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From The CriticsReviewer: Ronald N. Cohen, MD (University of Chicago Medical Center)
Description: Diabetes is growing problem worldwide, and the development of novel medications to treat diabetes is a focus of many researchers and pharmaceutical companies. However, there may very well be foods, herbs, and minerals that also affect diabetic control and/or the risk of developing diabetes. The authors define nutraceuticals as individual bioactive chemicals or foods that promote health, prevent disease, or have a medicinal effect on health. They then discuss a wide variety of these nutraceuticals and the studies that indicate whether or not they have an affect on multiple parameters of insulin sensitivity and/or glucose control.
Purpose: The book is intended as a "compilation and assessment on emerging concepts and nutraceuticals in the prevention and management of diabetes." Since nontraditional therapies are a very interesting and important avenue for investigation, this is a helpful reference on foods, herbs, minerals, and other nutraceuticals that might play a role in the treatment and/or prevention of diabetes.
Audience: Clinicians who take care of people with diabetes or are at risk for the disease are the intended audience. The book will also be helpful for researchers investigating the role of these compounds in the treatment of diabetes, or the effects of these compounds on the modulation of insulin sensitivity and/or action. The authors are experts in the field, although some of them work on the business side of the nutraceuticals industry.
Features: Introductory chapters cover diabetes, its epidemiology, and the ideas behind both the glycemic index and nutraceuticals. Discussions of a variety of nutraceuticals, including fiber, cinnamon, soy, minerals, ginseng, and resistant starch follow. Chapters cover traditional Chinese, Indian, and Mexican herb and plant-based therapies. Since so many compounds are discussed, this book is best viewed as a reference for clinicians and researchers, although it also serves as a nice introduction to the field as well.
Assessment: This is a nice reference on the emerging evidence behind the use of nutraceuticals in the possible treatment and prevention of diabetes. Many interesting compounds are discussed. Clearly, more research is needed to define the potential role of these agents in clinical practice in terms of safety, efficacy, dosage, and mechanisms of action.