DiabetesChoices Daily Digest July 7 2011

Welcome to the DiabetesChoices round-up of diabetes news and research, updated every weekday. Today: the new Disney character with diabetes, salt, nuts, vitamin D and what really gets people with diabetes down …

Diabetes news

A new Disney character who has type 1 diabetes is one of the stars of the Friends for Life conference, currently taking place in Florida. Coco (pictured here) has been created in collaboration with Children with Diabetes and Eli Lilly.  Disney supports families affected by type 1 diabetes on its Family website.  Follow Friends for Life on Twitter #ffl11 – thanks to @Sweder for the picture.

Diabetes research

The team at NHS Choices have analysed the review of studies on whether salt intake affects heart health, which hit the headlines earlier this week, and report that the findings were too equivocal to draw any firm conclusions. More on this on DiabetesChoices here.

Researchers at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, report that giving vitamin D supplements to a small group of adults at risk of type 2 diabetes improved their beta cell function, which is key to insulin response, and marginally slowed the rise in blood glucose levels. The randomised controlled trial is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A daily dose of mixed nuts helped to lower blood glucose in a group of people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study carried out in Toronto and published in Diabetes Care. The three-month study, which was funded by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation and the Peanut Institute, found that HbA1c was reduced in the group who ate nuts versus two control groups, even though they were already taking glucose-lowering medication.

A study in mice has found that supplementing a high-fat diet with leucine – an amino acid found in protein-rich foods – produced a big improvement in their response to glucose, even though they still gained weight and developed other signs of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The research was carried out at the Joslin Diabetes Centre and Harvard Medical School and is published in the journal PlosOne.

And finally …

Fatigue is the biggest daily challenge facing people with diabetes, according to an American company that makes a vitamin drink designed to boost energy. In a survey of 8,000 people with diabetes, 85% said tiredness made it difficult to get through their day.

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