Is Your Diabetes Drug Making You Fat?

A popular class of anti-diabetic drugs does more than lower blood sugar.

It may also be making you fatter and increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.

TZDs (thiazolidinediones), a class of diabetes drugs that includes Actos and Avandia, are used to help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, but at a steep cost: they often lead to significant weight gain.

Now researchers have uncovered why these drugs cause users to pack on the pounds.

New studies have shown that these drugs increased the appetite in users and also change your fat tissue and cause you to store much more fat.

Let me go into some detail here.

A study on rats found the drugs influence a molecular system called PPAR-y.

PPAR-y is found not only in fat tissue, where it influences the production of fat cells, but also in your brain.

The diabetes drugs activated PPAR-y in the brain, leading to changes in appetite regulation that caused the rats to eat more. Diets high in saturated fat also activated the same system.

The researchers concluded one solution to the weight gain problem would be to redesign the drugs so they have less influence on your brain, but that would not do anything about the drugs’ other side effects.

Avandia, for instance, has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and as a result U.S. regulators recently restricted its use.

A study in the July Cell Metabolism, also explores the negative effects of TZDs on fat.

The findings from these studies offer new biological insights into fat tissue and its role as a central component of metabolic control.

They may also pave the way for the development of new and better drugs, according to the researchers.

“TZDs have lots of side effects,” said Jonathan Graff of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “We may find ways to replace them with drugs that have fewer.”

Earlier studies showed that TZDs remodel fat (adipose) tissue and that they lead to the recruitment of new fat cells known as adipocytes.

“TZDs alter adipose tissue to make you fatter,” Graff said.

His team wanted to know whether those effects could be traced to adipose stem cells as the source of all those new adipocytes. Adipose stem cells were earlier identified in the walls of the blood vessels that feed adipose tissue, suggesting they might be an accessible target for therapies.

Indeed, they show in mice that one of the drugs, rosiglitazone, markedly increases the evolution of adipose stem cells into new adipocytes, perhaps explaining why those taking the drugs tend to gain so much weight.

After two months on the drug, however, the animals' stem cells were “profoundly altered” both molecularly and functionally. At that point, “they don't proliferate in the same way and they no longer form fat cells,” Graff said.

It was as if the fat cell progenitors had worked overtime and were spent.

The findings offer important evidence that the biology of fat might be altered for therapeutic ends via stem cells, the researchers say. 


Emed's Comment:

One of the frustrations of diabetes is the way everyone tells you to lose weight. Then they give you medicine that makes you gain weight.

Some of the worst offenders are these thiazolidinedione drugs, pioglitazone (brand name Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia).

For a person on a TZD such as Actos and Avandia, weight gain can be life-threatening, especially if it results in cardiovascular problems.

Not only this, but many diabetics eventually suffer from complications such as eye disease, damage to the nerves, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes medications may help with the basic problem of blood sugar levels, but how good are they really if they don't protect against future complications?

Natural medicines can offer help not only with balancing blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics but also in all aspects of diabetic care.

You can combat insulin resistance and support cardiovascular health with nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, alpha lipoic acid and chromium (just to name a few).

To see which supplements are right for you, talk to your Emed practitioner today. 

Quick Recap on Type 2 Diabetes:

What are we dealing with?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance. Your muscle and brain cells don’t want the glucose that the insulin is trying to bring to them, so they resist. The glucose stays in the bloodstream.

At first, the beta cells in the pancreas try to compensate by pumping out extra insulin to overcome the resistance. When the beta cells can’t keep up, or when the resistance gets too severe, you start running high blood sugar and developing symptoms of diabetes.



Did You Know?

Actos deaths have led to increased inquiry into how TZDS work.

That's right, because enough people have DIED while taking the drug they have had to do more investigating into the side effects and the drug's mode of action.

Doesn't this all seem a bit backward? Give people the drug, see what happens and investigate later…hmmm.

Last year drug company GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay approximately $460 million in order settle the majority of lawsuits that alleged its Avandia diabetes drug can cause heart attacks and strokes.

That's getting off fairly lightly don't you think? – $46,000 per person for damages to diabetes patients who ended up with heart attacks.

If you are taking either of these Diabetes drugs, or you have been told you're at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes – then consider booking in for an Emed Teleconference Consultation to discuss your real options…


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