Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Magnesium may aid in fight against Diabetes

 The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980 to a mind-numbing 347 million, officially making it a global epidemic. But believe it or not, there’s good news about diabetes: There are a number of ways to combat and even outright prevent this growing disease.

As the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes costs the nation $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical expenses. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 79 million Americans – one-third of the nation’s adult population – has prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated, raising a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In fact, according to research, having diabetes increases the risk of death from all causes.

For example, in examining data involving 820,900 subjects enrolled in 97 published studies, John Danesh, from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), and colleagues found that high fasting blood sugar levels ( >100 mg/dL) not only doubles vascular death risk, but also substantially raises the risk of death from nonvascular causes, including cancer and infectious diseases. Subjects with diabetes were 80 percent more likely to die from any cause during the study period. The researchers found that diabetics were at 2.32-fold higher adjusted risk of death from vascular causes, as compared to nondiabetic counterparts; and at significantly elevated risk of death from cancer and other non-vascular, noncancer causes including pneumonia and other infectious diseases, mental disorders, nervous system disorders, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing aging-related diseases. Men and women in their 50s with diabetes have nearly double the risk for developing cognitive impairment, incontinence, falls, dizziness, vision impairment and chronic pain compared to same-age counterparts who do not have diabetes. Because diabetes affects multiple organ systems, it has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of a number of health issues that we associate with aging.

Today, nondrug interventions such as nutritional supplementation, smart dietary choices, and lifestyle changes are becoming more widely recognized as key approaches to reduce the risk of diabetes and/or manage the condition if you’ve developed it. Let’s review some of these strategies and help ensure a healthier, happier, diabetes-free you.

More Magnesium Makes a Difference  

While magnesium is found in dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains, nuts and milk, a number of surveys suggest that many adults fail to consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for this essential mineral. Frank Christoph Mooren, from the Institute of Sport Sciences at the Justus-Liebig University (Germany), and colleagues enrolled 52 men and women in a study in which each received either a magnesium supplement (containing magnesium-aspartate-hydrochloride at a dose of 365 mg per day) or placebo for six months. At the study’s conclusion, the team found that two out of three measures of insulin sensitivity had improved significantly in those receiving the supplemental magnesium compared to the placebo group, and blood sugar levels, measured as fasting levels of glucose in the blood, had improved by about 7 percent in the magnesium-supplemented group compared with placebo

July 15, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exercise paying off for West Hawai’i’s Jo Iwane

Jo Iwane

Who says exercise doesn’t pay off?

You don’t need to look far to see the dramatic results that regular physical exercise can produce on the body, mind and spirit.

Plato had it right when he wrote:  “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”

Many of the major diseases that plague our society are preventable if we choose to exercise regularly and eat sensibly.

Retired elementary school teacher, JoAnn Iwane, is a shining example of someone who developed Type 2 Diabetes and did something to overcome it.

“I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about five years ago,” Iwane said.  “I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life and didn’t do anything about it until I developed diabetes.”

Iwane grew up in Kealakekua during a time in which girl’s participation in sports was not encouraged.

“I grew up during the 50’s and 60’s,” she said.  “We did play some sports, but it was just a part of our physical education program in school.”

Growing up in Kona, Iwane recalls that there were no athletic teams at Konawaena High School and that she and others of her gender where reduced to playing half court basketball during her PE classes.

“My husband remembers the weird way I held a baseball bat because I didn’t know any other way,” Iwane said.  “Those were the days prior to Title IX and we have lots to be appreciative to our late Representative, Patsy Mink, who made legislation that provided for the girl’s sports programs that almost equal the boy’s today.”

After spending 30 years in the classrooms of Kealakehe, Kahakai and Konawaena Elementary Schools, Iwane retired in from teaching in 2002.

“Besides teaching I also needed to ‘moonlight’ to help put my three daughters through college by teaching early childhood education classes at the UH-West Hawai’i campus,” she said.

With Iwane’s busy work schedule and the raising of her children the years slipped by without much exercise until the day came when her doctor told her the bad news, that she had developed a disease that could have been prevented.

“I actually started to go to the gym about 10 years ago, but I didn’t change my eating habits and my weight continued to go up,” Iwane said.

Today Iwane has made some great progress as she lost 10 pounds and will exercise regularly.

“I go to Pacific Island Fitness Gym at 5 am, five days a week to do 30 minutes of cardio workouts,” she said.  “I will alternate between the treadmill and the elliptical trainer, and then I’ll do 10 to 15 minutes of weight training.”

Every Monday you’ll find this soon to be 64 year old doing her favorite thing, yoga.

“My Monday yoga class is my favorite thing to do at the gym as I am working on building core strength and balance,” Iwane said.  “As I get older I become more prone to tripping and falling, so this is a major concern of mine.”

Iwane has also returned to eating a more healthy diet, with fewer calories.

“I love salads and vegetables of all kinds,” she said.  “I try to eat fruit from our coffee farm like bananas, tangerines, oranges and avocados.”

Iwane has also reduced her consumption of carbohydrates and has moved to eating more fish and chicken rather than red meat.

“I love to cook healthy meals for my husband, Elbert, and me,” she said.  “I love to go to the local farmer’s market to buy fresh vegetables and the like.”

The great news is that her efforts to change her diet, lose weight and maintain a regular exercise program has paid big dividends.

“Because of my regular exercise and losing those 10 pounds over the past few months, I am no longer clinically diabetic, according to my doctor,” Iwane said with great pride. “My sugar levels have been very low for at least six months and my doctor says I’m the poster child for exercise and diet leading to no longer being diabetic!”

And Iwane is not done as she has set the bar even higher for improving her overall health.

“My goal is to get off all of my diabetes meds completely,” Iwane said.  “My dosages are being reduced every time I see the doctor, so I am hopeful this will happen soon.”

Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease through maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical exercise and a good diet.

JoAnn Iwane is a retired, senior citizen who is making the most of her situation by turning a negative into a positive. 

According to Iwane part of her motivation in staying healthy as she ages is to see her two grandchildren, Maile and Logan grow up.

“You have to make exercise a regular part of your routine,” Iwane said. “We all have excuses why we don’t, but we need to just do it.  For people like me who love to eat, just watch what you put in your mouth and try to eat as ‘clean’ as possible.”

Someone once said, “In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

And someday should you happen to see a happy, healthy, retired senior citizen doing what he loves to do – which is run – remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Myths & Facts About Nutrition after 60

Myths & Facts About Food and Nutrition After 60

Myth: Once you reach your 60s, metabolism slows down and you need fewer nutrients.

Fact: While it’s true that older people typically require fewer calories than young adults, they actually need more of certain nutrients. The reason: As we age, our bodies are less efficient at making or absorbing some vitamins and minerals. The skin’s ability to generate vitamin D from sunlight declines. The body’s ability to absorb B12 also decreases.

“With age, the requirements for calcium, vitamin D, and B12 may all increase,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist and director of the cardiovascular nutrition laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Because seniors typically need fewer calories yet more of some key nutrients, they must take special care to eat nutrient-rich foods.

Myth: Older adults don’t need to worry about becoming overweight or obese.

Fact: Excess weight is a growing problem even among older Americans, says Lichtenstein. The culprit for people of all ages is simple: Consuming more calories than needed. Those extra calories are then stored as body fat. Excess body fat increases the risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Myth: If you don’t have a weight problem, you can eat whatever you like.

Fact: “Being overweight certainly increases the risk of chronic illnesses,” says Nancy Wellman, RD, past president of the American Dietetic Association. “But even if you’re slim, a poor diet can raise your risks of developing any of these chronic diseases.” Diets overloaded with saturated fat are linked to cardiovascular problems, for example. The bottom line: Following healthy nutrition advice is important whether you’re thin or fat.

Myth: If you don’t feel like eating, it’s OK to skip a meal.

Fact: Loss of appetite is a common complain among older adults, leading many to skip meals. That’s a bad idea for several reasons.

First, people who skip a meal because they’re not hungry can later gorge on high-calorie, nutrient-poor snacks between meals. Skipping meals can also cause blood sugar levels to fall too low; then when you do eat a big meal, they can surge too high. Skipping meals, paradoxically, can also suppress appetite. That can be a problem for older people who already suffer from a loss of appetite.

“The best advice is to always start your day with a healthy breakfast, since appetite is usually best in the morning,” says Wellman. “Then make sure you eat something at every meal time.”

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , | 1 Comment