By Dr. Harry Pruess, M.D.
The last two reports in the present series have dealt largely with the subject of stress and the natural dietary supplement, astaxanthin. I am certain most of you are familiar with stress related to the mind-body in some form; because unfortunately, most of us live daily under punishing pressure-producing conditions. It follows that rightly or wrongly, stress is commonly blamed for a considerable portion of our health problems. Some difficulties lie in the fact that numerous problems, whatever the cause, bring on stress; and in return, stress often magnifies the original difficulty or even brings on additional ones. In most cases, stress can be so subtle as to be essentially ignored. Certainly, it characteristically goes unrecognized at our yearly physicals check-ups; and certainly is not recognized after assessing blood counts and chemistries. Yet, over time, pressures produced by stress can take their toll.
One example of these emanates from the glucose-insulin system. We’re all familiar with the devastating effects of diabetes, especially the most prevalent form, type 2, that is associated with poor lifestyle habits in diet and exercise. An irrefutable fact is that diabetes associates with obesity, high blood pressure, and excesses of circulating “bad fats” that lead to poor cardiovascular health and premature aging. Two basic disturbances that create many of these problems are high circulating levels of glucose and insulin — root causes for many of the disturbing stresses. These two constituents rise in the circulation, because the available insulin does not work properly; and there is a complementary increase to overcome this situation. Appropriately, this condition is referred to as “insulin resistance.” Suffice it to say, insulin resistance was detailed in the last report. In any case, medical staff characteristically takes insulin resistance seriously only when fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels exceed an established checkpoint — say 100 mg/dl.
Typically at reaching this checkpoint, most health care providers then recommend lifestyle changes in diet and exercise and ultimately, when necessary, follow up with drugs. Actually, the lifestyle changes are the basis of a good treatment regimen, but, unfortunately, not much effort goes into assuring their implementation. At one time or another, the public does try these lifestyle changes – lose weight, exercise more, but the efforts are more often than not, short-lived. Clearly, more encouragement is in order. Then too, the question arises whether these conservative measures should be started much earlier. Considering drug usage, I always warn individuals to be careful of anti diabetic drugs, since they often lower blood sugar but increase the incidence of cardiovascular problems. Sometimes they are necessary, but if they can be avoided, that’s a plus.
What would you think if I raised the question whether mild forms of insulin resistance usually ignored could over the long run affect your overall health, especially, the cardiovascular system? By doing such, a healthy lifespan could be compromised. I have such evidence and will share it with you in subsequent reports, however at this time, I will leave you with the following thoughts. In truth are we all “diabetics” – understandably some possessing milder forms than others? Accordingly, do the majority of us need this awareness to avoid any severe future adverse outcomes? Preventive measures to really be effective take time – your lifetime. Before going into more specifics, the following advice is prudently given.
As to general thoughts on diet, be conservative – limit calories by consuming less fats and carbohydrates, avoid rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like sugars, take in plenty of fibers to slow carbohydrate absorption. Exercise regularly – walking is good. Importantly, I believe that safe, natural dietary supplements can aid optimal lifestyle changes and are great accompaniments in many programs. Astaxanthin is one such ideal addition that functions under many stressful conditions, particularly to overcome insulin resistance and many of its manifestations. Combining safe natural, insulin sensitizers such as astaxanthin and supplements that successfully reduce fat accumulation can be key to a successful regimen. The following reports will deal with evidence to support the last statements.