Clinical Trial of Supplement
Are you overweight and possibly prediabetic? Would you like to avoid progressing to diabetes? Would you like to contribute to research that could help other people avoid diabetes in the future? Are you between 21 and 65 years old? Do you live near Boston?
If the answers to these questions are “yes,” then you might be interested in a new clinical study at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston that seeks to determine if a substance found in beets and other vegetables and grains can reduce your risk of diabetes.
In this study the researchers will first measure your blood glucose levels in a glucose tolerance test to see if you’re prediabetic. If you are, you will be randomized to receive either the study drug or a placebo (a pill that looks identical to the study drug so neither you nor the people running the study will know which people got the study drug).
The researchers will measure your insulin sensitivity, liver fat, and blood vessel function at the beginning of the study and after three months on the drug. Because these tests involve more than just drawing blood, you will be admitted to Brigham & Women’s hospital overnight.
I’ve taken part in several research studies at Joslin, and it’s been an interesting experience. They usually do lab tests that your local doctor, even an endocrinologist, would not normally do. And all the tests are free.
When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I wanted to have my C-peptide levels (which tell you how much insulin you’re able to produce) measured, but my doctor wouldn’t order the test. He said, “I wouldn’t treat you any differently depending on the results, so it’s a waste of money.”
He didn’t seem to understand that knowing I was still able to produce insulin would be very helpful to me; it would mean that I wasn’t heading toward type 1, and I should try to reduce my insulin resistance. Better knowing my situation would reduce my stress levels, which were already high because of learning I had a chronic disease. And stress can make your diabetes worse.
So I enrolled in a study at Joslin that measured not only fasting C-peptide levels but also fasting insulin levels. In another study, I learned about various lipid particle levels, more than the routine HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. One of the studies involved overnight admission to Brigham & Women’s hospital, which was interesting. Plus their food choices are good.
In this study they’ll actually measure your insulin resistance as well as liver fat and blood vessel function. Useful things to know.
In addition to getting more advanced lab results, being in a study means you have contact with leading researchers, who may be able to answer questions about your diabetes that your general practitioner cannot answer.
Finally, being in a study means you’re contributing a small bit toward knowledge about diabetes, which probably won’t have a great impact in the short term but might eventually lead to a cure.
So anyone close to Boston might want to look into this study. If you’re not certain you want to participate in research, this site explains some of the factors involved in clinical trials.