Keep your blood glu­cose level in check

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - World Diabetes Day -

MALAYSIAN meals such as rice, noo­dles, roti canai and cakes com­prise mainly car­bo­hy­drates. Car­bo­hy­drates are our main source of en­ergy. When in­gested, they are bro­ken down into glu­cose and en­ter the blood­stream from the di­ges­tive tract, in­creas­ing the blood glu­cose level.

Un­der healthy con­di­tions, the pan­creas will re­lease a hor­mone called in­sulin to help cells through­out the body ab­sorb glu­cose and use it for en­ergy. Once glu­cose moves out of the blood into the cells, the blood glu­cose level de­creases.

The prob­lem with Malaysians is that their car­bo­hy­drate in­take is higher than the rec­om­mended amount.

Ac­cord­ing to the Malaysian Adult Nu­tri­tion Sur­vey 2003, Malaysian adults con­sumed an av­er­age of 21g of ta­ble sugar daily.

De­spite the Health Min­istry call­ing for peo­ple to re­duce over­weight prob­lems, sugar in­take and smok­ing, live healthy and ac­tive life­styles, and con­sume health­ier di­ets with fewer fats and more fruits and veg­eta­bles, the num­ber of di­a­bet­ics in Malaysia keeps in­creas­ing.

Se­den­tari­ness and poor life­style choices can im­pact di­a­betes man­age­ment. When di­a­betes is un­con­trolled, it can lead to nu­mer­ous health com­pli­ca­tions such as ar­te­rioscle­ro­sis, retinopa­thy and neu­ropa­thy.

As a di­a­betic, be­sides eat­ing healthily and ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments can play a role in help­ing you man­age your blood glu­cose level.

Al­pha lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is an an­tiox­i­dant that can help con­trol blood glu­cose lev­els and prevent pre­ma­ture age­ing. An­tiox­i­dants come in two va­ri­eties: wa­ter-sol­u­ble and fat-sol­u­ble.

A few, such as ALA, are both. This dual na­ture al­lows ALA to work through­out the body and pro­tect it from dam­age caused by free rad­i­cals. This abil­ity is the rea­son al­pha lipoic acid is called the uni­ver­sal an­tiox­i­dant.

In Ger­many, al­pha lipoic acid is ap­proved for the treat­ment of di­a­betic neu­ro­pathic pain.

Chromium pi­col­i­nate and bi­otin

Chromium is an­other nu­tri­ent that may help main­tain nor­mal blood glu­cose lev­els. It is an es­sen­tial trace min­eral re­quired for car­bo­hy­drate and lipid me­tab­o­lism. The body can­not make chromium. It must be ob­tained through diet or sup­ple­men­ta­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, nu­tri­tional chromium, which is found in minute quan­ti­ties in food such as or­gan meat, oys­ters, mush­rooms and broc­coli, is poorly ab­sorbed by the in­testi­nal tract.

One way to main­tain suf­fi­cient blood chromium lev­els is through sup­ple­men­ta­tion with chromium pi­col­i­nate. Un­like other forms of chromium, chromium pi­col­i­nate has a sta­ble chem­i­cal struc­ture and good ab­sorp­tion. Chromium pi­col­i­nate can have pos­i­tive ef­fects in di­a­betes man­age­ment.

Bi­otin, on the other hand, is a wa­ter­sol­u­ble B vi­ta­min that plays an es­sen­tial role in car­bo­hy­drate and lipid me­tab­o­lism. Bi­otin can stim­u­late in­sulin se­cre­tion, he­patic glu­cose up­take and sup­pres­sion of glu­cose syn­the­sis in the pres­ence of high-plasma glu­cose, as in the cases of pre­di­a­betes and di­a­betes.

Be­sides help­ing you man­age high blood glu­cose lev­els, a com­bi­na­tion of chromium pi­col­i­nate and bi­otin may help bring down lev­els of haemoglobin A1c – the ad­vanced gly­ca­tion end prod­uct as­so­ci­ated with long-term ex­po­sure to el­e­vated sugar con­cen­tra­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Food and Agri­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion, sugar con­sump­tion in Malaysia is one of the high­est in the world.

Con­sum­ing too much sugar can lead to weight gain, di­a­betes and in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, among oth­ers.

There­fore, in ad­di­tion to re­duc­ing our sugar in­take and lead­ing healthy life­styles, sup­ple­men­ta­tion may help us man­age our blood glu­cose lev­els bet­ter.

This in­for­ma­tion is brought to you by Cam­bert (M) Sdn Bhd. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 03-5638 3660 (Mon­day to Fri­day, 9am to 5pm) or e-mail en­quiry@cam­

In some cases, sup­ple­men­ta­tion and re­duc­ing sugar in­take can help di­a­bet­ics man­age blood glu­cose lev­els bet­ter.

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