Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clinical Insights: Metformin May Help Keep Arteries Open

Today's clinical insight comes from Carol Willis, the author of the Willis Protocols for natural health, in response to a question from Robert.

Many type 2 diabetics have various issues with circulatory system. These can be high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or even heart attack or stroke.

One way of understanding circulatory issues is a kind of "plumbing" model of the circulatory system. Cholesterol hardens and clogs the arteries. This happens when "soft" cholesterol is attacked by free radicals, and white blood cells then try to remove it and get trapped themselves. There are more free radicals of oxygen in the bloodstream when blood sugar levels are high. That's the basic relationship between diabetes and heart disease, although there are other aspects to it.

There is also a kind of living tissue model of the circulatory system. In this way of understanding human circulation, the arteries and veins are not "pipes" that can get clogged. That's because blood vessels naturally open and close as need be. If you suffer a cut, for example, it's a good thing for your blood vessels to limit circulation!

The problem comes when the regulatory system that makes blood vessels more open or less open doesn't work. That regulator is a compound called nitric oxide, also known as NO. Many diabetics don't make enough NO, so they have circulation problems.

One way of increasing NO is to make sure you get enough folic acid and vitamin B12. That's not hard. A single complete vitamin B capsule a day, which should cost only a few pennies, will take care of that.

Another way of increasing NO is to make sure you get enough of the amino acid L-arginine. Good food sources include chickpeas, edamame, wheat germ, buckwheat, peanuts, coconut, cashews, almond, Brazil nuts, milk, cottage cheese, ricotta, yogurt, and most meats and fish.

And yet another way of increasing NO, in about 80 per cent of diabetics who also have problems with iron regulation (which is the case with many diabetics of European ancestry) is to take metformin. If you eat a lot of meat, or if you are in the 1 to 3 per cent of the population who have hemochromatosis, metformin may not just help keep your blood sugar levels right, it may also help keep your arteries open.

No comments:

Post a Comment