine.
  • Probiotics and Omega 3
  • Bifidobacteria longum may increase the production of IgA in the Small Intestine and may thereby protect the Intestinal Mucosa from the toxic effects of dietary Antigens that escape digestion by Digestive Enzymes.
  • Lactobacillus species are the principal Microorganisms that reside in the Small Intestine.
  • Vitamin A may be essential for the growth and repair of the Cells that line the Small Intestine.

Last Updated (Thursday, 04 September 2014 09:24)

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