What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by elevated blood sugar levels that result from defects in insulin secretion, or action, or both. It is the most common endocrine disease characterized by metabolic abnormalities and by long-term complications involving the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. It affects over 200 million people worldwide.


What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that regulates the amount of sugar production in the body. The food that we eat and drink is broken down into simple materials like glucose. Glucose, in turn, is used by the cells of the body to fuel energy. Insulin enables glucose to be transported into cells.

If the body does not produce adequate amount of insulin or if cells resists the effects of insulin, or if the insulin itself is defective, then glucose will not be absorbed properly by those body cells that require it nor will it be stored appropriately in the liver and muscles. With this situation, the body produces the symptoms and complications of diabetes.

What are the types of diabetes?

Diabetes has two types:

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

It is also known as Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It is an autoimmune disease, meaning, the body`s immune system creates antibodies which destroys the cells in the pancreas that produces insulin. It usually occurs before the age of 30.

Symptoms include: thirst, excessive urination, increased in appetite, and weight loss developing over several days

Insulin is required in the treatment, which is injected just beneath the skin.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

It is otherwise known as Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) The cause is an abnormal insulin secretion and the resistance to insulin action in target tissues. It is the most common form of diabetes mellitus and most patients are obese or overweight.

Family history, older age, environmental insults (example: chronic and excessive intake of alcohol), abd lack of exercise all play a factor.

It usually begins after the age of 30. The treatment includes diet modification and intake of oral anti-hyperglycemic drugs.

Insulin may be given if the patient is not responsive to oral medications to lower the blood sugar.

What are the complications of diabetes mellitus?

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Silent myocardial ischemia which may lead to “heart attack”
  • Diabetic retinopathy which leads to blindness
  • Renal disease
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal infections like candidiasis
  • Diabetic foot ulcers which could lead to limb amputations
  • Diabetic neuropathy symptoms include numbness, pain on joints, extremities
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar coma which when treatment fails results in death

About mangosteen

The Mangosteen is a tropical tree, which requires a warm, humid environment all year round, found in Southeast Asian countries like Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. It can thrive at elevations of up to 500 meters above the sea level.

The mangosteen is grown and marketed for its high medicinal value and high antioxidant content.

What are the medicinal uses and health benefits of mangosteen?

Traditionally, the mangosteen peeling is boiled and given as treatment for diarrhea while the bark extract is marketed in Malaya for the treatment of amoebic dysentery.

Other medicinal uses includes treatment for urinary disorders, reduce pain as in the case of dysmenorrhea, thrush, eczema and other skin disorders.

Latest studies show that mangosteen contains compounds like xanthones found to have antioxidant properties.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and thus prevent body cell damage. It is known to help maintain the immune system which makes our body fight diseases like common colds caused by viruses. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent which helps alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

Mangosteen and Diabetes Mellitus

The goal in the treatment of diabetes mellitus is to keep the blood glucose level as near normal as possible. It helps in the prevention of complications.

The antioxidants present in mangosteen offer some benefit for those with diabetes mellitus in terms of boosting the immune system and reduction of blood plasma cholesterol level. The research on the beneficial health effects of mangosteen is on its preliminary stage but show promising results.

The antioxidants present in mangosteen are:

· Xanthones: known not only for is antioxidant property but also for its immune system booster and anti-inflammatory properties. Helps heal cells damaged by free radicals,

· Catechins

· Polyphenols: fights oxidative stress that causing both neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

· Proanthocyanidins: Strong anti-oxidant

· Sterols: helps in the reduction in the amount of blood plasma cholesterol in the body.

Mangosteen supplements come in juice and capsule form. The juice form may contain sugar and other fruit extracts to improve its taste, which may be dangerous for diabetics. The processes involved in the manufacturing of mangosteen juice include pasteurization and reconstitution which destroy all the health benefits you are after. It would be wiser to opt for the capsule form which does not require the addition of sugar and preservatives to prolong its shelf life. The capsule form contains 100% of mangosteen, while the juice form has little percentage of the main ingredient because of the many additives incorporated in it.

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