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To Lower Blood Sugar – Reduce Refined Carbohydrates

bloodsugarlowercarbsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If you want to lower your blood sugar and at the same time, lose weight without feeling hungry, counting calories, or buying specially prepared calorie restricted processed meals, consider your overall carbohydrate intake. Scientific studies show that a diet low in simple carbs, with the proper ratio of proteins, complex carbohydrates and dietary fats, is key to optimal health, sustainable energy, and relatively effortless weight loss. Diets that restrict added sugars, sugary drinks, refined grains, and white flour products result not only in weight loss, but more stabilized blood sugar, as well as improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Along with regular moderate exercise, a low-carb diet can help to reverse prediabetes and metabolic syndrome and reduce risk factors for other chronic illnesses.

All digestible carbohydrates contain single, double or multiple sugar units that are converted by the body into glucose, the main fuel source for our brain and cells. Typically, simple carbs, such as found in soda, table sugar or juice, are sweet tasting, while vegetables, fresh or frozen fruits, whole grains and fiber are starchy complex carbohydrates. After eating, our blood glucose levels rise, signaling the pancreas to secrete insulin, a hormone that facilitates the transfer of glucose from the blood stream to cells for energy usage, and prompts muscle and liver cells to absorb excess glucose for storage as glycogen. As cells absorb glucose, blood levels of glucose fall, prompting the pancreas to release glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to release stored sugar and keep the body supplied with a steady energy source.

In a healthy person, blood sugar is maintained in a very narrow range. Complex carbs, which contain fiber and nutrients, take longer to digest, resulting in a slower, sustained rise of blood sugar, curbing hunger and maintaining energy. Because of their simple chemical structure, simple carbohydrates are rapidly digested and quickly utilized for energy, leading to a faster rise in blood sugar and insulin secretion. Essentially, to maintain proper blood sugar levels, insulin is secreted when blood sugar is high and glucagon is secreted when blood sugar is low. When we eat a diet high in simple or refined carbs, insulin levels may become chronically elevated and much of the energy-supplying glucose in the blood stream gets deposited and stored in fat cells.

Blood sugar spikes followed by steep drops in blood sugar can result in hunger cravings, low energy reserves and moodiness. Overeating simple and refined carbohydrates leads insulin to aggressively increase fat storage, while at the same time preventing the release of energy producing stored fats. When the body is unable to access stored fat, it’s very difficult, if not impossible to lose weight. By eliminating simple carbs and focusing on nutrient dense carbohydrates, you can moderate the insulin response and eat enough to dispel hunger, increase energy, and lose body fat without feeling deprived or counting calories.

Over time high insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance, a state in which cells do not respond properly to insulin and don’t easily absorb glucose from the blood stream. The body responds by releasing ever increasing amounts of insulin to aid cellular absorption of the blood glucose, and increasing the risk for developing symptoms such as fatigue, obesity, increased blood pressure, and depression. Because insulin has a role in the process that regulates inflammation, insulin resistance is a risk factor in the development of prediabetes, diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Losing weight, increasing physical activity and concentrating on a diet low in simple carbs and higher in complex carbs can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and restore the body’s normal response to insulin. To consume healthier carbohydrates, opt for unprocessed whole grains, starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, beans and pulses. Supplements that help stabilize blood sugar include:

Alpha-lipoic acid–  ALA is an antioxidant that improves the cells’ response to insulin. Studies have shown that ALA appears to enhance insulin sensitivity, especially in those with diabetes type 2 or metabolic syndrome.

Chromium – This essential mineral helps to stabilize blood sugar and plays a role in how insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Studies have found that chromium supplements may reduce blood sugar levels, as well as the amount of insulin required by diabetics.

CoQ10 – As a powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 helps to re-energize the mitochondria in the heart cells, where energy metabolism occurs. Some studies have found that CoQ10 may improve both heart health and blood sugar control.

Magnesium – Low magnesium levels are often observed in those with high insulin and blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that low magnesium levels may play a role in preventing insulin dysregulation and may be highly protective for those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Cinnamon – Cinnamon has been shown to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine products to support proper blood sugar levels and overall wellness:

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This free radical fighter supports various metabolic processes, healthy glucose metabolism, and healthy vascular and blood vessel function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Chromium Picolinate...Chromium Picolinate by Douglas Laboratories – This biologically active form of chromium, known as GTF (glucose tolerance factor), increases the effectiveness of insulin, influencing blood sugar, carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

CoQ10 ST-100™CoQ10 ST-100™ by Metagenics – This high quality, stable formulation provides highly bioavailable CoQ10 for support of energy production, cardiovascular health, overall wellness and healthy aging. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Vanadium Complex...Vanadium Complex with Cinnulin PF by Progressive Labs – This blend of natural ingredients supports glucose metabolism, insulin production and sensitivity, normalized blood sugar and reduced sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

 

Cinnamon Force by New ChapterCinnamon Force by New Chapter Save 15% This proprietary blend of supercritical cinnamon assists in the conversion of glucose into energy, and promotes healthy weight management by helping glucose create immediate cellular energy, discouraging stored potential energy in the form of fat deposits. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/
Prediabetes and Insulin Resistance. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/types/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
Normal Regulation of Blood Glucose. http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/diabetes/normal-regulation-blood-glucose
8 Reasons Why Carbs Help You Lose Weight. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20359383,00.html
Insulin Resistance. http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/heart/insulin-resistance/
Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215

 

 

Reducing Inflammation with Traditional Herbs

Trad_HerbsJacquie Eubanks RN BSNChronic inflammation is now recognized as an underlying contributor to life altering and life threatening chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, periodontal and autoimmune diseases. Unlike short term, rapid onset acute inflammation, which occurs when there is a an injury, infection or illness, chronic low-grade, invisible inflammation can slowly simmer for months or years, draining energy, weakening the immune system and triggering a variety of conditions and diseases. Research now shows that successful aging appears to be related to an optimal functioning of the immune system, which regulates the immune-inflammatory responses.

While there is evidence that our genetic makeup plays a role in our predisposition to acquire health problems, including the development of systemic inflammation, your health may not be genetically fixed. Lifestyle factors have a significant impact on wellness. Those who wish to cool the fires of chronic inflammation and maintain their health well into their senior years should take a hard look at their diet and other lifestyle choices. Lifestyle factors that play a part in cellular inflammation include the usual suspects — the standard American diet, smoking, obesity, chronic stress, poor sleep habits, excess alcohol consumption and a sedentary lifestyle.

Jack Chellum, author of the book The Inflammation Syndrome, proposes that diet is largely to blame for the increase in inflammatory diseases. He suggests that “the typical western diet now contains 30 times more pro-inflammatory nutrients than it did a century ago,” and concludes “people have become more nutritionally and biochemically primed for powerful, out-of-control inflammatory reactions.” Once the body is primed for inflammation, environmental stressors or a smoking habit can trigger an onset before the body has time to cool down on its own. Mr. Chellum suggests that strong inflammation producing components include obesity, lack of regular exercise, over-exercising to the point of injury, and dietary imbalances including an inadequate intake of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which are used by the body to manufacture anti-inflammatory compounds.

While conventional medical treatments to reduce inflammation typically address pain and suppress the immune response with OTC and pharmaceutical medications, they often come with the risk of serious side effects and don’t address the underlying disease processes.   Moderate exercise, losing weight, reducing stress, and eating better can help to squelch the body’s inflammatory response. As dietary changes and nutritional supplements can help to normalize the immune response, some are looking past the medicine cabinet and to the kitchen for natural pain relief, which can be found in anti-inflammatory foods and spices. One reason the Mediterranean eating style has become so popular is that the diet avoids inflammation-producing sugary, packaged and fried foods and includes of lots of anti-inflammatory components, including omega-3’s, colorful antioxidant fruits and veggies and moderate amounts of red wine.

Zest up your meals with these anti-inflammatory and analgesic spices and herbs:

Ginger – In Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, ginger has been used for thousands of years to restore balance or homeostasis, as it is believed that inflammation is the result of an imbalance of bodily functions. Scientific research has shown that gingerol, the active bioactive compound of ginger, has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties that can aid digestion and help reduce nausea, muscle pain and soreness. Studies have shown that ginger can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and may help prevent joint inflammation and damage.  

Turmeric – Utilized as both a flavoring and a traditional medicinal herb, turmeric contains powerful bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids. Curcumin, the main active ingredient found in turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and is strongly anti-inflammatory. Studies show that the anti-inflammatory compounds found in turmeric effectively block enzymes that cause pain, swelling and inflammation and positively affect arthritic symptoms by decreasing overall pain and stiffness.

Cinnamon – In addition to being a delicious ingredient of many foods and drinks, cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon helps to prevent inflammation by blocking the formation of compounds that activate the immune response and trigger inflammation. Cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and to help prevent blood sugar spikes following a meal.

Garlic – Garlic contains allicin, which has many proven therapeutic benefits. Used as a medicinal since the time of the Pharaohs, garlic is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and antiviral. A long term study showed garlic’s anti-arthritic properties may help reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. In addition, garlic has been shown to boost the immune system and have positive effects on blood pressure and blood lipids.

Pepper- Peppers, especially chili peppers, contain capsaicinoids, which have extraordinary anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer benefits. Research has shown that capsaicin taken orally in whole form or as a supplement or applied topically can relieve arthritis pain, while it’s potent anti-inflammatory effects help fight chronic inflammation.

Rosemary – Rich in active compounds, rosemary is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic in nature. As an analgesic, rosemary may be taken orally to act as a natural pain reliever or applied topically, to reduce muscle and arthritis pain. In addition to its ability to reduce inflammation of the muscles, blood vessels and joints, rosemary helps protect the cardiovascular and immune systems, boosts memory and improves circulation.

Professional Supplement Center offers many safe and effective, high quality anti-inflammatory herbal formulas:

Ginger extract

Ginger Extract by Pure Encapsulations – Each capsule contains 500 mg of ginger extract standardized to contain 5% gingerols. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

 

Cinnamon ForceCinnamon Force™ by New Chapter – This proprietary cinnamon blend contains both cinnamon bark and supercritical cinnamon extract in a whole food, naturally gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

 

C3 Curcumin Complex

C3 Curcumin Complex by Designs for Health – One capsule contains 400 mg of Curcumin C3 Complex® standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.  

 

 

Rosemary

Rosemary by Herb Pharm – This certified organic rosemary oil is hand-harvested and freshly extracted from rosemary leaf tips. Plant based 100% organic formula.

 

 

Super Garlic 6000

Super Garlic 6000® by Metagenics – This super concentrated raw garlic supplement yields 6000 mcg of allicin per tablet. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

 

Curcumin 500 with Bioperine®Curcumin 500 with Bioperine® by Pure Encapsulations – Each capsule delivers 500 mg of turmeric, standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids plus Bioperine® black pepper extract standardized to contain 95% piperine. Research shows that black pepper has the potential to enhance bioavailability and promote absorption of curcuminoids. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

References:
The genetics of chronic inflammatory diseases. http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/R1/R101.full
15 top Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices. http://studiobotanica.com/15-top-anti-inflammatory-herbs-spices/
Cooking Up Relief: Turmeric and Other Anti-Inflammatory Spices. http://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/turmeric-and-anti-inflammatory-
Chronic Inflammation: Reduce It to Protect Your Health. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/articles/2009/11/02/chronic-inflammation-reduce-it-to-protect-your-health
The Enemy Inside You. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/chronic-inflammation
Chronic Inflammation: The Silent Enemy Burning Within. http://womensinternational.com/connections/inflammation.html
Inflammation and genetics: an insight in the centenarian model. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21846209
A Genetic Script for Disease? https://www.gluegrant.org/script.htm

The Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

spices and herbsBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

It’s not surprising that spices and herbs enrich the taste of your food but did you know that they may also hold the power to improve the general quality of your diet and optimize your overall health?  Botanically classified as fruits and vegetables, spices and herbs allow you to enhance the flavor of your food while limiting the use of salt, sugar or fat.  Many contain micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.  Some are rich in carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols, known for their cell protecting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

An herb, which may be used in either fresh or dried form, can  be defined as any leafy plant with seeds or flowers that is used as food, medicine or perfume.  Spices, which are generally found in dried form, are categorized as any part of a plant other than the leaves such as bark, stems, roots, berries, seeds or buds that are primarily used for seasoning, coloring, and preserving food but have medicinal and cosmetic uses as well. 

Many herbs and spices contain powerful antioxidants, which fight free radical cell damage and strengthen your ability to fight infection and disease.  Certain herbs and spices are thought to play a role in fighting inflammation, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.  Others help to boost the immune system, help to regulate blood sugar, or aid in controlling cholesterol levels.

The following herbs are believed to have significant health promoting benefits:

Turmeric Related to ginger and rich in essential vitamins and minerals, this powerhouse spice has been used for centuries as both a medicine and a food.  Mounting evidence supports a wide range of benefits including disease fighting potential in the prevention of conditions such as anemia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and various malignant diseases.  Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antimutagenic properties, which may help protect and improve the health of all body organs. 

Cinnamon – High in antioxidants, cinnamon is both antifungal and antibacterial and contains iron, calcium, manganese and fiber.  Current studies suggest that cinnamon may help to lower the negative effects of high fat meals and may help improve glucose and lipid levels in type 2 diabetics.  Researchers at Tel Aviv University concluded that an extract found in cinnamon bark contains properties that may inhibit cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Ginger –  This powerfully efficient antioxidant can relieve stomach upset and nausea especially when caused by morning or motion sickness and has also been shown to relieve severe nausea associated with chemotherapy.  Ginger helps to regulate blood flow and its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties may help ease arthritic symptoms.  Ginger contains essential nutrients, B-vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. 

Holy Basil (Tulsi) –  A relative of sweet basil, studies show that Holy Basil may be an effective stress reducer and may help reduce the negative effects of stress on the body. The leaves contain high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K and lutein and zeaxanthin, known to  support eye health.  Holy Basil’s mineral content includes potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium.  Tulsi oil has strong antiseptic properties that may offer protection from disease-causing organisms such as bacteria and fungi. 

Garlic –  Garlic is a rich source of many note-worthy phytonutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals including potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and heart-healthy selenium.  According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, garlic offers effective cancer fighting benefits.  The 70 active phytochemicals found in garlic have been shown to reduce blood pressure and help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries benefitting cardiovascular health.   

Meriva-SR Curcumin Phytosome (SF775) by Thorne Research –  This unique, patented, time-release curcumin supplement is complexed with phosphatidylcholine for superior bioavailability.  Curcumin’s potent antioxidants support joint health and cardiovascular function and aid in maintaining a normal inflammatory response. 

Cinnamon Force by New Chapter –  This full spectrum, dual supercritical cinnamon extract helps to maintain blood sugar already within the normal range and may be used to promote healthy weight management. 

Ginger Extract by Pure Encapsulations This standardized extract provides nutritional support for the digestive, cardiovascular and circulatory systems.

Holy Basil Trinity Blend by Enzymatic Therapy This triple blend combines three unique standardized extracts of Holy Basil to provide a powerful and natural response to everyday stresses and help to elevate your mood and spirit. 

Super Garlic 6000 by Metagenics –  This ultra concentrated supplement delivers high potency-preserved allicin to support healthy blood lipids and provide cardiovascular and immune system support.  The unique enteric coating is designed to dissolve in the intestine rather than the stomach to eliminate garlic odor.