Dietary modulation of mitochondrial function in the prevention of diabetic heart disease

An estimated 150 million people worldwide have diabetes, a metabolic disorder marked by high blood sugar. After anti-diabetic medications were developed, high blood sugar was no longer a primary cause of death for diabetics. Other complications, particularly heart failure, have become a major factor in mortality. Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive atoms. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes involve increased free radical release in heart cells. Research has suggested that increased accumulation of free radicals irreversibly damages mitochondria, the part of heart cells that helps convert fat into energy for the heart’s pumping action. If the mitochondria are damaged, fat accumulates in the heart. The combination of free radical release, fat accumulation, and lack of energy can kill heart cells, leading to the development of a weak heart in diabetic patients. Dr. Sanjoy Ghosh is studying the benefits of supplementing diet with S-adenosyl methionine and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. He is researching whether they can lower the release of free radicals, protect mitochondria, decrease fat deposits, and increase energy production in the diabetic heart. His goal: a natural, non-toxic therapy to prevent or delay the onset of diabetic heart disease.