"Diabetes is an insidious disease
whose early symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss and tingling in the hands and feet.6 Left untreated, the disease can have lethal effects
on your health. In a study involving rats to determine sweet potato�s effects on several markers of diabetes, the vegetable showed significant
abilities to potentially reel in some of the more harmful markers.1 Using white-fleshed sweet potatoes for the study, the rats showed impressive improvement in pancreatic cell function, lipid levels, and glucose management. They also showed reduced insulin resistance inside of just eight weeks. Improved insulin resistance was also discovered in a human study when sweet potatoes were added to the diet."
It goes beyond that as a super food.
Incidence of kidney cancer is relatively high in Northern Europe and North America compared to Asia and scientists have been trying to find out what may cause the discrepancy.
A study in the Journal of Epidemiology states that one of the reasons may be the rate of ingestion of sweet potatoes in the diet of Asian cultures.7 The study, which was an analytic cohort that evaluated the risk factors for kidney cancer death using the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study (JACC), included 47,997 males and 66,520 females aged 40 years and older. Taking into account medical history, anthropometry, dietary and lifestyle considerations over the 10-year study, the researchers concluded that eating sweet potatoes and potatoes regularly was associated with a decreased risk of disease.
March 10, 2004 -- An extract from white sweet potatoes may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
The product is Caiapo, sold in Japan and South Korea by the Japanese firm Fuji-Sangyo. It's made from the skin of white sweet potatoes grown in Japan's mountainous Kagawa Prefecture. Eaten raw, these sweet potatoes are a folk remedy for anemia, high blood pressure -- and diabetes.
Caiapo extract prevented diabetes in rat studies. Fuji-Sangyo funded human tests at the University of Vienna in Austria. The results of those studies, led by Bernhard Ludvik, MD, appear in the February issue of Diabetes Care.
Every morning, Ludvik gave two bulky Caiapo tablets -- or two equally bulky inert placebo pills -- to 61 people with type 2 diabetes who were treated with diet only. All study participants went on a weight-maintenance diet during the study. After three months, those who took Caiapo -- but not those taking placebo -- saw their HbA1C levels drop from 7.21 to 6.68. HbA1C indicates blood sugar levels during the past three months. People with diabetes are supposed to keep their HbA1C levels below 7.0.
"This is lowering HbA1C to a level which is almost normal," Ludvik tells WebMD. "This is comparable to any drug."
Ludvik says that five-month data show that those taking Caiapo continued to have lower HbA1C levels. What's happening, he says is that something in the extract is helping patients regain their sensitivity to insulin. Resistance to the action of insulin to lower blood glucose is one of the abnormalities seen in people with type 2 diabetes. It is also one of the early signs of type 2 diabetes.
"In my opinion, in this potato extract there seems to be some kind of insulin-sensitizing agent," Ludvik says.
In rat studies, Ludvik says, Caiapo has as strong an effect as glitazone drugs. Glitazones -- such as Avandia and Actos -- are potent insulin-sensitizing drugs.
Although he warns that long-term data are not available, Ludvik says he saw no side effects from Caiapo except for some very mild gastrointestinal upset in a few patients. None of them stopped treatment because of these side effects.
"I think it could be given to any patient with insulin resistance," Ludvik says. "We have not shown this in our clinical trials, but I think it would be very good in diabetes prevention."