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article imageOp-Ed: Study shows a glass of wine a day benefits type 2 diabetics

By Ken Hanly     Jan 24, 2016 in Health
A new study shows that moderate consumption of red wine can help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their cholesterol and cardiac health as well as controlling the blood sugar levels.
Type 2 or "adult onset" diabetes contrasts with type 1 or gestational diabetes. The main types are set out in Wikipedia: Type 1 DM results from the pancreas's failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes". The cause is unknown.[3]
Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly.[3] As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop.[6] This form was previously referred to as "non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes". The primary cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.[3]
Gestational diabetes, is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood-sugar level.[3
The reference to type 2 as non-insulin dependent is hardly accurate since often, as the disease progresses, one needs to use insulin, and blood sugar needs to be controlled by injecting insulin. I myself have been doing this for several years. I wish I had gone to insulin earlier as it has provided much better control in my case. I do not find injection painful at all,
The relation of drinking to diabetes control is complicated. Some of the issues are listed here. The complete Canadian Diabetes guidelines can be found here. I drink only one bottle of beer a day and often not that. It does not appear to have any impact on control as far as I can tell.
This new study shows that alcohol at least in the form of a glass of red wine a day can actually improve cardiac health and cholesterol levels in Type 2 diabetic patients. I have never had trouble with cholesterol but maybe I will try the wine anyway. The new study was carried out in a two-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) led by researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel, although researchers from other countries also participated,including from the University of Leipzig in Germany, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Prof. Meir Stampfer of Harvard University in the US was also one of the researchers. This study is the first long term study of alcohol effects. The study published in the well-regarded Annals of Internal Medicine is titled, "Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes".
The researchers found that both red and white wine could improve sugar control. Those with diabetes are prone to having lower levels of "good" cholesterol than those in the general population. Any recommendations of alcohol consumption for people with diabetes have remained controversial due to the lack of long term randomized trials. The positive results for blood sugar control only resulted for diabetics who were slow rather than fast alcohol metabolizers. About one in five of the participants were fast alcohol metabolizers.
There are other properties of red wine that apparently make it superior to white win in overall results: “Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile, by increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 (one of the major constituents of HDL cholesterol), while decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol... "initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics, as part of a healthy diet, is apparently safe, and modestly decreases cardio-metabolic risk. The differential genetic effects that were found may assist in identifying diabetic patients in whom moderate wine consumption may induce greater clinical benefit." Sleep quality was improved in participants whether they drank white or red wine as compared with those in a control group who drank water. The study also found no adverse effects such as change in blood pressure, liver function, growth in fat levels or other adverse symptoms.
The study was carried out on 224 diabetes type 2 patients who were aged 45 to 75. Most of the participants abstained from alcohol. The participation rate over the two year study was 87 percent a very high participation rate. Perhaps the wine was of high quality. The results were rather different than the researchers originally thought. Red wine appears to have non-alcoholic constituents that provide further benefits that are lacking in white wine. Perhaps the effects might be different with different wines as well. Subjects of the study were subject to a constant and comprehensive set of medical tests including monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels. I am hoping the next study will use beer. I am ready and willing to volunteer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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