What is all the hype around meldonium?

Meldonium (Mildronate) is a drug manufactured in Latvia since the 1980’s where it is legal, however the FDA has not approved it for use in the US.
It is an ‘anti-ischemic’ drug, which means it is used to treat inadequate blood-flow to the organs, especially the heart. It is primarily used to treat patients with heart conditions that affects the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body.  It helps to protect against tissue damage from angina attacks, chronic heart failure and disorders of brain circulation.
Due to its ability to increase oxygen uptake it is also beneficial to healthy individuals and athletes as it increases mental function and physical capacity and stamina. This is why it was banned by the anti-doping authorities at the beginning of the year and caught out a number of athletes who have tested positive, such as the tennis player Maria Sharapova.
Meldonium reduces the amount of oxygen that is needed to keep tissues alive by changing the way the muscle cells metabolize substances in the blood. It alters the mitochondria to utilize carbohydrates for energy instead of fatty acids, a process which requires less oxygen to carry out. Therefore in people with less oxygen in their blood they can still produce energy in the cells and the tissue and organs remain healthy. In athletes this reduction for the need of oxygen can enhance their performance. During exercise our bodies use oxygen at a faster rate than the lungs can replace it but this drug can reduce the amount of oxygen being used up allowing athletes to work out for longer. Processing carbohydrates instead of fatty acids also means that there is less lactate and urea produced, which would normally cause stiffness and pain in the muscles after a workout and so an athlete can workout out for longer and more frequently. Due to its ability to allow an athlete to work out more efficiently and for longer by altering the way the cells metabolize substances for energy, and diminishing the need for oxygen it has been considered as an unfair advantage over other athletes and has been banned.
The drug however has other benefits and in combination with other drugs can help treat diabetes as it reduces the amount of glucose in the blood due to making the cells process carbohydrates which contain glucose molecules.  It can also improve mood and motor functions in patients with neurological disorders and brain circulatory problems as well as enhancing cognitive ability and reducing dementia.
The drug is being considered as a possible addition to the treatment plan for patients suffering from respiratory conditions such as COPD. These patients can suffer from very low oxygen levels in their blood and be on supplemental oxygen therapy to try and combat this and they feel very weak and tired due to the low oxygen. Meldonium could allow the body to allocate less oxygen to the cells for energy metabolism and redirect it elsewhere where it is also needed. Patients would benefit from increased oxygen levels in their blood and feeling less fatigued which could help curb the progression of the disease. These patients are advised to stay fit and healthy and to exercise as much as possible. With the benefits seen with this drug being used by athletes then the same could apply to these patients and allow them to exercise for longer, which would also benefit their health.
References: www.techinsider.io and http://qz.com

Oxygen could be the key to a cure for diabetes

With Obesity steadily increasing in the Western world, the number of people suffering from Diabetes has become grossly excessive and is on the increase.

sugar and diabetesThe treatment of Diabetes demands that the diabetic make drastic lifestyle changes. These changes can include: weight loss, rigid exercise programs and a complete restructuring of a person’s diet. Unfortunately many patients struggle to initiate and maintain these changes and find themselves being gradually and increasingly affected by damaging symptoms of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacking itself and destroying cells in the pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin and so it results in the body not producing enough. It can be caused by an infection, toxins or an autoimmune reaction. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by multiple risk factors including obesity, increasing age, poor diet, pregnancy and illness.
When there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose (sugar) can’t get into the body’s cells and builds up in the bloodstream. Since the cells aren’t getting the glucose they need, they can’t function properly and the build up causes damage in multiple areas of the body, leading to many various diabetes-related diseases and conditions.
A new bio-material has been designed which has the capacity to spontaneously generate oxygen when it is exposed to water. This material allows oxygen to be released in the bloodstream in targeted or generalised areas increasing oxygen levels within the body and not relying on lung function. A major potential use of this material is that it can be used in transplantation and skin grafts. Normally when new cells are surgically placed it takes a while for the body to form a blood supply network to these new cells and many die off in the early stages. This material would allow an immediate oxygen supply and increase the chances of the organ or cells taking hold. In particular it would be beneficial for transplanting pancreatic cells as these require huge amounts of oxygen to survive and function. Successful pancreatic cell transplants would give patients with Type 1 diabetes the ability to produce their own insulin.
This however is still in its early days and much more research is needed before it can hopefully start treating those with diabetes. More and more patients are seeking out alternative and natural remedies to help treat their symptoms but it seems that oxygen therapy is often overlooked. Oxygenating the cells in your body is proven to have many positive health benefits and it has been found that it can aid in the prevention of several diabetic symptoms.
A main complication of diabetes is limb amputation due to a lack of circulation. Regular oxygen therapy has been shown to aid cellular oxygenation and healing, increasing the oxygen levels reaching your extremities to prevent cell death and helping to heal ulcers.
Diabetic patients are 3 times more likely to develop Glaucoma which can lead to blindness. Supplemental oxygen has been shown to ensure continued oxygenation to the eye and to relief the pressure that the fluid build-up can cause. Glaucoma is also difficult to spot until it is too late therefore taking supplemental oxygen can help to ward off this symptom before it’s too late.
Diabetes also weakens the body and its ability to self-heal and can affect the sensory areas of the brain. Many Type 1 sufferers experience symptoms similar to being under the influence of alcohol which can have a major impact of their day-to-day life. Supplemental oxygen has been shown to aid in nerve regeneration and general body repair and healing which can alleviate these symptoms.
Oxygen Therapy is an effective alternative treatment for diabetes and can be used as a method of prevention against certain debilitating ailments commonly experienced by diabetics. Talk to your GP about the possibility of being prescribed oxygen via the NHS or there are many private companies that can supply oxygen concentrators to you.
References: www.miami.edu and www.mroxygen.co.za and www.diabetes.co.uk

The link between diabetes and COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease and Diabetes Mellitus are both common and under-diagnosed diseases. COPD is considered as a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes due to inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance and weight gain. On the other hand Diabetes may act as an independent factor as it negatively impacts upon pulmonary structure and function. It also results in an increased risk of infection and worsened COPD outcomes. Recognising the inter-relations between these two diseases can help to improve the outcome and medical control for both conditions.

Patients with COPD have an increased risk of developing Diabetes. Not only directly but indirectly as COPD patients often suffer from other medical conditions like elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which are linked to diabetes. The combination of these medical problems is often referred to as ‘metabolic syndrome’.
The specific pathology as to why COPD patients are at a high risk of developing diabetes is unclear, but it is thought that it is due to inflammation associated with lung disease and the use of corticosteroids.
Elevated levels of glucose are associated with abnormal lung function. Those with type 1 diabetes experience a 20% decline in lung function and it may contribute to worsening symptoms in COPD patients.
Diabetes can affect the lungs in different ways. It has been associated with decreased lung volume, reduced lung expiration volumes and reduction in the ability of the lung tissue to diffuse oxygen. It is thought that glucose affects the diaphragm, breathing muscles and nerves in the lungs.
Diabetes is also associated with abnormal brain control of breathing pattern and can cause sleep-breathing disorders. Studies show that COPD patients with diabetes have an accelerated decline in lung function compared to those without diabetes and uncontrolled diabetes in COPD patients result in increased exacerbations, more frequent and longer hospitals stays and risk of death.
The adverse affects of diabetes on lung function appears to be stronger among people who smoke tobacco, and this group of people also have the highest risk of developing COPD.
Both conditions have also been linked to a phenomenon called oxidative stress, in which highly energized compounds called reactive oxygen species, which react strongly with other molecules, damage tissue. In the case of COPD, oxidative stress injures the airway and promotes inflammation in the lungs, and oxidative stress has been implicated as an underlying cause of the insulin resistance seen in Type 2 diabetes.
Both conditions can occur independently of each other but can also occur due to the presence of the other one. Both diseases also have a negative impact upon the state of the other. COPD will cause worsening of Diabetes and vice-versa. Therefore adequate diabetic control is key for patients with COPD to prevent worsening of their condition, as there is no cure for COPD and prevention is critical.
Due to the huge overlap between these conditions if you have been diagnosed with either condition you should ask your GP to check for the other. If you have diabetes and have a history of smoking you are at a high risk for developing COPD and like-wise if you have COPD make sure you are checked for diabetes especially if you have a family history of diabetes.

References: www.cardiab.com and blog.copdfoundation.org and www.diabetesselfmanagement.com

Oxygen could also help treat diabetes

It’s not often heard that diabetic sufferers use oxygen therapy, however it is becoming increasingly more recognised as a form of treatment.

diabetesDiabetics are more prone to many other medical diseases and ailments as a result of their condition. They have circulatory problems leading to sores, ulcers and amputation. They also suffer from many organ-related problems, obesity, nerve dysfunction, sleep apnea, eye degeneration and loss of eyesight among many others.
Diabetics usually have circulatory problems where the blood flow to bodily tissues is diminished and their arteries tend to thicken due to not being able to digest fats such as cholesterol very well because of their high blood glucose levels.  This is compounded by the fact that less blood is able to reach the tissue and therefore unable to deliver oxygen to them. Cells become oxygen depleted and can die off leading to gangrene and being unable to fight off infections.
Diabetics have to either inject insulin or radically alter their diet and lifestyle but many find this difficult to do or maintain and the disease can speed up in its progression. This can lead to other medical issues and the need for treatments and medications, exercise and close monitoring by your GP. The additional use of oxygen therapy can help a great deal to prevent serious complications from Diabetes.
Using oxygen therapy will help over time, since additional oxygen will be distributed throughout the blood vessels of the body, and reach your tissues and extremities, where people with diabetes often have the most problems.  If the oxygen levels can be kept high enough in the body then the risk is lowered that extremities will suffer tissue damage and organs become damaged and reduce the possibilities of further medical issues and complications. It has been shown to reduce fluid build-up in the eye and to prevent and treat eye sight problems such as glaucoma, which is largely attributed to diabetes. Many suffer from sleep apnea, partly to do with the tendency to put on weight when you are a diabetic. Oxygen therapy helps to relieve your symptoms at night and make you feel more energised and healthier during the day. There are links between oxygen therapy and a reduction in heart tissue damage from strokes and improved wound healing, such as with ulcers and a general improvement in circulation and a reduction in circulatory medical conditions.
The realisation that diabetics require additional oxygen in their bodies to counteract the poor circulation and the inability for oxygen to pass through thickened vessel walls. And that this in itself can help to prevent and treat many medical conditions associated with Diabetes has led to patients being prescribed oxygen therapy and studies have shown that supplemental oxygen does work and GP’s are starting to prescribe it more regularly, especially as the benefits of other oxygen therapy users such as COPD sufferers are so apparent.
References: http://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com and http://www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com

Supplemental oxygen can potentially improve eyesight

improving eyesightDiabetes can cause many health problems for sufferers and one of these is macular oedema. This is a fluid build-up in the part of the eye that is responsible for central vision. Diabetic macular oedema affects up to 10 percent of all patients with diabetes. It is caused when high blood sugar eventually causes damage in blood vessels of the retina and a decrease in the supply of oxygen and nutrients. When the retina experiences low oxygen levels it releases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and other substances that cause the retinal blood vessels to become leaky and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. The leakage of fluid into the macular causes it to become thickened and results in vision loss. Many patients have laser treatment to try and correct it, however many patients find that they still suffer persistent oedema.
A pilot study has monitored diabetic patients breathing supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula and found that it helped to reduce fluid build-up and swelling and in some cases improved their visual acuity fairly dramatically. Patients were given 4 litres per minute of oxygen via a nasal cannula and asked to use it continuously for three months day and night.
After the three months it was found that there was an average 50% decreases in the excess thickness of the macular, the excess thickness of the fovea (responsible for sharpness of vision) and in the macular volume. Also a third had improved visual acuity with the ability to read two lines higher on an eye chart.
In addition it was noted that when the supplemental oxygen therapy was discontinued the subject’s vision slowly worsened. However in those where their eyes had returned to within the normal range whilst on supplemental oxygen, their eyesight did not worsen but remained within the normal ranges once the supplemental oxygen was stopped.
It appears that supplemental oxygen reduces the production of VEGF, which reduces the amount of leaking in retinal vessels and therefore lessens the severity of macular oedema.
Researchers believe that this could be used in conjunction with eye laser treatment to improve oxygenation to the retina to provide long-term eye stability. The oxygen treatment could reduce the thickness of the retina prior to laser treatment in order to make the laser treatment more effective and long-lasting, for when supplemental oxygen is ceased. There are also oral drugs being developed that block receptors for VEGF and could be used in conjunction with supplemental oxygen to help improve results.

References: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org and http://iovs.arvojournals.org