Dr. Barry Sears
President of Zone Labs
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Living Web Site for books like The Anti-Inflammation Zone, The Omega-Rx Zone, Zone Perfect Meals in Minutes, and more!
OMEGA 3 BENEFITS
Type 2 Diabetes -- Are You at
As you may already know, people with adult-onset, or type
2, diabetes overproduce insulin because their cells have become
resistant to insulin’s action of driving nutrients into
cells. As a result, the pancreas keeps pumping out more insulin
to try to do its job. Eventually, the insulin-producing cells
in the pancreas begin to burn out. As a result, they can’t
secrete enough insulin anymore, and blood sugar levels rise. Elevated
insulin levels precede the actual development of type 2 diabetes
by five to ten years. (Type 1 diabetics, which accounts for only
about 5 percent of adult diabetics, do not make any insulin and
need injections of the hormone to survive.) Several things increase
your risk of developing type 2 diabetes: too much visceral fat,
a high intake of saturated fat, eating excess carbohydrates, and
a family history of the disease.
An estimated sixteen million people are afflicted with type 2
diabetes. In the last decade, the rate has increased by a dramatic
33 percent. This devastating disease puts you at twelve time’s
greater risk of dying from heart disease and also increases the
likelihood of kidney failure, blindness, impotence, amputation,
and neuropathy (nerve damage) in your extremities.
If fish oil is good for treating heart disease, then, in theory,
it should be very good for diabetics – especially since
diabetes (like heart disease and depression) is virtually nonexistent
among Eskimos of Greenland. Unfortunately, studies on fish oil
and diabetes have had mixed results. A recent analysis of some
twenty clinical trials with diabetics came to the conclusion that
fish oil won’t worsen – or improve – the blood
level of diabetics. Hardly a resounding triumph.
These studies, however, didn’t look at whether controlling
insulin enhances the effects of supplemental fish oil in type
2 diabetes. I had the opportunity to test this hypothesis several
years ago with the Princeton Medical Resources, an HMO in San
Antonio. George Rapier, the owner of the HMO, approached me to
see if I could help his HMO make more money. Since patients with
type 2 diabetes are the most costly for an HMO because of the
prevalence of long-term complications, anything that can reduce
those complications goes right to the bottom line of the HMO.
The year before George approached me, he had brought in dietary
educators trained by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to
counsel 400 of his more than 4,000 diabetic patients. These patients
dutifully followed the recommendations outlined in their personalized
meal plans provided by these ADA educators. After a year, George
found that his costs for these 400 patients had increased by another
George called me after he read my first book, The Zone, and lost
twenty-five pounds on my dietary program. He asked if I would
be willing to work with some of his patients – but I had
to keep it very simple. Using only the hand-eye method that I
described earlier and supplying 1.6 grams a day of health-food-grade
fish oil (I didn’t have the pharmaceutical-grade oil then),
I put together a simple dietary education program for his patients.
One of the first groups consisted of sixty-eight patients with
type 2 diabetes. After six weeks of following my dietary program,
the results were as follows.
Not only was every clinical measure associated with type 2 diabetes
decreasing, but some of the changes were extraordinary. The two
measures that changed the most were the markers (insulin and the
TG/HDL ratio) I use to define the Omega Rx Zone. Although the
values were still far from optimal after six weeks, the declines
were equal to what would be obtained with any drug. Other markers
of diabetes were similarly reduced. For example, glycosylated
hemoglobin is one of the best indicators of long-term complications
in type 2 diabetes. If it is below 7.3, then many of the adverse
consequences, such as kidney failure, amputation, and blindness,
just don’t occur.
Finally, these diabetic patients lost excess body fat, and that
is exceptionally difficult if you have high levels of insulin.
Equally important was that the declines in each of those blood
values had a very high degree of statistical significance. Statistical
significance is an indication of how likely it is you will get
the same results if you repeat the same experiment. The lower
the number, the more likely the results can be repeated again.
In this case, the statistics indicated that if the same dietary
experiment were done 10,000 times, you would observe the same
results 9,999 times.
As I said earlier, insulin resistance (and the resulting rise
in insulin levels) is the cause of type 2 diabetes. Although the
exact molecular cause of insulin resistance is still unknown,
Australian researchers have shown that if type 2 diabetics are
put on the same dietary program I used in the San Antonio study,
their insulin resistance is totally reversed in three days.
As excited as I was by the results of the San Antonio study,
looking back I now know that the results could have been even
better if I had used slightly higher levels of Ultra Refined Grade
Omega 3 rich fish oil. I believe that the high-dose fish oil would
have enhanced the results, because new research indicates that
the insulin resistance found in type 2 diabetes may be medicated
by an increase in the hormone known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF),
the same hormone that causes wasting in cancer patients. One proven
way to decrease the secretion of TNF from fat cells in the body
is through the use of high-dose fish oil. This in turn decreases
insulin resistance, which in turn reduces insulin levels. Once
insulin levels are lowered, your body can access its own stored
body fat for energy. In essence, it takes fat to burn fat, especially
if that fat can reduce the release of TNF. This is why I now routinely
recommend about 5 grams of Ultra Refined Grade Omega 3’s
to type-2 diabetic patients.
Like the heart disease epidemic, the obesity and diabetes epidemics
may be a result of our misguided advice to decrease dietary fat
and increase the consumption of fat-free carbohydrates. I believe
that if we aimed for an optimal protein-to-carbohydrate balance
at every meal and got adequate levels of pharmaceutical-grade
fish oil, our epidemics of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and
obesity would be history within a few short years.
Bottom line: If you want to lose excess body fat, you need you
double your efforts to follow my dietary recommendations. If you
want to reverse or prevent type 2 diabetes, you need to follow
the insulin-control diet and incorporate more eicosanoid control
by taking higher doses of Ultra Refined Grade Omega 3’s.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and
Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose,
treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any natural product,
individual results will vary.
For more information about Dr. Barry Sears, his incredible fish
oil supplements, or the popular Zone Diet, please visit www.zoneliving.com.
If you purchase any Zone Labs, Inc. products, part of the
proceeds support CBN ministries.
Dr. Barry Sears is a leader in the field of
dietary control of hormonal response. A former research scientist
at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his efforts over
the past 25 years to the study of lipids and their inflammatory
role in the development of chronic disease. He holds 13 U.S. patents
in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal
regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
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