Friday, November 27, 2015

Understanding Insulin resistance

Why is Insulin Important?
Diabetes prevention has developed into a national health concern. The number of Americans with type 2 diabetes is estimated to increase by “165%, from 11 million in 2000 to 29 million in 2050” (care.diabetesjournals.org). If trends continue at the current rate, there will be a significant increase in the amount of Americans with diagnosed diabetes, placing a considerable burden on the health care system and lowering the healthof millions of individuals. As a preventable disease with considerable consequences, researchers and practitioners are seeking better ways to manage and prevent diabetes.

What is Insulin Resistance?
Prediabetes and type two diabetes is preventable, in part by understanding blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity measures how reactive the body is to insulin. Insulin is used to remove sugar (glucose) from the blood. If one has low insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, they need greater amounts of insulin to control their blood sugar levels (www.diabetes.co.uk). Over time, insulin resistance leads to a buildup of sugar in the blood cells. This can lead to prediabetes or type-2 diabetes (diabetes.niddk.nih.gov). Insulin resistance is believed to affect nearly 1 in 4 adults over 20 years of age and is projected to increase “in prevalence as populations age and become more obese” (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Most individuals do not  know they have insulin resistance until they have developed type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can be a product of a lack of exercise, a diet high in sugar, and/or periods of elevated stress.

How is Insulin Resistance tested?
If you suspect you may have Insulin Resistance or prediabetes, ask your doctor for a blood test ot measure how well your body reacts to sugar. These tests are used to diagnoses pre-diabetes and diabetes and are known as the fasting glucose level and the glucose tolerance test (pcos.about.com).

How is Insulin Resistance Treated?
Increasing insulin sensitivity is achieved through a two-pronged effort: exercise and food choices. These changes should not be viewed as a short term effort, but rather a lifestyle change to promote health and wellness. Exercise has shown to be critical in increasing insulin sensitivity. In fact, according to this peer-reviewed article, “a single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post exercise.” All exercise is beneficial to increasing the efficiency of insulin to control blood sugar levels, however a combination of resistance training and aerobic activities has shown to be the most effective.

Diet is also of major importance. Eating foods with a low glycemic index (low GI) helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Foods that are deemed low GI do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels and are safe for individual with diabetes to consume. A healthy diet l of low GI foods will also increase insulin sensitivity.

Kay’s Naturals believes that as more individuals understood the role of blood sugar stabilization and insulin sensitivity, more will be be able to be proactive in their diabetes prevention. It is our goal to help increase public awareness about insulin sensitivity and stable blood sugar levels for individual health and wellness. Kay’s Naturals was created to provide efficient and  affordable snacks and cereals. All of our snack and cereals are high-protein, low-GI and gluten free. It's our goal to assist everyone on their personalized path to optimal health!

Friday, November 20, 2015

It is Time to Standardize the Vocabulary of Gluten Related Illness.

A Standardization of Vocabulary for Gluten Related Illness.
Confused about what to call an ailment related to gluten intolerance? Is the correct verbiage gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or Coeliac Sprue? Do you have asymptomatic, nonclassical, or silent celiac disease? With undefined and varied terminology, everyone was becoming confused, even researchers and doctors. Luckily, a task force from seven countries meet in Oslo to standardize the definitions of celiac disease (CD) and related terms. They found that there was a lack of consensus among celiac professionals. “Clear definitions will allow more efficient and generalisable advances in CD research relating to aetiology, incidence, prevalence, complications and treatment of patients with CD and other gluten-related disorders,” so started researching the most accurate definitions.  The task forced published an article, “The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms.” It is freely accessible on the peer-reviewed journal, Gut. We share their definitions with you here in order to help clear up some lingering confusion.
Gluten: “Gluten is the commonly used term for the complex of water insoluble proteins from wheat, rye and barley that are harmful to patients with CD.”
Gluten intolerance: This term has been used to refer to CD and to indicate “that a patient experiences a clinical improvement after starting a GFD, even when they do not have CD.” The task force found the term to be non-specific and carried “inherent weaknesses and contradictions.” Therefore, they “recommend that the term gluten intolerance should not be used and that gluten-related disorders be used instead.”
Gluten-related disorders: “Gluten-related disorder is a term used to describe all conditions related to gluten.” It is recommended that this term be used as an umbrella to cover all conditions related to gluten, including “disorders such as gluten ataxia, DH, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and CD.”
Gluten sensitivity: The task force found that some papers used gluten sensitivity as a CD synonym, other times it was used as an umbrella term for conditions related to gluten ingestion. To overcome this large discrepancy or meaning and confusion, they recommend using non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) be used instead.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: “The term NCGS relates to one or more of a variety of immunological, morphological or symptomatic manifestations that are precipitated by the ingestion of gluten in people in whom CD has been excluded.”
Asymptomatic CD: “Asymptomatic CD is not accompanied by symptoms even in response to direct questioning at initial diagnosis.”
Those with asymptomatic CD do not show symptoms associated with CD. They are most commonly diagnosed through screening programs or case-finding strategies. Many experiences a “decreased quality of life.”
Typical CD: Not recommended. What was previously perceived as typical and most common has changed.
Atypical CD: “Atypical CD can only be used in reference to typical CD... We argue that the term atypical CD should not be used. Some patients previously described as having atypical CD may fulfil the requirements for non-classical CD (see below).”
Classical CD: Classical CD presents with signs and symptoms of malabsorption. Diarrhoea, steatorrhoea, weight loss or growth failure is required."
Non-classical CD: “Non-classical CD presents without signs and symptoms of malabsorption.” A patient with non-classical CD does not suffer from malabsorption but may have constipation or abdominal pain.
Silent CD: “Silent CD is equivalent to asymptomatic CD. We discourage the use of the term silent CD.”
Subclinical CD: “Subclinical CD is below the threshold of clinical detection.”
The taskforce found that “what is ‘subclinical’ has changed over time. To provide a stable definition, we specified subclinical CD to be a disease that is below the threshold of clinical detection without signs or symptoms sufficient to trigger CD testing in routine practice.”
Symptomatic CD: characterised by clinically evident gastrointestinal and/or extraintestinal symptoms attributable to gluten intake.
CD symptoms spread across a wide spectrum, from none (asymptomatic CD) to a wide and diverse variety of symptoms. With Symptomatic CD the symptoms can be gastrointestinal or extraintestinal symptoms. What has been called overt CD “should be considered part of symptomatic CD.”
Refractory CD: Refractory CD (RCD) consists of persistent or recurrent malabsorptive symptoms and signs with villous atrophy (VA) despite a strict gluten free diet for more than 12 months.”
Latent CD: This terminology is discouraged, because they found at “least five definitions of latent CD” that were all very different from each other. It is recommended to use potential CD instead.
Potential CD: occurs in “people with a normal small intestinal mucosa who are at increased risk of developing CD as indicated by positive CD serology.”
CD autoimmunity: increased TTG or EMA on at least two occasions when status of the biopsy is not known. If the biopsy is positive, then this is CD, if the biopsy is negative than this is potential CD.” To provide further clarification they recommend, “when TTG or EMA has only been tested on one occasion, it is preferable to refer to patients as TTG positive or EMA positive.”
Genetically at risk of CD: “Family members of patients with CD that test positive for HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8 are genetically at risk of CD.” It should be understood that the risk for CD varies between 2% to 20%, depending on the “degree of the relative with CD and the number of copies of HLA-DQ2 genes.”
More standardized definitions for gluten related ailments, such as Gluten ataxia and Dermatitis herpetiformis can be found at gut.bmj.com. Another excellent resource to further understand further these definitions is www.questdiagnostics.com.
Universal definitions of terminology for gluten related illness provide clarity and understanding. Three cheers for the Oslo Task force in helping us to overcome confusion and misunderstanding!
Kay’s Naturals is dedicated to providing snacks that are gluten-free, low-sugar and high-protein! When we surveyed the market for low-sugar and gluten-free snacks, we found very few! Our goals is to help individuals meet their health goals by providing snacks that are low-GI, high-protein, all-natural, and gluten free! Visit our website to learn more.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with celiac disease

In a sample study of over 2 million children in the four countries of the United Kingdom, it was found that the number of young children with diagnosed celiac disease (CD)  has nearly tripled. Additionally, researchers found that children from low-income families were 80% less likely to be diagnosed with CD than children from high-income families. These important findings were published in a peer-reviewed article in the online journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood. The significance aspects of this study are discussed here.

In the United States and Western Europe, the prevalence of CD is about 1%. In the past 20 years, several studies have shown an increased the number of biopsy-detected CD in children, the reason for which is unclear. One explanation for the increase in diagnosis is an increase in CD awareness coupled with greater accuracy and availability of screening and testing. It is wonderful news that celiac awareness is on the rise by the public and the medical community. It is nearly equally wonderful that better screening and testing methods have lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis for individuals with CD, a serious autoimmune disease.

The research team assessed data collected from the UK’s Health Improvement Network (THIN). Of the 2,063,421 children on THIN during this time, 1247 were diagnosed with CD. In 1993, girls were 53% more likely to be diagnosed with CD then boys. Diagnoses rose by 39% for boys and rose by 100% for girls between 1993 and 2012.  Surprisingly, the rate of diagnosis for children from birth to two remained consistent over this time while the rate of diagnosis tripled for children between 2-18. Finally, the study uncovered a 75% increase in diagnosis for children between 2008-2012 than in 1993-1997.  

In an effort to understand the cause of the increase in CD diagnosis, researchers compared the diagnostic rates between children of high socioeconomic status to those of low socioeconomic status.  They found “the rate of diagnosis being 80% higher in children from the least deprived areas than in those from the most-deprived areas.” The study concluded that it was likely that the increase in CD diagnosis is the result of better screening and CD awareness, and not the cause of a true increase in CD in children.

This study found things to celebrate as well as areas that need improvement. It highlights the major progress that increased CD awareness has caused. Thousands of children and young adults do not need to suffer from the multiple and often painful symptoms of CD as a result of their early diagnosis. It is disheartening, however, to see that theirs is such a disparity to access to health services and testing between the most affluent to the least affluent. Kay's is actively working towards spreading celiac awareness. If you would like to assist in our efforts, follow us on Facebook.  

Kay's provides healthily, high-protein, low-sugar snacks and cereals that are deliciously gluten free. Learn more about us here!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Is gluten making you depressed?

Is gluten making you depressed? Researchers finds it can for some.

Could gluten cause some to feel depressed? If you feel better emotionally after going gluten-free, you're not alone. An exploratory clinical study published last year investigated the notion that gluten may cause depression in individuals with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). According the study, “current evidence suggests that many patients with self-reported non-coeliac gluten sensitivity retain gastrointestinal symptoms on a gluten-free diet but continue to restrict gluten as they report 'feeling better.'” The aim of the study, published in the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, was to investigate if consumption of gluten for those with NCGS negatively affected their “mental state and not necessarily [their]  gastrointestinal symptoms.”

To do this, researchers studied the effects on gluten in a double-blind cross-over study of 22 participants with irritable bowel syndrome who controlled their symptoms by adhering to a gluten-free diet but did not celiac disease. The participants were randomly assigned three dietary challenges for three days, followed by a three day wash out. They were then assigned to the next diet. Each diet contained one of the following daily: 16 grams of gluten, 16 grams of whey (16 g/day) or a placebo (no gluten). Following the diets, participants mental states were assessed by the Spielberger StateTrait Personality Inventory (STPI). Patients were also assessed for cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Researchers found that STPI state depression scores increased when ingesting gluten compared to the placebo (no gluten). Interestingly, depression scores between gluten and whey diets were comparable. Cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms were similar across all diets. Researchers concluded that “short-term exposure to gluten specifically induced current feelings of depression... Such findings might explain why patients with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity feel better on a gluten-free diet despite the continuation of gastrointestinal symptoms.”

According to Psychology Today, “if you feel better in body or mind not eating gluten, by all means, don’t eat it. At Kay’s Naturals, we know first-hand that an increasing number of individuals are becoming sensitive to gluten. To cater to those who are intolerant to gluten, our entire brand is made in a completely gluten-free facility, so cross-contamination is impossible. If you would like to learn more about our gluten-free, high-protein and low-sugar snacks and cereals head over to our website.