Eating Fish Can Help Diabetics

Including fish regularly in their diet helped reduce the risk of heart disease for women with type 2 diabetes.

That research is consistent with other studies that show the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce the risk of heart disease in healthy people.

“There are a lot of clinical trials looking at the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on blood lipids,” says Frank B. Hu, M.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Hu added that two completed trials, conducted in people with heart disease, found that the consumption of fish or fish oil significantly reduced mortality.

Hu and his research team studied the data in the ongoing Nurse’s Health Study, which began in 1976 and asked 121,700 female nurses about their lifestyle, nutrition and health habits as well as their medical history.

They focused on more than 5,000 nurses who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 1976 and 1994 but did not have a history of heart attack, stroke or cancer. The women were divided into categories as to how much fish they typically ate.

Those who ate fish one to three times a month reduced their risk of heart attack by 30 percent, while those who ate fish once a week reduced it by 40 percent. But women who ate fish five or more times a week reduced their risk of heart disease by 64 percent. Those who ate more fish also ate more fruits and vegetables and less red and processed meats.

But is it something protective in the fish itself, or is the fact that someone with a plate of salmon isn’t eating a steak?

“There are some biological substances or compounds in fish – the omega-3 fatty acids – that are beneficial,” says Hu. “Whether it’s the substitution for other foods such as steak couldn’t be answered definitively because we didn’t assign people to fish or non-fish groups. But we did take into account the differences of red meat and other foods, and the protective effects of fish are still there.”

This study put to rest fears that a diet high in fish might actually worsen control of glucose, and it showed that women with diabetes could gain the same protective benefits as healthy people from a diet containing fish.

Does the fish actually reduce the risk of diabetes or help the body to process insulin more effectively?

“That we haven’t looked at, but it’s possible,” Hu says. “There is some evidence, but the data is not convincing.”

But for those with diabetes, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help protect against heart disease by decreasing blood triglyceride levels, improving the functioning of blood vessels and reducing the risk of blood clots.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon. The American Heart Association recommends that adults, except for pregnant women, should eat two servings of fish each week.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Food is a source of energy for the body. Through the process of digestion, most of the food that we consume is eventually broken down, or converted, into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose then passes into the bloodstream where it becomes available for the body to use for growth and energy. In order for glucose to be used by other cells in the body, a hormone produced by the pancreas, called insulin, is needed.

In diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, or the cells throughout the body are unable to utilize the insulin that is being produced. The end result is a buildup of glucose in the blood, which eventually spills over into the urine before leaving the body. Elevated blood glucose levels are responsible for the many health problems associated with diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

  • Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes.
  • In this type of diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  • Treatment always involves injections of insulin along with diet modifications to control blood glucose levels.
  • This form of diabetes accounts for about 5 percent to 10 percent of all cases in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes

  • Also known as noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes.
  • In this type of diabetes, there is both a state of insulin resistance and a defect in insulin production.
  • Treatment may involve diet modification and exercise alone, oral medications and/or insulin injections to control blood glucose levels.
  • This form of diabetes accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of all cases in the United States.

Gestational diabetes

  • This type of diabetes by definition affects pregnant women.
  • Treatment may involve diet alone or insulin injections to control blood glucose levels.
  • This type of diabetes usually resolves once the pregnancy is over, but women who experience gestational diabetes have a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

How common is type 1 diabetes?

Of the 17 million people in the United States who have diabetes, about 5 percent to 10 percent have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood or adolescence but may begin at any age. It is considered a lifelong disease because there is no cure for type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body stages an all-out war against itself by attacking its own cells. Researchers do not know exactly what causes the immune system to attack and destroy the beta cells within the pancreas, but the end result is the inability of the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin.

Before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, people with type 1 diabetes usually died within a year of diagnosis. All of that has changed. Although people with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections multiple times each day to balance their blood glucose levels, they can expect to live a long life with this disease.

New discoveries in type 1 diabetes

The discovery of insulin in 1921 was probably the most notable event in diabetes research. Prior to the discovery of insulin, an individual diagnosed with type 1 diabetes had a life expectancy of less than a year. The availability of insulin, although not a cure for diabetes, has allowed millions of people affected by diabetes to live a long and productive life.

More recent research achievements in diabetes care have identified type 1 diabetes as an autoimmune disease. In doing this, more effective treatments aimed at suppressing the immune system and delaying the destruction of beta cells can be utilized.

In 1993, a 10-year study named the Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT) has proven what researchers believed all along – that intensified care and tight glucose control can go a long way in reducing the long-term complications of diabetes.

Newer, more effective systems for delivering insulin are constantly being studied. One day, continuous and noninvasive glucose monitoring devices could eliminate the need for finger sticks to check glucose levels.

At the American Diabetes Association’s 62nd annual meeting, there were reports of new technologies for insulin delivery. There has been successful research for a pill, a transdermal skin patch, a mouth spray and several versions of pulmonary inhaled insulin. That could make life easier for the 3.7 million patients in America who, on average, must take one to five insulin shots daily to control their disease.

Research shows that a drug (an antibody) (in a single 2-week treatment) may stop type 1 diabetes in people newly diagnosed with the disease, decreasing their need for insulin shots. The most important finding of this study is that there can be effective intervention even after onset of the disease. The drug targets specific immune cells and so protects beta cells and preinsulin production.

The first successful pancreas transplant was performed in 1966, but survival rates for this procedure were initially low until improved anti-rejection drugs became available. By the end of 1997, nearly 10,000 pancreatic transplants had been recorded in the International Pancreas Transplant Registry. Most pancreatic transplantations in patients with diabetes are offered to people with end-stage renal disease and are performed at the same time as or after kidney transplantation. The success rates for pancreas transplants alone are not as good as when both kidney and pancreas are transplanted together. Pancreas transplant is, therefore, usually only offered to the patient who has end-stage renal failure and requires a kidney transplant.

Some of the most promising diabetes research appears to be in the area of islet cell transplants. In this procedure, instead of transplanting most of or the entire pancreas, only the islet cells (those cells responsible for insulin production) are transplanted. This procedure does not involve the surgical risks associated with organ transplantations. Many researchers believe that the cure for diabetes will evolve when improved methods for preventing rejection of the transplanted islet cells are perfected.

The ability to use engineered islet cells, using recombinant DNA to create new islet cells, is another area of diabetes research that could some day lead to a cure for diabetes.

The future for those affected by diabetes looks hopeful. Research efforts during the past 80 years have led to improved management and treatment of diabetes today. Although a lot of work remains in diabetes research, the road to the cure for diabetes is getting shorter.

Is Brown Spotting Common in Early Pregnancy

Brown Spotting During Pregnancy

Brown spotting is one of the common problems which a pregnant woman would experience during the pregnancy. This is normally considered as signs of miscarriage especially when it is linked with cramping, spotting and abdominal pain. Most of the pregnant women experience brown spotting with every trimester. The major strain and the added pressure on the joints, ligaments and muscles during pregnancy normally leads to discomfort, cramping and brown discharge during pregnancy in many women. The vaginal brown discharge enhances along with pregnancy progression. Any infection originating from vagina and traveling up to womb would cause brown discharge.

Brown discharge is not one of the common problems seen during pregnancy. Hence most of the women start to panic in case of its occurrence. As many women experience vaginal discharge which varies in color during their 1st trimester of the pregnancy, every kind of discharge cannot be considered as serious issue. The brown discharge can be considered as a normal phenomenon if and only if this discharge is not heavy along with blood clots or cramping or menstrual blood. If the discharge seems to be severe then it is definitely worrisome.

Major causes of brown spotting

There are various theories and opinions regarding this particular problem of brown spotting and the below given factors are believed to be most likely causes of brown spotting during pregnancy.

  • One of the major causes of brown spotting during pregnancy is sexual intercourse. As the cervix becomes very sensitive and tender during pregnancy , intercourse would lead to tear cervix which in fact results in brown spotting.
  • Implantation bleeding is another cause of this brown spotting. This occurs around two weeks post to conceived date that is when fertilized eggs get implanted on the uterus. The mild bleeding or brown spotting would continue for a day or two.
  • The vaginal infections like genital HPV, bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection are some of the causes of brown spotting during pregnancy. This infection leads to irritation, itchiness or burning sensation around vaginal area.

One of the severe causes of brown spotting is possibility of ectopic pregnancy. In this case, the embryo gets planted normally on fallopian tubes and starts to develop. This affects the woman’s health and hence one should make sure that it is terminates at the earliest.

If a pregnant woman experiences any sort of heavy brown discharge or spotting then she should consult her doctor immediately and get it diagnosed. Excessive brown spotting during early pregnancy is one of the symptoms to worry about. If this discharge is associated with thick red color discharge and severe cramps then pregnant woman should instantly approach her gynecologist. A light brown discharge or spotting in early pregnancy is not a thing to worry because it has been scientifically proved that it’s the old blood left over from the implantation.

Fresh Fitness QAs: sports bras, armpit fat, firm abs, and much more!

by Erin Kurdyla, Fresh Fitness Tips, SELF Magazine

michelle621 says: I was just wondering if you could recommend any good sports bras that are really supportive for class like kickboxing where there is a lot of jumping around. Thanks!

Answer: My sports bra of choice is Champions Shiny Seamless Sports Bra, $22.99 but if you have a larger chest (let’s say C on up) than you may want to try the Enell Sports Bra, $60;, or Champions Powerback Sports Bra, $38 which both have thicker shoulder straps and two distinct cups.

CassaB says: Is there any way to tone armpit fat? I am pretty lean…exercise regularly but no matter what I do I cannot get rid of these pockets of fat in the crease of my armpits…(where it would hang over if wearing a bra) it’s there if I wear a bra or not!

Answer: Sounds like you’re talking about the dreaded bra overhang. Step 1- make sure that your bra is the right fit. The wrong size can create that bulge even on the fittest person. Step 2-Work the latissimus dorsi muscles or the lats (the muscles that run from your armpit to your waist on either side of your body) by performing a seated row with your resistance band. Check out the pictures.

katefitness says: There are so many workouts posted on Self and others, plus my DVDs. Do you think you can get a good effect (tone, strength and weight loss) if you do a different workout everyday as long as the total body is covered, or is it best to stick to a workout for a month or so. Thanks.

Answer: Mixing and matching total body workout routines (like the ones at is effective and fun. The variety keeps you motivated and helps to target various muscle groups on your body. I’m a big fan.

autumn_willow_7 says: Hope you had fun! Speaking of the big chill, it’s been snowing in Portland, OR and I was just curious how many more calories you burn walking in the snow vs. regular walking (i.e. 10% more?) We have several inches and will be getting more. Thanks!

Answer: It’s not an exact science but if you’re walking in deep snow its equivalent to adding resistance so you could be burning as much as double the calories.

mammax4 says: Hi Erin, I too am a mother of 4 young children and I really admire how you find time to exercise each day. I keep telling myself I will start the next day. I am not overweight just out of shape and holding on to maybe 10 extra post baby pounds. Anyway I was just wondering I see the DVD’s above and wanted to know have you been able to get your abs back after having 4 kids??? I had 3 c-sections and would love to have firm abs again

Answer: I’m not ready to bare the midriff quite yet, but with the help of my latest DVD 10 Minute Solution Quick Tummy Toners (and cardio) my abs are feeling firmer almost seven months after having my son. There’s a whole world of 10 Minute Solution DVDs out there. Check them out at! These DVDs make it easy to squeeze in 10 minutes of exercise here and there. Do a few sessions throughout the day and you’re that much closer to that firm tummy. Start today!

Slim down this weekend with this workout

I’m really digging the moves from Self’s “Slim down this weekend” workout in the November issue (p.154). Today I created a great workout by incorporating the Sunday tone up moves and a few moves of my own. And since the moves were fun, I was able to entertain my boys while I got in some toning time. Here’s what I was up to:
I grabbed a 4lb. medicine ball for me and a bunch of soft Nerf balls for the boys and we played “Can you do this?”. I started with some of the basic moves from the magazine (the belly bridge was the best), then I let them make up a few moves with the ball, and at the end I went back for the second set while they played catch.

1.  Twist or Lunge

2. Belly Bridge

3. Ball Serve

4. Squat Toss

These are my add-ons:

5. Squat Circle- Stand with feet slightly apart. Squat down with the ball in one hand. Then pass it from one hand to the other making a circle around your ankles five times.Stand back up and repeat for 2 sets of 12 reps changing direction of the circle after each set.

6. Figure 8- Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Squat down with the ball. Then pass it from hand to hand in and out of your legs in a figure eight pattern five times. Stand back up and repeat for 2 sets of 12 reps changing direction of the figure eight pattern after each set.