Diabetes Awareness MonthDiabetes has been with us for at least 3,500 years, according to ancient writings. Diabetes is derived from the ancient Greek for “pass through” because of its most obvious initial sign: frequent urination. A name that did not stick was “honey urine,” describing the sugar in urine that tended to draw ants.

The first century CE brought some more complete descriptions, but it was also noted that the prognosis, as might be expected, was grim.

Diabetes and its relationship to the pancreas was discovered about 130 years ago, when researchers noted that dogs with a removed pancreas quickly developed the symptoms of diabetes and died shortly thereafter. About 100 years ago, the biochemical insulin was hypothesized as being produced by specialized cells that would later be discovered and named “islets of Langerhans.”

Experiments with dogs determined that diabetic dogs given extracts of the islets of Langerhans from healthy dogs did pretty well. The first human patients received insulin treatments in 1922.

It is worth noting that Best and Banning of Eli Lilly (the early insulin producer) made the patent available to all without charge. Contrast that with a recent company that developed a hepatitis-C drug and chose to charge $89,000 for a three month course of treatment even though the hard material costs of the drug are closer to a few hundred dollars.

Diabetes comes in three “flavors”: insulin-dependent Type I, insulin-reistant Type II and brain-specific Type III. Much has been written about Type I and II, so I will make just a couple of comments about those. Type I diabetes and celiac disease share several contributing genes, so it is good to also carefully check for gluten sensitivity if Type I shows up. Type II diabetes develops from several contributing factors, including genetics and lifestyle. Lifestyle has been identified as a most important component and many people have reversed their condition with a combination of diet and exercise. This puts Type II diabetes in the category of what I call “SID” or “self-inflicted disease.” The negative effect of improper diet and exercise patterns has reached into the child population; Type II is no longer referred to as “adult-onset diabetes.”  Type II diabetes is a complicating factor for just about every other disease — if you are unwilling or unable to make changes in your diet and exercise regimen and have climbing blood sugar, you might consider investing in a chain of dialysis clinics. Supplements to help control blood sugar can help, but without diet and exercise changes, no amount of amino acids or herbs will have much effect.

Type III or brain-specific diabetes has only been recently described. It isn’t fully understood, but here is what is important to know for now: It appears the brain also makes insulin, and that this insulin is essential for memory and new brain cell production. We already know that people with Type II diabetes are twice as likely to develop brain problems, including Alzheimer’s. Dementia and Alzheimer’s rates have increased at a rate that mirrors in the increase in cases of Type II diabetes. We cant’ say that Type II causes Alzheimer’s, but we can conclude that they have similar roots. Anything that disrupts normal insulin patterns will have the tendency to accelerate brain degeneration.

Annual obesity-related medical expenses are as high as $350 billion in the U.S. alone, and Ebola gets all the press.

Bottom line? I am going to make the assumption that those reading this are already making efforts to improve their health, so congratulations, and keep it up. Improving your health takes time and energy. Continue to modify your diet to include fewer junk food items and more healthy, organic, free range and non-GMO foods. Get some form of aerobic and weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis. Keep your physiology dialed in with frequent blood tests and appropriate supplement therapy.

If you are taking all those steps and still finding problems with brain function, we recommend supplements like DMG NeuroGenix by BetterGenix, Lipoic Acid by Vital Nutrients, NAC by Integrative Therapeutics and CoQ-10 100 by Karuna.