Last year the journal Diabetolgia reported the results of a study completed by researchers at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, in the United Kingdom. The study included over 62,000 persons over 40 years of age with Type 2 diabetes. Patients treated with metformin alone suffered the lowest number of cases of tumors when compared with those receiving metformin plus sulfonylurea, sulfonylurea alone, or insulin alone. When metformin was used with insulin the risk of cancer was lower than it was with the use of insulin alone.
This month the journal Expert Opinions on Investigational Drugs carries an article by researchers at the Outpatient Clinic of Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece. According to the authors, laboratory evidence suggests that metformin inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Reducing oversecretion of insulin and activating an enzyme called adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which inhibits cell growth, are thought to be two possible mechanisms of metformin's action. The authors suggest that for this reason, metformin should be used frequently in managing diabetes.
Metformin, or Glucophage, reduces blood sugar levels by helping cells to take up glucose and by reducing the sugar released by the liver. Doses are individualized, and the maximum dose for adults is usually considered 2000 mg. Doses are usually started at 500mg twice per day to minimize upset stomachs. The dose is increased gradually until a therapeutic dose, usually 1500mg or over, is reached. Short-acting Glucophage is given in divided doses with meals, while the long-acting form is given once daily with the evening meal. Fasting blood sugar levels are measured when metformin is begun, to find the correct dose to maintain normal sugar levels. After the therapeutic dose is found, the glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), is measured every 3 months to make sure that good control is maintained. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, weakness, and headaches. Fortunately, they are usually mild.
Discuss with your health care provider whether metformin is right for you, especially if a parent, sibling, or child has been diagnosed with a solid tumor. Maintaining a healthy weight with a healthful diet and exercise are helpful both for controlling diabetes and preventing certain kinds of cancer, so eat whole foods natural foods and maintain an active lifestyle.
Trans fatty acid are chemically altered fats and are cropping up everywhere: in margarine, hydrogenated oils, peanut butter, baked and fried goods. Recent research shows that trans fatty acids are more harmful than saturated fats. They increase the risk of heart disease to a greater degree than saturated fats, in addition to raising your total cholesterol, they actually lower your protective HDL (good) cholesterol. They have also been implicated in cancer of the breast and prostate and Type 2 diabetes. You can avoid these fats and reduce your risks of cancer and Type 2 diabetes by selecting whole and natural foods over prepared, fried and processed foods... then you will escape these highly damaging fats.
A study in the March 2007 issue of Diabetes Care reported that women with high blood sugar levels were about 25% more likely to develop cancer. As well, cancer patients often have symptoms of prediabetes.
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