Does Gestational Diabetes result in Obesity and Diabetes in Children?

Gestational diabetes is a condition wherein the blood sugar level becomes high during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the delivery, although one is at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, gestational diabetes affects 3 to 8 percent of pregnant women in the United States. The GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) rate in India is 26.3%, which is highest in the world, according to Dr. Nam Han Cho, of the International Diabetes Federation. It is estimated that 4 million women in India are affected by GDM in India at any given time.

The Effects on the health of the child

Gestational diabetes may have long term consequences on the health of both, mother and child. Research has found that affected babies are likely to be born large and with birth defects. They also are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life and childhood obesity. The study was published in the British Medical Journal and was funded in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The lead author Cuilin Zhang, of the Institute’s Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research says that the researchers found numerous links between unhealthy babies and diabetes during pregnancy. The women who were overweight/obese before pregnancy were the ones most at risk.

Researchers at US National Institutes of Health (NIH) noted that previous studies have linked diets high in refined grains to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. They compared records from 918 mother-child pairs in a study that followed the pregnancies of more than 91,000 women in Denmark. They found that children born to women with gestational diabetes who consumed the most refined grain (over 156 grams per day) were twice as likely to be obese at age 7, compared to those born to women with gestational diabetes who ate the least amount of refined grain (less than 37 grams per day). The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The link between grain consumption by women during pregnancy and obesity by age 7 persisted even when the researchers controlled for factors that could potentially influence the children’s weight – such as physical activity level and consumption of vegetables, fruit and sweets. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results, and to see if obesity risk persists later in life in these children, the researchers said.

Another study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) looked at the impact that gestational diabetes had on the risk factor to the child. Researchers from McGill University studied 73,180 mothers between 1990 and 2012. The study revealed that children born to mothers with gestational diabetes were twice as likely to develop Type I diabetes by the age of 22. The study says, “Future studies are needed to examine longer-term outcomes in patients with pediatric diabetes with a maternal history of gestational diabetes mellitus, to ascertain how they compare with other patients with childhood- or youth-onset diabetes, in terms of disease severity and outcomes.”

Dr. Zhang says in a podcast, “we found that low-risk lifestyle before pregnancy (that is, maintaining healthy body weight, consuming a healthy diet, exercising regularly (at least 150 minutes a week, and not smoking) was related to a substantially lower risk of gestational diabetes. And women at low risk for all these four factors had more than 80% lower risk than those without any of these low-risk factors.”

“We also found that the combination of the four highest risks: smoking, inactivity, overweight or obesity and poor diet could account for nearly half of gestational diabetes events. And, importantly, among both normal weight and obese or overweight women, a healthy diet and lifestyle were related to a lower risk.”

So, preventing gestational diabetes at the very beginning could be an important strategy in curbing its adverse health effects for future generations. Eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy will play an important role in lowering GDM risk.

References:

Mithal A, Bansal B, Kalra S. Gestational diabetes in India: Science and society. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2015;19(6):701–704. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.164031

Zhu, Yeyi, et al. Maternal dietary intakes of refined grains during pregnancy and growth through the first 7 years of life among children born to women with gestational diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.136291

Gestational diabetes associated with incident diabetes in childhood and youth: a retrospective cohort study Andrea L. Blotsky, Elham Rahme, Mourad Dahhou, Meranda Nakhla and Kaberi Dasgupta
CMAJ April 15, 2019 191 (15) E410-E417; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.181001

Canadian Medical Association Journal. “Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190415081822.htm>.

Red onions may help combat cancer

red onion health benefits for cancer
Image courtesy of Nein Arimasen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

New research suggests that dark red onions, which are known as the richest source of dietary flavonoids may help fight off cancer of the colon and the breast. “We found that onions are excellent at killing cancer cells,” said Abdulmonem Murayyan, a doctoral student at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. The findings, published in the journal, ‘Food Research International’, showed that red onions contain high levels of quercetin which has benefits such as lowering inflammation and fighting allergies and is also believed to have the power of stealing iron from cancer cells, which they use to grow. Quercetin has the power to shrink cancer cells.

The team tested five onion types and discovered that the Ruby Ring variety of onion – tall globe-shaped bulbs of dark red colour was the best. The red onion is said to be full of powerful compounds that help to kill tumours. Red onions also have high amounts of anthocyanin which boosts the scavenging properties of quercetin molecules and is also responsible for its dark red colour. When cells of colon and breast cancer were placed in direct contact with the quercetin extracted from the five different onion varieties, the team found them effective at killing cancer cells. “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and disrupt communication between cancer cells and inhibits growth” according to Abdulmonem Murayyan.

Hence any type of onion, regardless of its colour, may help to destroy cancer, though the red ones may be the most potent. Some are wary of the findings as there have been no human trials and it may be different when tried on humans as the human body is more complex.

Reference:

Abdulmonem I. Murayyan et al. 2017. Antiproliferative activity of Ontario grown onions against colorectal adenocarcinoma cells. Food Research International 96: 12-18; doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.03.017

Is Oil Pulling an effective remedy for Oral Health

oil pulling
Image Courtesy of The dabblist

Oil pulling seems to be gradually becoming a trend now for its health benefits to the teeth, but the process is quite ancient. It is been in existence for thousands of years as oral therapy in the Ayurveda form of medicine. Studies on oil pulling attest to the health benefits of the practice.

A study on “Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review”, says “mouth is considered as the mirror of the general health of the human body. Oral cavity harbors billions of microorganisms, some of these contribute to the development or progression of systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, etc. Oral health and general health is interrelated. So it is very important to maintain oral health….”

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is nothing but swishing about one tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth for about 20 mins and then spitting it out. One can start out with 5-10 mins in the beginning. IT is all about gently pushing the oil through the teeth and swishing it around.
Studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque formation, and bad breath. This is because the cells of the microorganism in the mouth are covered with a fatty membrane and when the cells come into contact with the oil they stick to each other. For children older than five years of age, a teaspoon of oil will suffice.

According to the study, “the oil is ‘pulled’ and forced in between all the teeth by swishing it all around the mouth. At the end of this activity, if the procedure is done correctly, the viscous oil will become milky white and thinner. Then it is spit out and mouth is thoroughly washed with clean warm saline water or tap water and teeth are cleaned with fingers or routine tooth brushing is performed. If the jaw aches, then the procedure can be done just for 5–10 min….”

The study further states that “oil pulling should be ideally performed daily morning on empty stomach before brushing teeth and care should be taken that oil is not swallowed. Swallowing of oil should be avoided as the oil contains bacteria and toxins. Oil pulling is best practiced in a sitting position with chin up. It can be practiced thrice daily in empty stomach before meals to fasten the healing effects.”

Oil pulling is best done with coconut oil as it has lauric acid which is known for being anti-microbial.

Why oil pulling?

It is believed in Ayurveda, that the tongue is connected to various organs such as kidneys, heart, lungs, small intestine, spine, etc. Oil pulling is believed to help in the excretion of toxic heavy metals, chemical, bacterial and environmental toxins by saliva. Thus oil pulling detoxifies and purifies the entire human body.

Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

The study elucidates that “Oil pulling generates antioxidants which damage the cell wall of microorganisms and kill them. These oils will attract the lipid layer of bacterial cell membranes, and cause it to stick or get attracted, and pulled to the oil. During oil pulling, the oil gets emulsified and surface area of the oil gets increased. The process of emulsification of oil begins upon 5 min of oil pulling. This oil will coat the teeth and gingiva and inhibits bacterial co-aggregation and plaque formation. Thus plaque building bacteria responsible for dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis and bad breath are removed from the oral cavity. Gums become pink, healthier and the problem of bleeding gums is solved. Oil pulling is also of help to resolve symptoms of dry mouth/throat and chapped lips. Also teeth become whiter; breath becomes fresher; oral cavity muscles and jaws become stronger with excellent achievement of oral hygiene.”

Oil pulling is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. It helps and supplements your regular dental care. The good news is that people also claim that it whitens their teeth as well.

Contraindications: The study says, “It is contraindicated for children below 5 years due to risk of aspiration. The practitioner should take care not to aspirate the oil while performing rigorous oil pulling.”

Reference:
Shanbhag VK. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016;7(1):106–109. Published 2016 Jun 6. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004