50% or more people with diabetes are likely to develop liver disease, in particular, fatty liver disease, about 30 percent of patients with Type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of those with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes eventually will suffer from kidney failure. Fatty liver disease itself usually causes no symptoms. But it raises your risk of developing liver inflammation or scarring (cirrhosis). It's also linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and heart disease.
Fatty liver disease is a major public health concern because it leads to serious and often fatal liver conditions, including cancer. According to Gillian Booth, MD, MSc, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, in a population-based study, newly diagnosed diabetes was linked with a near doubling in the rate of cirrhosis, liver failure or liver transplant compared with non-diabetics.
In addition, diabetes also increases the risk of nerve damage, blood vessel damage, infections, blindness, erectile problems and heart disease.
What are the functions of the liver and the kidney?
The liver is one of the most complicated organs in the body, and possibly the least understood. It plays a huge role in handling sugars and starches, making sure our bodies have enough fuel to function. When there’s a lot of sugar in the system, it stores some of the excess in a storage form of carbohydrate called glycogen. When blood sugar levels get low, as in times of hunger or at night, it converts some of the glycogen to glucose and makes it available for the body to use.
According to Salk Institute researchers quoted on RxPG news, “In many patients with type II diabetes, CRTC2 no longer responds to rising insulin levels, and as a result, the liver acts like a sugar factory on overtime, churning out glucose [day and night], even when blood sugar levels are high.” Because of this, the “average” person with Type 2 Diabetes has three times the normal rate of glucose production by the liver, according to a Diabetes Care article.
Moreover, with diabetes, the small blood vessels in the body are injured. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly. Your body will retain more water and salt than it should, which can result in weight gain and ankle swelling. You may have protein in your urine. Also, waste materials will build up in your blood.
Diabetes also may cause damage to nerves in your body. This can cause difficulty in emptying your bladder. The pressure resulting from your full bladder can back up and injure the kidneys. Also, if urine remains in your bladder for a long time, you can develop an infection from the rapid growth of bacteria in urine that has a high sugar level.
Relationship between insulin resistance and fatty liverInsulin resistance is the driving force behind the development of fatty liver. Insulin resistance is an indication to Type 2 Diabetes. If the insulin resistance becomes severe enough, a person usually develops Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood, although by the time they are in their mid-30s, most type 1 diabetics have developed insulin resistance as well, and they face the same risks as type 2 diabetics when they get older.
People with insulin resistance have high levels of insulin in their bloodstream. Insulin signals to your liver to manufacture fat, especially triglycerides and cholesterol. This promotes the accumulation of fat inside the liver, inside other organs, inside arteries and as general body fat stores. As insulin levels become higher and higher, insulin loses its ability to control blood sugar levels. Therefore, the blood sugar level creeps upwards, eventually getting high enough to qualify as diabetes.
Whenever you eat carbohydrate containing foods, your body digests them and breaks them down into glucose. All foods contain some carbohydrate except animal protein such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs as well as pure fat like oil and butter. Glucose isn’t of much use to you in your bloodstream; you need it inside your cells where it can be used for energy. It is the job of insulin to transport the glucose from your bloodstream into your cells.
People with insulin resistance lose the ability to do that, therefore they crave foods high in carbohydrate (such as sugar, bread, pasta) and feel weak, hungry or irritable if they don’t eat these foods regularly. Because their body cannot use carbohydrate efficiently for energy, these carbohydrate rich foods are converted into fat instead. The vast majority of diabetics have a fatty liver. You do not need to be overweight to have a fatty liver; the condition is very common in slim people.
Diabetes raises the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which excess fat builds up in your liver even if you drink little or no alcohol.
What you can do to protect your liver?
Fucoidan might be the perfect natural alternative.First of all, it is important to realize that the closer you are to a healthy body weight, and the closer to normal your blood sugar level is, the better the health of your liver. Diabetes promotes abdominal weight gain, and this is the most dangerous body part to store excess fat. Fat doesn’t just sit under your skin; it actually gets inside your abdominal cavity, in amongst your organs and then starts to infiltrate various organs such as the liver and pancreas.
Natural antioxidants from plants and from marine brown seaweeds (Fucoidan) delay these damages, and may be an effective, safe, and economical alternative therapy for diabetes management and organs protection.
The Benefits of Fucoidan to Manage Diabetes, Kidney and Liver Damage
The common edible Fucoidan from brown seaweeds (Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus), Mekabu (Undaria pinnatifida) and Fucus (Fucus vesiculosus)) reportedly alleviated hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia in diabetic rats, possibly due to its good antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. Fucoidan (brown seaweed extract) is reportedly used for eczema, scabies, and psoriasis, ulcer and lung diseases, renal dysfunction, viral hepatitis and heart ailments and to promote bile secretion, and it has strong antioxidant properties.
Fucoidan also has drug metabolizing enzymes protective effects, prevents TNF-𝛼 elevation, inhibits lipid peroxidation, and preserves hepatic antioxidant defense system in vivo. It was reported to be hepatoprotective under high-fat/high cholesterol diet. The administration Fucoidan (brown seaweed extract) reduced blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels, and dyslipidemia in type 2 diabetic animals. This study reports on the protective or tissue restorative effects of Fucoidan (brown seaweed) extracts on the pancreas, liver, and kidney tissues in type 2-induced diabetic rat model.
A study published by the Marine Drugs Journal clearly illustrated that orally delivered Fucoidan was beneficial for diabetes-induced kidney damage. In this animal study, Fucoidan was capable of lowering the blood sugar and decreased the blood urea nitrogen levels. At the same time, Fucoidan obtained from Mekabu (Undaria pinnatifida) showed a decrease in the fatty liver deposits and it improved cardiovascular and liver health. On the other hand, Fucoidan obtained from Fucus (Fucus vesiculosus) reduced the inflammatory markers in a mouse model.
Fucoidan from Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus) was given to 15 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and HCV-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma for 12 months. At the end of this period, there were trends towards lower serum alanine aminotransferase levels (which correlated with HCV RNA levels).
Fucoidan from brown seaweeds (Mozuku, Mekabu and Fucus) offer a great promise in a wide range of applications, which include liver diseases (fatty liver, cirrhosis, hepatitis, etc.) and diabetes-induced kidney damage. At the same time, Fucoidan is a great natural alternative for inflammatory diseases and autoimmune conditions. Understanding the benefits of taking Fucoidan can perhaps help you realize the importance of consuming marine brown seaweeds, but particularly, the extract that makes these brown seaweeds so potent and helpful: Fucoidan.
In Good Health,
Dr. Susana Trujillo
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for educational purposes only.