Can be given coconut water for diabetes

This is how new diabetes therapies work

The number of diabetics continues to rise - around half a million people in Switzerland are affected by the metabolic disease. At least there is progress in therapy.

"Sugar" has long been a widespread disease: According to diabetes Switzerland, around 500,000 people are affected. More than 90 percent of them suffer from type 2, which is associated with obesity.

For many this means: regularly checking your blood sugar, taking medication regularly, possibly injecting insulin and always being prepared for hypoglycaemia. Medicines with a novel mechanism of action can improve the previous therapy for metabolic diseases - and in some cases minimize the risk of dreaded secondary diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

Insulin release is stimulated

We are talking about so-called incretin analogues. Unlike the established insulin therapy, they do not themselves lower blood sugar, but stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas - as do the incretin hormones from the intestines of healthy people. The first preparations in this class of active ingredients have been on the market since 2007. "Since then there has been a leap in development that has once again significantly improved the quality of the drugs," says Michael Nauck, head of clinical research at the Diabetes Center in Bochum / Hattingen, Germany, with a view to a meeting of experts on incretin research in Bochum, which started on January 24th.

The preparations are only suitable for type 2 diabetics - the majority of all diabetics. Type 2 diabetes is a classic disease of civilization. It usually arises as a result of an unhealthy diet, too little physical exercise and, related to this, being overweight. Because the pancreas of the affected person no longer produces enough insulin and / or the body cells no longer react to this hormone, the blood sugar level rises.

Many patients can get their blood sugar levels under control by making a lifestyle change, by eating healthier and doing more exercise. If that is not enough, tablets can initially help to normalize blood sugar levels, for example with the active ingredient metformin. With an estimated at least 1.5 million people, that's not enough either. You have to inject insulin.

Mimicking incretin hormones

The newer incretin analogues act differently than insulin. They mimic the incretin hormones from the intestine. It has been known for a long time that these regulate the blood sugar level after eating, such as the hormone GLP-1. GLP-1 analogs mimic this hormone and stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. They also inhibit the release of glucagon, which causes blood sugar levels to rise, and slow down the emptying of the stomach. They also work in the brain, reducing hunger and increasing the feeling of satiety.

There are already several variants of the GLP-1 analogues available, which differ among other things in how often they have to be taken. The spectrum ranges from twice a day to once a week. What all preparations have in common is that they cannot cause hypoglycaemia. With insulin therapy there is always the risk of hypoglycaemia, the dose has to be constantly balanced, explains Juris Meier, chief physician at the Diabetes Center Bochum / Hattingen. "That is not necessary with the incretin analogs."

Effect on metabolism

Therefore, the daily determination of the blood sugar level - usually with a prick in the fingertip - is superfluous, adds Nauck, who played a key role in research into therapeutic agents. The setting with the medication is so stable that a quarterly check of the long-term blood sugar level is sufficient.

Another decisive advantage: clinical studies have shown that the GLP-1 analogues can lower the risk of some dreaded complications of type 2 diabetes, such as heart attacks or strokes.

"The new preparations will not replace insulin in diabetes therapy," says Nikolaus Scheper, who runs a diabetology practice in Marl. "But with the resources we have a better-filled tool case available for the treatment."

The physician, who is also the first chairman of the German Association of Resident Diabetologists, sees a central advantage of the GLP-1 analogues in the fact that most patients lose about four to five kilograms at the start of therapy. “That has a direct impact on the metabolism. Every kilo counts. "

Meier also sees a huge opportunity in the weight loss. “That motivates the patient considerably. We have already seen that patients, some of whom have already injected insulin, get away from it with incretin and accompanying lifestyle change training. "

Another breakthrough expected

Nauck assumes that the next-generation preparations will have an even more effective effect on weight and also reduce blood sugar more. In addition, drugs that can be taken orally, i.e. no longer need to be injected, are about to be submitted for approval. "This is a real breakthrough." A very small, as yet unpublished study came to the conclusion that this type of intake also lowers the risk of cardiovascular complications.

For around five to ten percent of his patients, incretin therapy is out of the question due to the side effects, says diabetologist Scheper. These are above all feelings of fullness and nausea and even vomiting. A number of established preparations are available for these patients, not least insulin.

Patients receiving incretin analogues may also have to switch to insulin at some point. If the point has been reached at which the pancreas itself no longer produces enough insulin, it has to be administered from the outside, as Scheper says. “Diabetes is a chronic and a progressive disease. You don't just bring them to a standstill. "

Full combustion instead of a back burner: How to heat up your metabolism
Full combustion instead of a back burner: How to heat up your metabolism

The excuse: "My metabolism is just too slow" no longer counts if you put the following foods on your menu and incorporate some activities into your everyday life. You can find out what these are in the gallery.


Yes, you can't hear it anymore, but it's true and it's that simple: drink plenty of water. Why? 1. If you replace other drinks with water, you save 100 percent calories, because water is calorie-free. 2. Studies have shown: 0.5 liters of water accelerate the resting metabolism by 10 to 30 percent in one hour.


3. Cold water has to be warmed up by the body and burns energy in the process. 4. If drunk half an hour before a meal, water ensures that we eat less food. But also ...

Image: Paul Kane / Getty Images

... drunk warm, water gives the metabolism a boost. Especially when you drink it in the morning on an empty stomach and add ginger and lemon, the body gets going. For breakfast or before exercising, you can ...


... a fruit smoothie. Berries in particular boost the metabolism and also provide us with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and minerals. They are best mixed with plant milk made from soy, coconut or almonds.


Our body needs protein to keep muscle building and body processes going. This can come from beans, eggs or lean organic meat. The latter ...


... best served with hot spices. Because turmeric, chilli and Co heat up the metabolism.


The great thing about a pineapple is that it contains enzymes that support our digestion. Important: It is best to consume pure and in the morning so that the effect is achieved and the metabolism runs at full speed.


Anyone who previously thought that almonds were far too fatty to be nibbled regularly should be happy: Even the star diet coach, David Kirsch, recommends ten pieces in the afternoon. They even help you lose weight and provide healthy plant energy, valuable fats and vitamins.


Coffee has a serious impact on our metabolism - provided it is drunk black. Because sugar or milk nullify the stimulating effect. Don't like coffee? Then drink ...


... green tea. It also wakes you up and stops the cravings for sweets. As a cold drink, on the other hand, is suitable as a metabolic stimulation ...


... coconut water. A real all-rounder! The super healthy ingredients help you lose weight, kick the metabolism and prevent over-acidification of the body, among other things. This is especially important after ...


... Sports. Sorry, but without exercise, it is just very difficult to get your metabolism up to speed. You don't have to run a marathon or visit a gym, but a 30-minute brisk walk a day or training with your own body weight will help to get going.


Like I said, you don't have to be a bodybuilder, but the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will run. After a workout, you will sleep better - and the physical recovery phase is just as important, because ...


... If you sleep too little over a longer period of time, studies show that you gain weight faster, slow your metabolism and eat less healthily. Apart from the fact that you are more lazy and less able to get excited about sports.


In order to get a healthy night's sleep, you should ensure enough darkness in the bedroom, have a comfortable mattress, ban all electronic devices and snoring partners and stop consuming caffeine or other stimulating substances as early as possible. Then it's better to drink a soothing sleep tea, have sex and fall asleep peacefully.

Image: dpa / Christin Klose