This blog tracks updates to the Blood Sugar 101 Web site.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Thousands of Unregulated Supplements May Contain Dangerous Substances

Page changed: Worthless or Dangerous Supplements

Added this text (note reference to a NEJM article documenting these problems):
To cite only one example, in 2011, a large "well respected" Utah supplement company marketed a product, Zotrex supposedly containing an natural herb, Ophioglossum polyphyllous, it claimed could enhance potency. What the pills actually contained was sulfoaildenafil, a drug analog of Viagra that has never been tested in humans. Quite a few drug analogs of safe drugs, are toxic for humans, for example, phenformin, which is a close relative to the very safe, well-tested drug metformin.

In another case, a supposedly "herbal" diabetes supplement, when taken to the lab turned out to contain a cheap first generation sulfonyurea drug--one that can cause dangerous hypos and, which is also now known to act on the heart in a way that promotes heart attack.

The 1994 law stipulated that supplement makers were supposed to submit safty data to the FDA for any new ingredient they introduced that wasn't on sale prior to 1994. But the New England Journal of Medicine reported in January of 2012 (HERE) that since 1994,
..the number of available dietary supplements has skyrocketed from an estimated 4000 to more than 55,000...but the FDA has received adequate notification for only 170 new supplement ingredients since 1994 — undoubtedly a small fraction of the ingredients for which safety data should have been submitted.

Any time there is any attempt to reintroduce even the feeblest oversight into the marketing of bottles that can contain literally anything, the supplement companies send paid minions out who post all over the web about how big gumint's trying to take away your freedom. People deluge their congresspeople with complaints, and the supplement companies go back to earning billions selling you whatever they feel like putting into their magic pills this month.


Also removed paragraph about vitamins being manufactured in China.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Statins May Actually Cause Diabetes

Page changed: Other Dangerous Drugs for People with Diabetes

Added the following:

Statins May Cause Diabetes

The highly respected Womens Health Initiative study found that women without diabetes who were taking statins at the start of the study had almost twice the risk of developing diabetes. To quote from the study:
Statin use at baseline was associated with an increased risk of DM (hazard ratio [HR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.61-1.83). This association remained after adjusting for other potential confounders (multivariate-adjusted HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.38-1.59) and was observed for all types of statin medications.
It is possible that the high cholesterol that motivated doctors to put these women on statins occurred because they had abnormally high blood sugars already that were missed because they manifested as high readings after high carb meals, rather than abnormally high fasting glucose. However, given the other studies that show a mechanism by which statins decrease insulin sensitivity, it is very possible that taking statins does independently worsen blood sugar control to the point it could push people into diabetes who would otherwise only be insulin resistant or pre-diabetic.

Statin Use and Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women in the Women's Health Initiative. Annie L. Culver et al. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(2):144-152. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.625

This echoes the findings of a study published earlier in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that people taking high dose statins were 12% more likely to get diabetes than people who took lower doses. However, in this study there was no control group of people taking no statins, which might have shown that even the people taking low doses had a higher risk of getting diabetes.

Risk of Incident Diabetes With Intensive-Dose Compared With Moderate-Dose Statin Therapy: A Meta-analysis David Preiss et al. JAMA. 2011;305(24):2556-2564. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.860

Ironically, the response of mainstream docor/thought leaders as reported in the media is that since statins help prevent the main diabetic complication--heart attack, this is nothing to worry about. Not so surprisingly, the doctors quoted are always those who get large speaking fees from, or are associated with organizations that get large research grants from, the drug companies that make statins. Apparently it doesn't matter that people with diabetes get nerve damage, diabetic blindness and kidney failure none of which are improved by taking statins.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Supplementing with Megadoses of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic Acid Correlates with Double Stroke Risk and GFR Worsening

Page changed: Diabetic Kidney Disease

Added the following:

Do NOT Supplement with Higher than Normal Doses of Vitamins B6, B12 and Folic Acid

A study of people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who had been diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease found that supplementing daily with a "Single tablet of B vitamins containing folic acid (2.5 mg/d), vitamin B6 (25 mg/d), and vitamin B12 (1 mg/d)" for three years was associated with faster deterioration in GFR and a doubling of stroke risk.

Effect of B-Vitamin Therapy on Progression of Diabetic Nephropathy:A Randomized Controlled Trial. Andrew A. House et al. JAMA 2010;303(16):1603-1609. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.490

It's important to note that the amounts used in this study were megadoses many times greater than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for each.

If you are eating a diet that does not include grains or other foods that supply natural forms of these vitamins you won't be getting them in your diet and will need to supplement, but when you do, confine your supplementation to the RDA. You can find the RDA for the B vitamins HERE.