Life Extension Magazine 2010
Protect Your Body from a Silent Killer
By Mike Fillon
As you will learn in the next issue of Life Extension Magazine®, even slightly elevated blood sugar levels pose a serious threat to your health!
When we say “slightly elevated,” we’re not talking about glucose ranges the medical establishment accepts as “normal.”
Instead we are referring to startling scientific findings proving that fasting glucose levels above 80-85 mg/dL create many of the same problems suffered by diabetics, only at a slower rate.
In other words, glucose levels that today’s doctors consider to be safe are in reality dangerously high and are silently killing countless numbers of Americans.
Recognizing that most aging people suffer from glucose-related pathologies, Life Extension made radical recommendations this year to suppress blood sugar, such as suggesting that members ask their doctors to consider prescribing the anti-diabetic drug metformin—whether or not they are diabetic.
The Calorie Control Weight Management formula was introduced three months ago to enable members to reduce the glucose burden endured by the aging body after eating.
In response to challenges members may still confront in achieving optimal glucose readings (around 80 mg/dL), novel natural ingredients have been identified that enable people to more efficiently utilize absorbed glucose, thus quickly reducing its toxic level in the blood.
Glucose-Lowering Power of Novel Cinnamon Extract
You won’t hear this from the FDA or the drug companies, but the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been studying the effect of cinnamon on blood glucose for over a decade.1,2 USDA scientists have identified unique compounds in cinnamon bark that increase in vitro sugar metabolism “20-fold.” According to one government expert, “These polyphenolic polymers found in cinnamon may function as antioxidants, potentiate insulin action, and may be beneficial in the control of glucose intolerance and diabetes.”3
Cinnamon is rich in bioactive compounds that help regulate blood sugar levels. This isn’t the cinnamon you’d use to flavor your cappuccino, by the way. It’s a related species called Cinnamomum cassia—and scientists around the world are now discovering its glucose-lowering power.4-7
Extract of this form of cinnamon triggers cell signaling proteins inside the pancreas, bringing the secretion and regulation of insulin levels into greater balance. This helps to restore your body’s natural ability to control blood sugar as you age.
Cinnamon acts as an insulin sensitizer, triggering proteins that lower insulin resistance at the cellular level.7 It has also been shown to thwart advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are implicated in diabetic complications, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.8,9 A recent in vivo study found cinnamon accomplishes this anti-glycation effect in part through its antioxidant scavenging capabilities.9
Cinnamon also triggers genes in muscle and fatty tissue that transfer glucose out of the bloodstream and into energy producing cells, effectively lowering blood glucose. This quenches the highly reactive oxidant and inflammatory inferno in your body stoked by chronic glucose overexposure.
An abundance of animal studies published in 201010-13 confirm that cinnamon polyphenols can significantly reduce fasting glucose levels, improve pancreatic function, and enhance insulin sensitivity—even in diabetic models.
In one recent study, researchers examined the effect of cinnamon extract on mice that were divided into a control diabetic group and cinnamon extract-treated group.13 For 12 weeks, the researchers measured blood glucose and other markers of diabetes. They found fasting blood glucose and two hour postprandial (after-meal) blood glucose levels in the cinnamon-treated group were significantly lower than those in the control group. These findings led the researchers to conclude:
“Our results suggest that cinnamon extract significantly increases insulin sensitivity, reduces serum, and hepatic lipids, and improves hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia.”13
In humans, the literature is similarly rich with data underscoring cinnamon’s potent, multimodal effects. Researchers have documented compelling results for those afflicted with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (a known causative factor in insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes in women).14
In controlled human studies in these populations, cinnamon extracts have been shown to induce profoundly beneficial, broad-spectrum effects on markers of glucose tolerance across the board.14 They improve blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol and antioxidant status, blood pressure, lean body mass, and gastric emptying.14 Clinicians examining cinnamon’s therapeutic potential in diabetic individuals have reported declines in fasting blood glucose anywhere between 10-29%.15,16
Use Only Standardized Cinnamon Extract
The problem with long-term cinnamon use is the presence of highly reactive aldehyde compounds. These toxic fat-soluble compounds accumulate in the body over time. The good news is that a novel aqueous extract of cinnamon has been identified and through a patented process, it delivers cinnamon’s beneficial water-soluble nutrients while removing deleterious fat-soluble toxins.
In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,17 a group of individuals (average age 61) with high blood sugar taking 500 mg per day of this form of cinnamon extract experienced an average decline of 12 mg/dL in fasting blood glucose after just two months. It also produced a significant decrease in postprandial glucose spikes (by an average of 32 mg/dL) after ingestion of 75 g of carbohydrates.
These findings support previous clinical data on similar aqueous cinnamon extracts, in which diabetic patients saw their fasting glucose drop an average of 10.3% after four months.16
Most importantly, no adverse effects were observed in either study.
“Our results suggest that cinnamon extract significantly increases insulin sensitivity, reduces serum, and hepatic lipids, and improves hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia.”
What These Results Translate Into
A report in one of the American Diabetes Association’s own journals found that fasting glucose levels above 85 mg/dL in “nondiabetic apparently healthy middle-aged men” was a primary predictor of cardiovascular death. This was true regardless of exercise and cholesterol levels, in smokers and non-smokers alike.18
Aging non-diabetic individuals typically have fasting glucose readings far over 90 mg/dL. By using this novel cinnamon extract alone, one may be able to reduce their fasting glucose to safer ranges of around 80 mg/dL. You’ll learn later in this article about the importance of reducing after-meal (postprandial) glucose spikes, something that cinnamon is quite effective in doing.
New Chromium Complex Optimizes Glucose Breakdown
Chromium has long been known to play a central role in healthy glucose metabolism at the cellular level.19-23 It sensitizes cells to insulin and increases the number of insulin receptors in cells. Studies definitively link low chromium levels with increased blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol, increasing the possibility of diabetes and heart disease.24,25
As with any strategy to lower cardiac risk factors, regular blood tests can verify whether the approaches you choose are working for you.
Chromium works by interacting with cell-signaling receptors that enhance the body’s response to insulin. In the presence of chromium cells require less insulin to become activated, resulting in greater overall insulin sensitivity and enhanced glucose control.
Chromium also aids in the transfer of glucose from the blood into cells by activating insulin-sensitive glucose transport molecules. Its central role in regulating glucose is underscored by the hallmark signs of chromium deficiency which manifest as elevated fasting glucose and insulin blood levels.
Some chromium-deficient patients have even developed diabetes that could not be reversed through insulin injections, but subsided when supplemented with chromium.26
The body absorbs dietary chromium poorly, highlighting the need for supplementation.27
The exciting news is a cutting-edge chromium compound has emerged that supplies chromium—complemented by standardized extract of the Indian gooseberry and the adaptogen known as shilajit.
Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) has been shown in human clinical trials to improve endothelial function28,29 and lipid profiles,30-33 including triglycerides formed by excess glucose in the blood.
Shilajit helps optimize blood glucose levels.34,35 It also supports energy production, which is compromised in individuals suffering from glucose impairment.35
The phenolic compounds and organic acids in shilajit and Indian gooseberry also act to shield chromium from oxidative destruction in the body, stabilizing its structure and enhancing bioavailability.36
In a randomized clinical trial of 150 individuals with type 2 diabetes,36 200 mcg twice per day of this novel chromium compound in addition to standard medication induced a greater reduction in fasting blood glucose than placebo (14.6% on average) and lowered postprandial blood glucose (14.2%) after just two months.36
What These Results Translate Into
For someone with a fasting glucose level of 100 mg/dL, the use of this new chromium complex alone may reduce levels to around 86—a far safer range. Combining this chromium complex with water-soluble cinnamon extract could slash fasting glucose to below 80.
Impede Sugar Absorption
Glucose is formed primarily from carbohydrates you eat. Inhibiting carbohydrate digestive enzymes is a proven method to reduce blood glucose levels.
Extracts of brown seaweed and bladderwrack are known to inhibit the action of amylase and glucosidase, digestive enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of starches into sugars for absorption into the bloodstream.37,38 When given to animals, a proprietary compound of these extracts reduced postprandial glucose by 90%.39
In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a single dose of 500 mg per day of this same compound significantly increased insulin sensitivity while inducing a 48.3% decline in postprandial (after-meal) glucose levels in healthy individuals.40
By working on multiple pathways, using innovative natural substances, individuals can help mitigate the factors of insulin insensitivity that often results from aging.
What These Results Translate Into
Optimal glucose control involves both keeping fasting glucose around 80 and not allowing postprandial (after-meal) glucose to go spike any higher than 40. This means that if your fasting glucose is 82, it should not go any higher than 122 (which can be measured by a finger test of your blood within two hours of eating).
By taking brown seaweed and bladderwrack extract before meals, a postprandial spike that would normally go to 160 may be reduced to only 122.
Even modestly elevated fasting glucose (above 85 mg/dL) has been shown to be an independent predictor of cardiac death. This underscores the need for aging humans to pursue safe, effective, natural strategies to bring blood sugar under control.
Cutting-edge researchers have uncovered novel interventions in the form of a unique, water-soluble extract of cinnamon, a patented chromium compound, and purified nutrients obtained from seaweed and bladderwrack. They have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, boost your cells’ ability to convert glucose into energy, and block sugar absorption—for lifelong glucose control.
Those with fasting glucose above 80-85 mg/dL should take these nutrients before every meal, especially those high in carbohydrates. As with any strategy to lower cardiac risk factors, regular blood tests can verify whether the approaches you choose are working for you.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at
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