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Binge drinking boosts risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus

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By Jimmy Downs

Wednesday Jan 29, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Binge drinking can cause insulin resistance, which is a feature of type 2 diabetes, according to an animal study led by researchers from the Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. 

The study published in the January 30 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine found that alcohol causes inflammation in the hypothalamus area of the brain, which disrupts insulin-receptor signaling and results in insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus can produce insulin, which is needed for metabolism of glucose, but can't use insulin to handle blood sugar effectively.

"Insulin resistance has emerged as a key metabolic defect leading to Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD)," said Christoph Buettner, MD, PhD, senior author of the study. 

"Someone who regularly binge drinks even once a week, over many years, may remain in an insulin resistant state for an extended period of time, potentially years," said Dr. Buettner.

For the study, researchers fed rats alcohol for three consecutive days to simulate binge drinking.   Glucose metabolism was studied once alcohol in rats became undetectable in the blood.

The rats treated with alcohol had higher levels of plasma insulin than the control group, suggesting that the treated rats did not use insulin effectively or had insulin resistance, which causes the impaired glucose tolerance.

High serum insulin is a major component for metabolic syndrome which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and stroke.

Diabetes type 2 can be easily prevented in most cases.  Cinnamon, bitter melon, and curcumin are found effective at reducing risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.  And they can be used as therapeuticals to treat the disease as well.

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