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Amino Acids Help Heart Health in Diabetics
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, November 30, 2011, abstracted from “Effects of amino acid supplementation on myocardial cell damage and cardiac function in diabetes” in Experimental and Clinical Cardiology
 
The latest statistics form the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 25.8 million Americans, or 8.3% of the population, have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. From 2005-2008, 35% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older (79 million Americans).had pre-diabetes, meaning that the $174 billion diabetes currently costs our society will continue to increase (1). A new study (2) now finds the total number of diabetes cases in the world to have doubled since 1980 (153 million to 347 million in 2008).
 
Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke (1). Heart changes that occur in diabetics include increasing size (called “reactive hypertrophy”) which leads to altered heart function and an increased risk of death due to heart disease (3). Fortunately, a new study in rats (4) suggests that amino acid supplements can help heart health in diabetics.
 
In the study, researchers put 6 rats in to each of the following groups:
 
- Control Group – fed normal diet with no diabetes induced through an injection (a single tail vein injection of streptozotocin (65 mg/kg body weight, dissolved in 0.1 M citrate buffer, pH 4.5) as has been used in previous research (5).
 
- Diabetes Group – normal diet, diabetes induced with an injection
 
- Diabetes + Arginine Group – normal diet, injection, 200 mg per kg of bodyweight of the amino acid Arginine added to diet (this amount in mice equals a ½-oz serving for a 70 kg (154 lb) human).
 
- Diabetes + Taurine Group - normal diet, injection, and 400 mg per kg of bodyweight of the amino acid Taurine ((this amount in mice equals a 1-oz serving for a 70 kg (154 lb) human).
 
- Diabetes + Carnitine Group - normal diet, injection, and 400 mg per kg of bodyweight of the amino acid Carnitine
 
- Diabetes + Combination Group - normal diet, injection, and all 3 amino acids (200 mg/kg/bw Arginine, 400 mg/kg/bw Taurine, 400 mg/kg/bw Carnitine).
 
All amino acid doses were used in previous research (6, 7).
 
All diabetes groups followed their specific diets for 3 weeks before the injection was used. They then followed their specific diet for 8 more weeks, after which the researchers obtained blood samples and measured heart function in the form of cardiac output (liters of blood pumped per minute).
 
The blood samples showed the amino acid combination to be most effective in minimizing the damage caused by the diabetes-induced injection. Specifically, the combination group had total cholesterol levels 15% higher than the control group (2.46 vs. 2.13 milliMolar) but 12.5% lower than the diabetes-only group (2.46 vs. 2.87 mM) (p < 0.05). 
 
Blood fats called triglycerides were 256% higher levels in the combination group compared to the control group (4.11 vs. 1.50 mM) but 56% lower levels than the diabetes-only group (4.11 vs. 9.18 mM) (p < 0.05). Finally, HDL cholesterol in the combination group was 8.5% higher than the control group (1.39 vs. 1.28 mM) and 16% higher than the diabetes-only group (1.39 vs. 1.20 mM) (p < 0.05).
 
When they looked at cardiac output, the combination group had 44% lower cardiac output than the control group (0.152 vs. 0.270 Liters/min) but 14% higher than the diabetes-only group (0.152 vs. 0.133 L/min)
 
The one result that required caution was blood sugar levels as the combination group was 61% higher than the control group (40.7 vs. 25.3 mM) and 27.5% higher than the diabetes-only group (40.7 vs. 31.9 mM) to which the researchers pointed to research showing taurine to decrease insulin secretion from the pancreas, thereby leading to higher blood sugar levels (6), “indicating that taurine could exert a negative effect on the regulation of the serum level of glucose.”
 
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com
 
Reference:

1.       “2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet” - http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/factsheet11.htm
2.       “Adult Diabetes Rate Doubles” - http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110626/ts_afp/healthdiabetesbritainus
3.       Bergner DW, Goldberger JJ. Diabetes mellitus and sudden cardiac death: What are the data? Cardiol J 2010;17:117-29
4.       Tappia PS. Effects of amino acid supplementation on myocardial cell damage and cardiac function in diabetes. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2011 Fall; 16(3): e17-e22.
5.       Clark TA, Maddaford TG, Tappia PS, Heyliger CE, Ganguly PK, Pierce GN. Restoration of cardiomyocyte function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats after treatment with vanadate in a tea decoction. Curr Pharm Biotechnol 2010;11:906-10.
6.       El-Missiry MA, Othman AI, Amer MA. L-arginine ameliorates oxidative stress in alloxan induced experimental diabetes mellitus. J Appl Toxicol 2004;24:93-7.
7.    Li C, Cao L, Zeng Q, et al. Taurine may prevent diabetic rats from developing cardiomyopathy also by downregulating angiotensin II type 2 receptor expression. Cardiovasc Drugs Therap 2005;18:105-12.