Monday, August 27, 2007

Early Warning Markers for Type-2 Diabetes

Two recent UCLA studies strongly link metabolism and immunology to type 2 diabetes.

These new studies suggest that the inability of the body to process insulin stems from chronic inflammation, which can be caused by fat cells' secretion of chemical signaling compounds called cytokines.

Think of signaling cytokines as the body's early warning smoke alarm.

Three of these compounds; tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleudin-6 (IL-6), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) are the key molecule markers now confirmed to lead to type 2 diabetes.

The presence of these cytokine markers corresponded in recent studies to a double or triple increase in the risk of the development of type-2 diabetes. Inclusion of these test in annual check-ups could be a tremendous step forward in diabetic disease prevention and management.

These tests are not particularly expensive. If you find you have high cytokine formation while you're still healthy, you can make better lifestyle choices that will help lower cytokine formation, thereby lowering the risk for a five alarm disease fire.

Currently, most docs still only use the the blood glucose level test to determine diabetes, but by the time blood glucose levels are in the diabetic range, it may be too late to make the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent disease progression.

Type-2 diabetes (formerly called adult onset) can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, amputation and death if not properly controlled; preferably with dietary intake, exercise and other lifestyle changes that promote health.

Over 20 million people in the Unites States have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes


Susan Shaffer, RN, MS said...

I had to ask my doctor three times to check my homocysteine level before he finally agreed to do so. When it came back in the normal range he acted like I was an overly demanding menopausal patient and wrote me a script for Prozac.

I doubt he will include these tests for other inflammatory markers in his check-ups.

Maybe I should find a new doctor?

Anonymous said...


I was looking at your company's web page ( and noticed that you have a product called EpiCor that is modulated for the immune system. Because UCLA is linking metabolism AND immunology to type 2 diabetes, do you suppose taking EpiCor to help boost the immune system and daily exercise/eating right for metabolism could help prevent the onset of diabetes?

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Medicine and science recognized a number of years ago that juvenile diabetes (type-1) is an autoimmune disease. Metabolic syndrome was recognized a number of years ago as a precursor to type-2 diabetes.

It's interesting, given that type-2 diabetes is now considered an epidemic, that it has taken so long for the science community to officially link type-2 diabetes to immunology, as well.

To my knowledge, no type-2 diabetic clinical studies have been done on EpiCor, thus far. However, that said, I would agree that the new science suggests the importance of maintaining a well-modulated immune system.

Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

Susan Shaffer, RN points out a problem that many try to downplay; many doctors do not know what role homocysteine plays, and ignore inflammatory markers that could identify disease early on.

This is one reason people are looking for a doctor who spends time studying more than TV ads for the newest miracle drug.

Sally said...

My grandmother and cousin have diabetes so should I be taking your company's EpiCor. I am not overweight but I don't excerise as much as I should.

Anonymous said...


Inflammation does appear to be a major causative factor in Type 2 diabetes but the blood tests still lack sensitivity. IL-6 and TNF-a primartily act in local tissue and are not consistently picked up in the circulation. The blood tests may greatly under-estimate their levels/activity. CRP production by the liver can be supressed by poor liver function or drugs that block production such as statins.

If these markers are high, it is a problem but it may also be if they are normal.

Scott Banks, DC

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

You make a GREAT point about the inconsistent reliability of the inflammatory marker tests we now have available.

Do you have ideas about other lab tests that might warn a patient of impending type-2 diabetes?