Connecting the dots on Type II diabetes

We hear, appropriately enough, a great deal about the Type II diabetes epidemic. Type II diabetes is essentially a metabolism disorder. So it makes sense even to mainstream medicine that diet and nutrition play a key role. Unfortunately, mainstream “experts” have been focusing on the wrong dietary culprits.

I recently reported on a great debate that took place among experts at a meeting regarding the role of salt and fat consumption in Type II diabetes. We need to get our heads out of the rabbit holes of contemporary research and focus on the real culprits in Type II diabetes–sugar and carbs.

There are some recent findings from around the world of medical research that help us connect the dots…

First, it’s worth repeating–since some internet experts still haven’t gotten the message–the government finally admitted its guidance to cut dietary cholesterol and saturated fats was all wrong, all along. Studies show men and women who cut out fats in foods ended up consuming foods with more sugars and carbs. Of course the processed food industry aided and abetted this practice. Those long-term, misbegotten government recommendations only served to move people onto a more “diabetogenic diet.”

Second, it’s also worth repeating, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs increase the risk of developing Type II diabetes. So, now the mainstream has moved onto another debate about balancing the supposed benefit of taking statin drugs vs. the real risk of getting Type II diabetes from them. Ironically, the evidence for the heart benefits of statins is very weak. Meanwhile, Type II diabetes itself has become the leading cause of cardio-metabolic heart disease.

Biologists who study basic cellular metabolism now focus on understanding mitochondria as the key to preventing many chronic diseases, including Type II diabetes. You see, for healthy metabolism, sugar in the blood enters every tissue cell in the body, where the mitochondria burn it to generate energy. Insulin drives sugar from the blood into the tissues. In Type II diabetes, the tissues become resistant to the effects of insulin. Also, when the mitochondria don’t work well to burn sugars, the sugars may back up in the blood, contributing high blood sugar and low energy.

It turns out statin drugs poison mitochondria, interfere with sugar metabolism, and interfere with cholesterol metabolism. Which appears to be contributing to our epidemic of Type II diabetes.

Now–a brand new study shows another major category of commonly overused drugs may increase the risk of Type II diabetes as well.

For this study, researchers assembled antibiotic prescriptions for more than 170,000 men and women with Type II diabetes. They matched these participants with 1.3 million healthy controls.

Overall, they found men and women who developed Type II diabetes had an average of 0.8 antibiotic prescriptions per year prior to their diagnosis. By comparison, men and women who didn’t develop Type II diabetes only had an average of 0.5 prescriptions for antibiotics per year.

Plus, those who had five or more prescriptions for antibiotics were about 50 percent more likely to get Type II diabetes compared to those who had only one or no prescriptions.

Here’s another interesting point…

The research only counted filled antibiotic prescriptions. But we know men and women only take about one-third of all antibiotic drugs according to prescription. (One-third of filled prescriptions, they don’t take at all. Perhaps because of side effects, or the infections clear up on their own. And for another third, they only partially complete taking the drugs according to prescriptions.)

So actual consumption of antibiotics by patients in this study was most likely a lot lower than indicated by numbers of prescriptions alone, which means the drugs’ effect was probably a lot stronger than shown.

Why would taking an antibiotic be such a strong risk factor for developing Type II diabetes?

Well, previous research shows antibiotics harm the normal gut bacteria, which may impair the body’s ability to metabolize sugar and can lead to obesity. And, of course, obesity itself is a major risk factor for developing Type II diabetes.

Finally, another new study shows taking the drug acetaminophen (Tylenol) causes false high blood sugar readings–which creates all kinds of problems in managing and monitoring diabetes. Big pharma has made Tylenol the number one OTC pain reliever, and doctors consider it the first-line treatment for any number of common pain conditions. Although in terms of the science on its poor safety and effectiveness, its popularity remains a mystery to me.

Connecting the dots requires more communication and cooperation among our hyper-specialized medical experts and dozens of different self-interested government bureaucracies.

Or maybe we could just use some common sense–the one thing not common anymore among the academic-industrial-government medical complex.

Sources:

  1. “Use of Antibiotics and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Case-Control Study,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (press.endocrine.org) 8/27/2015
  1. “Effect of Acetaminophen on CGM Glucose in an Outpatient Setting,” Diabetes Care (care.diabetesjournal.org) 8/12/2015

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