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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Health, Wellness, and Awareness

Know anyone with Diabetes? Almost one in ten are affected, including my dad.

In my new role as the CEO of a healthcare company, I spend a lot of time with medical doctors and in the midst of medical research. One of the things that surprised me quite a bit when I first began with Healthy Humans was how much compelling research around certain illnesses is all but unknown by the general public. And, I’m talking about evidence-based research that can really make a difference.

Even more surprising to me was how many chronic diseases could not only be kept in check, but in some cases completely reversed! While I’m not a medical doctor, I certainly have a vested interest in seeing people get better outcomes.

Today I read a powerful study[1] that is fairly dated – it was published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology in 1988 – however, the results of the research are just as relevant today. People with diabetes who take metformin (a popular diabetes medicine that helps with blood sugar control) have a significant risk of hypomagnesaemia – low magnesium levels in the blood. Not only are low magnesium levels a suggested risk factor for diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina caused by complications from diabetes that can lead to blindness) but also arrhythmias (abnormal electrical activity in the heart).

The solution seems simple – if you are taking metformin, then be sure to consider taking a magnesium supplement. [Actually, metformin also seems to deplete the body of Vitamin B12, but I’ll save that for another discussion.]

You’d be shocked at how many people with diabetes don’t know this information.

[1] McBain AM, Brown IR, Menzies DG, Campbell IW. Effects of improved glycaemic control on calcium and mangnesium homeostasis in type II diabetes. J Clin Pathol 1988;41:933-35.

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