Q: Everyone in my family has Type 2 diabetes. I’m 26 and don’t want to get it. What can help me beat this family curse?
— Jeannie G., Dayton, Ohio
A: Type 2 diabetes runs in families and there’s often a genetic component that makes people susceptible to it, but rarely are genetics the only determining factor and they don’t make it inevitable. Whether you develop Type 2 diabetes or not is affected by your food choices, your stress response, your physical activity level and sleep habits.
A fascinating new study identified 19 risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, and they’re all controllable through the four basic lifestyle choices mentioned above. The 19 are: insomnia; systolic blood pressure; starting smoking; lifetime smoking; coffee (caffeine) consumption; blood plasma levels of the amino acids isoleucine, valine and leucine; liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (a sign of liver function); childhood and adulthood body mass index; body fat percentage; visceral (internal) fat mass; resting heart rate; and blood plasma levels of four fatty acids.
You can bring your blood pressure, amino acid levels, liver function, body weight, belly fat, heart rate, level of beneficial fatty acids and stress response into a healthy zone with exercise and healthy food choices and slash your risk for diabetes to almost zero. Plus, exercise and healthy food choices may conquer insomnia. Never smoking/vaping or stopping smoking is in your control, too. So, here’s how to eliminate those 19 risk factors.
• For guidance on changing your diet, go to DoctorOz.com and search for “System 20 plan.” Pick up Dr. Mike’s book “What to Eat When.” And visit niddk.nih.gov; search the site for Diet & Nutrition.
• To get into physical activity, Google “Sharecare how to get started with exercise.”
Q: I keep hearing that turmeric is really good for you. Is it? And should I get it by using it as a spice in food or take a supplement?
— Janelle P., Eugene, Ore.
A: Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and its active ingredient is called curcumin. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, and there are few solid clinical trials in humans that demonstrate its benefits. However, lab studies do show it may be an anti-inflammatory and help fight certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, neurological diseases and Crohn’s disease. And there have been some human trials that indicate it’s worth launching randomized, double-blind studies to get definitive answers.
• A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that over 12 weeks, patients with knee arthritis saw significant pain relief from taking two curcumin capsules daily compared to folks taking placebo.
• Another study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology showed that people with schizophrenia saw improved working memory and reduced inflammation when taking a curcumin supplement.
• Another pilot study gave 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients either curcumin or the NSAID diclofenac and found curcumin was more effective at reducing measures of disease activity, tenderness and swelling joints.
If you do consider taking turmeric/curcumin supplements, check with your doc first: They may boost the risk of bleeding for people taking aspirin or anticoagulant medications and alter the efficacy of certain anticancer and anti-rheumatic treatments. Skip ‘em if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
So enjoy the flavor — and potential benefits — of turmeric in sauces, curries and dips. If you do opt for supplements, here are the Cleveland Clinic’s tips. Start low and slow: Most folks tolerate turmeric well, but allergy, intolerance and gastrointestinal upset can happen. Ask your doc about taking up to 500mg twice a day with food. Buy a supplement with as few inactive ingredients as possible. If you want enhanced bioavailability, look for “phytosome technology” on the label — it ups absorption.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.