DHA vs. Diabetes Drugs – Did You Balance Your PPAR Gamma Today?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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The thiazolidinedione diabetes drugs Avandia and Actos will break your bones and cause heart failure.  DHA will help preserve your bones and rejuvenate your heart’s function.  They all activate PPAR gamma.  Understanding why the drugs are so dangerous and why the nutrient is so helpful is a prime example of why nutrition excels at restoring damaged metabolism and drugs are a fast track to a number-manipulating nowhere.

PPAR stands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors.  There are a number of different types of PPARs.  When a PPAR is activated within one of your cells, it binds onto a specific region of DNA and tells it what to do (a transcription factor that in turn activates messenger RNA).  PPARs are found in many places, especially within your fat, circulation, and key organs of circulation such as your muscles, heart, liver, and kidneys—they are powerful regulators of metabolism. 

Avandia and Actos are not part of human evolution.  They are powerful gene-regulating drugs.  They are given to diabetic patients to improve insulin resistance, lower triglycerides, and boost HDL cholesterol—all of which they can do.  But at what price?  They stress out your liver, kidneys, bones, and heart.  If you keep overeating while taking them, you will simply gain more weight and stress your heart even more.  They provoke fluid retention, swollen legs, muscle aches, and infection.  And don’t forget, you are supposed to ask your brilliant doctor who is pushing them down your throat about the risks vs. the benefits.  DHA has all of the benefits and none of the risks.

PPAR gamma induces new fat cells to form.  While that may not sound like something you want, it actually is (unless you are stimulating too many new fat cells and overeating at the same time).  New fat cells are metabolically more fit and they make more adiponectin, which lowers insulin resistance and is actually highly protective to your circulatory system.  In a nutshell, this is the problem of drugs—they force the function of powerful genes in a way that is no longer under natural regulation.  It’s like taking a sledgehammer to a gene-regulating system that should be handled like an elegant ballet.  This is what drugs do. Nutrition does not work this way.

Elevating triglycerides (fat blobs) in your blood jams the highways of your circulation with slow-moving sludge, induces leptin resistance and weight gain, and is a key indicator of future cardiovascular trouble.  New research shows that a powerful protein in your circulation (GPIHBP11) activates the triglyceride-clearing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase.  Without activation of GPIHBP1 triglycerides pile up in your blood and you are in deep health trouble.  GPIHBP1 is turned on by PPAR gamma. 

This is a rather sad commentary on food-addicted, over-eating Americans.  Forcing GPIHBP1 on with a drug while you overeat is not going to be helpful.  First of all, for every fat blob you break down your body will attempt to make another in order to store excess calories.  If a person takes a high dose of these drugs, forcing their body not to make triglycerides, then extra sugar will permeate tissues and start cementing body tissues (glycation) and damaging the heart, kidneys, and eyes.

Drugs like Avandia and Actos were approved by the FDA because they can change numbers.  Unfortunately for those taking them, they also change gene function in undesirable ways.  Your heart wants to burn fatty acids as its primary fuel.  When PPAR gamma receptors are excessively activated within your heart2—which happens with drugs—then it forces your heart to accumulate fat and burn sugar instead.  This leads to heart enlargement and then heart failure.  How can any doctor in his or her right mind justify such a risk?

Ironically, diabetes patients given these drugs are already at increased risk for heart failure.

PPAR gamma and GPIHBP1 are naturally activated3 when you eat less food.  It is blunted when you overeat.  If you are overweight and engage the process of weight loss then you are naturally managing this gene system to be healthier.  If you take DHA at the same time you not only help your metabolism work better, you actually protect your heart and help strengthen it.  Why?  Because nutrients do not force gene activation.  DHA activates multiple genes including those that help your heart work better.  DHA is a vital nutrient of human evolution.  Your body knows how to use it and if it isn’t in your diet you are in significant health trouble, as your natural gene-regulating system is handicapped.

I’m just trying to illustrate a simple and powerful health point.  Natural strategies work in tandem with your body to promote healthy function.  Drugs change numbers and (far more often than not) actually damage your health.  Don’t look to Western medicine for the prevention of anything or for the long-term recovery related to your metabolic or cardiovascular health. 


Read More:  Diabetes News

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ How Triglycerdies are Broken Down in Your Circulation  Cell Metabolism  1.Brandon S.J. Davies, Anne P. Beigneux, Richard H. Barnes, Yiping Tu, Peter Gin, Michael M. Weinstein, Chika Nobumori, Rakel Nyrén, Ira Goldberg, Gunilla Olivecrona, André Bensadoun, Stephen G. Young, Loren G. Fong. 
  2. ^ The Path to a Fatty Heart  Cell Metabolism  Jaya Krishnan, Marianne Suter, Renata Windak, Tatiana Krebs, Allison Felley, Christophe Montessuit, Malgorzata Tokarska-Schlattner, Ellen Aasum, Anna Bogdanova, Evelyne Perriard, Jean-Claude Perriard, Terje Larsen, Thierry Pedrazzini, Wilhelm Krek
  3. ^ Calorie Restriction Activates GPIHBP1 via PPAR Gamma  Mol Endocrinol.   Davies BS, Waki H, Beigneux AP, Farber E, Weinstein MM, Wilpitz DC, Tai LJ, Evans RM, Fong LG, Tontonoz P, Young SG.

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