Dodging diabetes without medication

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: May 01 2014 08:36:55 PM EDT
Updated On: May 02 2014 07:40:00 AM EDT

Last year registered nurse Eugene Cosnahan found out he is prediabetic, but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying some of his favorite foods. 

He says he’s working to dodge diabetes in other ways.

“I've kind of started on a program to reduce my weight, and get in a little bit better physical condition,” explained Cosnahan.

So far he’s dropped 20 pounds, but sometimes losing weight is not enough.

So, Cosnahan enrolled in a clinical trial called the D2d study. Dr. Frank Greenway, Director of Pennington Outpatient Research Clinic, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, is looking to see if taking 4,000 units of vitamin D daily—which is four times the normal intake—will help to prevent diabetes.

“It's higher than what is the recommended daily allowance is, but it's certainly within the range of what's thought to be a safe dose,” Greenway said.

“Also, people might be able to use food for some of the things that now often require medications,” explained Greenway.

Especially the purple foods, also known as anthocyanins, found in blueberries and now in rice!

Developed by the LSU Agricultural Center, researchers hope purple rice will help to improve insulin resistance. 

“I'm looking forward to hopefully, uh, seeing some real improvement,” Cosnahan said.

Greenway says people with elevated levels of vitamin D, a history of kidney stones, or people with sarcoidosis should not try the vitamin D regimen.

D2d is a national study that is still looking for more participants. For more information on how to enroll, go to http://www.d2dstudy.org/participate/.

Additional Information:

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually have what is called “prediabetes”—blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  Doctors sometimes refer to prediabetes as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose, depending on what test was used when it was detected.  There are several ways to diagnose diabetes.  The A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past two to three months.  Diabetes would be diagnosed at an A1C of 6.5 percent or higher.  Another test for diabetes is called Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG).  This test checks your fasting blood glucose levels.  Diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl.  Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is a two hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink.  It tells the doctor how your body processes glucose.  Finally, the Random Plasma Glucose Test is a test that is a blood check at any time of the day when you have severe diabetes symptoms.  Diabetes is diagnosed at blood glucose of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl.  (Source: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diagnosis/)

D2D STUDY:  Recently published studies have shown that vitamin D is a potential determinant of type 2 diabetes risk.  However, according to the Institute of Medicine and the Endocrine Society, the evidence to support vitamin D supplementation for prevention of diabetes is inconclusive and there’s a need for definite studies in the area.  Therefore, the goal of the vitamin D and type 2 diabetes (D2d) study is to determine whether vitamin D supplementation is safe and effective in delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at risk for the disease and to gain a better understanding of how vitamin D affects glucose metabolism.  It is a multi-center trial conducted in 20 cities throughout the U.S.  The goal is to enroll 2,400 participants who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  For more information on enrolling, go to: http://www.d2dstudy.org/contactd2d/)  (Source: http://www.d2dstudy.org/about/)

PURPLE RICE STUDY:  Researchers at LSU AgCenter have created a new rice line with a purple color.  This variety has an increased level of antioxidants.  Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center are studying purple rice to see if eating it twice daily can improve blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol better than brown rice.  The purple color is due, like red wine grapes, mainly to the anthocyanins.  The safety and tolerability of purple rice is similar to white or brown rice, but contains the purple elements common to other foods like grapes. The study is currently recruiting participants.  For more information, go to: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT01720511 (Source: http://www.pbrc.edu/clinical-trials/?studyid=142)

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