Thursday, April 06, 2006

Stay Ahead of the Curve and Prevent Complications

Hi everyone! Public service time. :o) I'm writing to tell you about a groundbreaking study that is underway at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) by Stephen Gitelman, MD and Eric Huang, MD. The study is following adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes who take a vitamin supplement called Alpha Lipoic Acid. Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant which has been shown to prevent, and in some cases even reverse, diabetic complications in patients with Type 2 Diabetes (Evans, Goldfine, Maddux & Grodsky, 2002; study results printed below).

Drs. Gitelman and Huang are testing whether Alpha Lipoic Acid has similar benefits to patients with Type 1 Diabetes. Although the results aren't all in and the study hasn't yet been published, the results are quite promising. I'd hate to print any further details and be wrong... BUT... I was convinced enough to go out and buy a bottle at our local pharmacy. You can also buy this supplement at any vitamin store. The adult dose is 1 capsule daily, but you can easily break the capsule and sprinkle half the contents into a bowl of cereal or a cup of yogurt. The contents of the capsule are flavorless, so your child will be unlikely to notice it. It is not a drug, only an antioxidant, so you do not risk ANYTHING by adding this supplement to your child's (or your own!) diabetes regimen.

Have a great day, everyone! :o)


1. Endocr Rev. 2002 Oct;23(5):599-622.
Oxidative stress and stress-activated signaling pathways: a unifying hypothesis of type 2 diabetes.
Evans JL, Goldfine ID, Maddux BA, Grodsky GM.
University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

In both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the late diabetic complications in nerve, vascular endothelium, and kidney arise from chronic elevations of glucose and possibly other metabolites including free fatty acids (FFA). Recent evidence suggests that common stress-activated signaling pathways such as nuclear factor-kappaB, p38 MAPK, and NH2-terminal Jun kinases/stress-activated protein kinases underlie the development of these late diabetic complications. In addition, in type 2 diabetes, there is evidence that the activation of these same stress pathways by glucose and possibly FFA leads to both insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. Thus, we propose a unifying hypothesis whereby hyperglycemia and FFA-induced activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB, p38 MAPK, and NH2-terminal Jun kinases/stress-activated protein kinases stress pathways, along with the activation of the advanced glycosy ation end-products/receptor for advanced glycosylation end-products, protein kinase C, and sorbitol stress pathways, plays a key role in causing late complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, along with insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes. Studies with antioxidants such as vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, and N-acetylcysteine suggest that new strategies may become available to treat these conditions.