Track­ing Science Di­a­betes fighters

Novem­ber is di­a­betes aware­ness awaren month. Here, two new things to know now

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MADE TO MEA­SURE

Stay­ing ac­tive as we age has shown many health ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing for those with di­a­betes – al­most 50 per cent of whom in Canada are over 65. And, when you con­sider that 90 per cent of all di­a­betes suf­fer­ers are over the age of 45, it’s time to make mat­ters into our own hands. Get­ting your mus­cles mov­ing, for ex­am­ple, helps the body bet­ter man­age in­sulin. On the preven­tion front, find­ings out of In­dia have shown that a brisk walk for 30 min­utes daily can re­duce the risk of the dis­ease by one-third.

Plus, re­searchers from New York State’s Bing­ham­ton Univer­sity are work­ing on a glu­cose mon­i­tor that can be worn while work­ing out. Un­like more un­wieldy con­ven­tional blood glu­cose mon­i­tors, the Bing­ham­ton sen­sor is worn like a Band-Aid and mea­sures glu­cose lev­els in the users’ sweat. Be­cause you are mon­i­tor­ing your lev­els while work­ing out, it could help pre­vent ex­er­cise-in­duced hy­po­glycemia – a con­di­tion that oc­curs when the sugar lev­els in your blood are too low. Symp­toms can in­clude dizzi­ness, blurred vi­sion, headache and loss of co-or­di­na­tion, anx­i­ety, ir­ri­tabil­ity and heart pal­pi­ta­tions.

SEAL OF AP­PROVAL

Also im­por­tant for di­a­betes man­age­ment is diet and a new omega-3 sup­ple­ment is tar­get­ing the dis­ease’s most com­mon side ef­fect: di­a­betic neu­ropa­thy. More than half of peo­ple with Type 1 or Type 2 will ex­pe­ri­ence neu­ropa­thy, or nerve dam­age, that re­sults from pro­longed high blood sugar. Most com­mon in the feet and hands, the con­di­tion can cause ghost sen­sa­tions, pain and im­paired mo­tor func­tion at its worst.

Nu­tri­tional sci­en­tist Evan Lewis, a former mem­ber of Canada’s na­tional sail­ing team, orig­i­nally de­vel­oped Nu­tarniq Es­sen­tials to im­prove nerve func­tion

among elite ath­letes. Be­cause mus­cles rely on nerve mes­sages to per­form, help­ing nerves work faster and fa­tigue less quickly can be ad­van­ta­geous when win­ning comes down to hun­dredths of a sec­ond, he ex­plained. The ath­letes he stud­ied showed im­prove­ment within weeks, in­spir­ing Lewis to think big­ger. “I said, ‘What about the peo­ple at the op­po­site end of the health spec­trum – who aren’t ath­letes but who need help so their nerves func­tion bet­ter? So they don’t hurt as much. So they can walk up the stairs. So they can im­prove qual­ity of life.’”

Lewis tracked 40 di­a­betes pa­tients over 12 months and not only did their symp­toms re­mains ta­ble but also, on av­er­age, they had nerve re­gen­er­a­tion of 30 per cent. To de­velop his sup­ple­ment’s in­gre­di­ents, Lewis first looked at his­tor­i­cal prece­dence: re­search done in the 1970s on omega-3 fatty acid con­sump­tion among Inuit pop­u­la­tions who showed an en­vi­able ab­sence of chronic dis­ease. “Every­body was talk­ing about the fish they eat – but they didn’t just eat fish. They ate seals as well.” He found that seal oil has a higher con­cen­tra­tion of omega-3, in­clud­ing DPA – a form not found in fish oil. To en­hance ab­sorp­tion, the sup­ple­ment is taken via drop­per un­der the tongue. Its only preser­va­tive is nat­u­ral vi­ta­min E and, in case you’re hav­ing cod liver oil flash­backs, Lewis says the only taste is from lemon oil used as sub­tle flavour­ing. $60 (150 ml), nu­tarniq.com

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