Monday, January 20, 2014
Chinese herbal medicine slows the development of type 2 diabetes, study claims
Restraint in eating is all that is needed to control pre-diabetes
Traditional Chinese herbal medicines can stave off the onset of diabetes, a new study has revealed. A clinical trial found herbs were comparable to prescriptions for controlling pre-diabetes.
Researchers say their findings show traditional Chinese herbal medicines hold promise for slowing the progression from pre-diabetes to an official diabetes diagnosis.
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when a person has developed elevated blood sugar levels, but glucose levels have not yet risen to the point of developing type 2 diabetes.
People who are pre-diabetic face a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke.
One of the study's authors, Doctor Chun-Su Yuan, of the University of Chicago, said: 'With diabetes evolving into a serious public health burden worldwide, it is crucial to take steps to stem the flood of cases.
'Patients often struggle to make the necessary lifestyle changes to control blood sugar levels, and current medications have limitations and can have adverse gastrointestinal side effects.
'Traditional Chinese herbs may offer a new option for managing blood sugar levels, either alone or in combination with other treatments.'
During the trial, 389 people at 11 research sites in China were randomly assigned to take either a capsule containing a mixture of 10 Chinese herbal medicines or a placebo.
For a year, they took capsules of either the Chinese herb mixture, called Tianqi, or the placebo three times a day before meals.
All the participants received a month of lifestyle education at the outset of the trial and met with nutritionists several times during the course of the study. Their glucose tolerance was measured on a quarterly basis.
At the end of the trial, 36 participants in the Tianqi group and 56 in the placebo group had developed diabetes.
The analysis found taking Tianqi reduced the risk of diabetes by 32.1 per cent compared with the placebo, after adjusting for age and gender.
The overall reduction in risk was comparable to that found in studies of diabetes medications acarbose and metformin, and study participants reported few side effects from the Tianqi herbs.
Tianqi includes several herbs that have been shown to lower blood glucose levels and improve control of blood glucose levels after meals.
One of the study's lead authors, Doctor Xiaolin Tong, of Guang'anmen Hospital in Beijing, China, said: 'Few controlled clinical trials have examined traditional Chinese medicine's impact on diabetes, and the findings from our study showed this approach can be very useful in slowing the disease's progression.
'More research is needed to evaluate the role Chinese herbal medicine can play in preventing and controlling diabetes.'
The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
First tobacco, then booze, then sugar: the control freaks who would happily ban everything
By James Delingpole
In this week's Spectator I have a rant about all those pressure groups you see quoted in all the papers pretty much every day. Some are small, obscure and marginal – Bright Blue, the think tank for Lib Dems who want to play at being Tories, comes to mind – while some sound superficially respectable – the British Medical Association, say. What they all have in common is that they tend, on the whole, to lend far, far too much credibility to a hardcore of professional activists whose tedious and unhelpful opinions we would most of us do better to ignore completely.
Christopher Snowdon is very good on this. In the last month, he has been fighting mano a mano against the health campaigners who think we're experiencing an "obesity epidemic", the meddlers who – on no solid evidence whatsoever – would have us impose a minimum price on alcohol, and Action On Sugar, the hysterics who argue that "sugar is the new tobacco" and who previously (under the name Consensus Action on Salt and Health) tried to stop food tasting of anything.
Can you imagine campaigns as ludicrous as this being launched, say, in the 1970s or 1980s? No you can't because not even the most extreme killjoy zealot would have dared. With bans, as with so many of the fascistic gestures you associate with the authoritarian left, it's a Pastor Niemoller thing:
First they came for the smokers, but I said nothing for I thought (like Jeremy Clarkson did) it might help me give up; next they came for the boozers and I thought "well I can always drink at home"; next they came for the salt and the sugar and anything deep fried…
Or to put it another way, it works according to the same principles as the "thin end of the wedge" or the "slippery slope."
Left-liberals often deny that slippery slope exists. "Well of course we're not interested in banning everything. Just the really dangerous stuff. Tobacco." Then, of course, when they've pretty much regulated tobacco out of existence their locust eyes turn to new territory. Mm: alcohol. Mm: sugar. Mm. salt… etc
Snowdon has found a perfect example of this in a pamphlet produced by the BMA in 1985
The 'thin end of the wedge…'?
A further deception is the industry's appeal: "Where will they stop?" The industry argues that if advertising is stopped because tobacco is dangerous, then advertising for cars, motor cycles, alcohol, sugar, aircraft travel and any other potentially dangerous product could also be banned.
All of these products can endanger health, but they are dangerous only when abused. Tobacco is the only advertised product which is hazardous when used as intended.
With the BMA now demanding a total advertising ban not only on alcohol but also on a whole range of food, the author of this document must be feeling like a bit of a chump today.
Nope. He's still very much at it. Now a professor of public health based in Australia, Dr Simon Chapman is if anything more zealous than ever. As well as being the scourge of smokers he has also become the scourge of people who want a good night's sleep, arguing that anyone who complains about wind turbine noise is – essentially – just imagining it.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:25 AM