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Psyllium helps fight type 2 diabetes mellitus

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Wednesday June 26, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre suggests that taking a dietary supplement called psyllium can help control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus even if they are taking antidiabetic medications and using a restricted diet.

Psyllium is a plant whose seeds are used commercially to produce mucilage which is is a thick, gluey material full of a polar glycoprotein and an exopolysaccharide.  Mucilage is found high in flaxseeds.

The double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial led by N. Mark and colleagues from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC shows that taking 3.4 grams of psyllium twice a day prior to breakfast and dinner for a short period of 4 weeks lowered HbA1c, which is a reliable biomarker to indicate the severity of type II diabetes mellitus.

For the study, 37 patients at a mean age of 62 years were assigned to take either 3.4 grams or 6.8 grams of psyllium or placebo twice a day prior to breakfast and dinner for up to 12 weeks.

It was found, both doses of psyllium significantly lowered fasting blood glucose, compared to placebo at treatment weeks 4, 8, and 12.   Psyllium at a dose of 6.8 g BID significantly lowered HbA1c at week 8, compared to placebo, and at week 12, both the 3.4 g dose and the 6.8 g dose of psyllium significantly lowered HbA1c, compared to placebo.

The researchers concluded psyllium improves glycemic control in patients with type II diabetes mellitus who were using a restricted diet and medication sulfonylurea.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus affects an estimated 26 million Americans.  This disease can be prevented by doing or not doing many things.   An Indian study has found that taking 8 grams of curcumin per day can help prevent the disease in people who suffer pre-diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus if left untreated can lead to the development of a variety of serious complications.  Recent studies show trans fat, red meat and fructose among other things can increase the risk of type II diabetes mellitus.  (reporting by David Liu, PHD)

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