The primary health concerns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were infections diseases. A shift in adverse health came about after the fortification and enrichment of foods. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke became the prevailing ailments. These diseases continue to rise, some at alarming rates. Let’s take a quick look between two prevalent diseases today: Heart Disease and Diabetes. I am going to especially look at the incidents in Nacogdoches County in the State of Texas. [PDF of this post here]
Some quick stats:
Is this a sign of malfunction in the bodies of the population?
Maintaining a healthy status requires a homeostasis of the bodily systems. Having healthy levels of glucose in our blood is vital for proper balance. When we eat, signals are sent in our body to aid in the metabolizing of the food we just ate. Insulin is secreted as a result of some of those signals. It is the “key” which allows glucose to enter the cells. Without proper signaling of insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells. This results in glucose going to other parts of the body. For our body to function properly it is important to keep glucose levels stable.
When our glucose levels are outside a healthy range it attaches to proteins resulting in Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). Excessive AGEs leads to plaque forming in the blood vessels. One consequence is an impairment of the endothelium which lines the blood vessels. It is hindered in releasing nitric oxide into the blood stream. With this compromised cardiovascular system, the body has a difficult time repairing daily wear and tear. Thus an increase in inflammation. Heart disease often ensues.
In fact…. Studies have shown an increased incidence of heart disease in the presence of diabetes!
With a high prevalence of heart disease and diabetes there is a need to understand the role of a proper functioning body. In regards to diabetes and cardiovascular disease the role of glucose balance is of marked importance. Maintaining proper levels eliminates an exacerbating risk factor for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A body which is in homeostasis is free of disease contrasted with a body where malfunction is present, disease emanates.
What can you do today to ensure a proper functioning body?
A.G.E. Foundation. What are AGEs http://agefoundation.com/age/
CDC Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke TablesGeographic Area 2010-2012.
Davis, C., and E. Saltos. (May 1999) “Dietary Recommendations and How They Have Changed Over Time,” America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750, USDA, ERS. Chapter 2.
Texas Department of State Health Services. (2012). 2012 Texas Heart Disease and Stroke
Fact Sheets, (2013). Diabetes Prevalence Among Adults BRFSS data Tables
Yamagishi, S-i., Nakamura, N., and Matsui, T. (2016) Glycation and cardiovascular disease in diabetes: A perspective on the concept of metabolic memory. J Diabetes, doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12475.
I was at a wedding this evening and as our creator would have it my path crossed with another functional medicine minded individual with a Type 1 Diabetic family member! One of the tidbits I picked up from this blessed encounter was the role the spleen plays in beta cell regeneration.. So you all can probably guess one of the first things that I did upon returning home was head to the research portals to see what I could dig up.. Well this was the first one I came across (while I was munching on leftover chili)
Here is the abstract:
Banerjee M, Kanitkar M, Bhonde RR. Approaches Towards Endogenous Pancreatic Regeneration. The Review of Diabetic Studies. 2005;2(3):165-176. doi:10.1900/RDS.2005.2.165.
The phenomenon of pancreatic regeneration in mammals has been well documented. It has been shown that pancreatic tissue is able to regenerate in several species of mammal after surgical insult. This tissue is also known to have the potential to maintain or increase its β-cell mass in response to metabolic demands during pregnancy and obesity. Since deficiency in β-cell mass is the hallmark of most forms of diabetes, it is worthwhile understanding pancreatic regeneration in the context of this disease. With this view in mind, this article aims to discuss the potential use in clinical strategies of knowledge that we obtained from studies carried out in animal models of diabetes. Approaches to achieve this goal involve the use of biomolecules, adult stem cells and gene therapy. Various molecules, such as glucagon-like peptide-1, β-cellulin, nicotinamide, gastrin, epidermal growth factor-1 and thyroid hormone, play major roles in the initiation of endogenous islet regeneration in diabetes. The most accepted hypothesis is that these molecules stimulate islet precursor cells to undergo neogenesis or to induce replication of existing β-cells, emphasizing the importance of pancreas-resident stem/progenitor cells in islet regeneration. Moreover, the potential of adult stem cell population from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, liver, spleen, or amniotic membrane, is also discussed with regard to their potential to induce pancreatic regeneration.
Did you catch that? Look at several factors which play a role in the regeneration…
“Various molecules, such as glucagon-like peptide-1, β-cellulin, nicotinamide, gastrin, epidermal growth factor-1 and thyroid hormone, play major roles in the initiation of endogenous islet regeneration in diabetes.”
Looks like I have the next few days cut out looking more in-depth as to what gets those things out of balance, what is needed to return those molecules to a homeostasis, what tests available to determine the status of those molecules in our system… my list will grow!
Anyway – just had to share as it’s another confirmation of hope for T1’s – when our perspective is changed from symptom management to system restoration our health takes on a whole new meaning! Hope you all are excited about our upcoming new year – I know I am! That’s it for now…