Type 2 diabetes is a difficult health problem because multiple aspects of calorie utilization simply don’t work properly. A study with young adults (ages 18 - 25) shows the cellular problem is worse than thought. Normally exercise conditions cells to make more energy by facilitating the development of additional mitochondria (cellular engines). This study showed that young Type 2 diabetic adults failed to activate the gene signals required for this exercise benefit, in turn making their metabolic problem more difficult to resolve.

This study is important because it illustrates the difference between simply being overweight and being overweight as well as Type 2 diabetic. Indeed, there is even a difference in severity of Type 2 diabetes and one of the keys would of course be a poor response to exercise – since exercise is one of the best ways to improve insulin resistance. These younger Type 2 overweight diabetics had cellular problems similar to morbidly obese older Type 2 diabetics. This data suggests that an early onset of Type 2 diabetes, which is now an epidemic in America, is a more severe metabolic condition than typical Type 2 diabetes in the over 50 crowd.

Exercise implies an increased demand at the cellular level to combust calories and oxygen and thus produce energy. The more mitochondria a person has the easier it is to burn fuel. It is like having muscles with V8 engines instead of lower performing 4 cylinder types. The more fuel you can burn the higher the demand for sugar to flow to the cellular engines, thus improving insulin resistance (insulin transports fuel/sugar into cells). Burning calories always sends sparks flying (free radicals/oxidative stress) which must be trapped by antioxidants or else problems result.

Exactly why younger Type 2 diabetics are unable to correctly respond to exercise was not part of the study, but it is quite easy to take a guess. It means the cellular health is significantly worse and more inflamed – the common theme behind genes that fail to activate. This means the action of exercise is simply too much oxidative stress. We already know that overweight people need more antioxidants to get an optimal response to exercise. This study suggests that Type 2 diabetics, especially younger ones, will need even higher amounts of antioxidants to get their cells able to tolerate exercise so that they can get a good response to it.

Another recent study showed that the mineral selenium protected men from developing diabetes over a 9 year period. Selenium is a backbone to the production of cellular glutathione, the primary antioxidant within every cell of your body.

This type of information signifies that basic nutrition requirements are different for normal weight people compared to overweight people and overweight people compared to Type 2 diabetic overweight people. Public health officials sit and preach more exercise and less food, as has been their message for the last 50 years while the obesity and diabetes epidemic exploded in their faces. Our society’s best hope for correcting our most difficult health problems are with nutrition. It is vital that public health officials get their heads out of the sand and recognize that nutrition prevents disease as well as being the best option for correcting many diseases – especially “diseases” of metabolism like Type 2 diabetes.

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