I just got a very large book on health called "Disease Prevention and Treatment" published by the "Life Extension Foundation". It is an encyclopedia of various medical conditions and non-mainstream remedies. I have only read a fraction of it, but so far it seems to be pretty good. As well as giving advice on WHAT to do, it goes into detail about WHY. I wish the Merck Manual and PDR would explain these things instead of "The mechanism of this drug's action is not well understood". Note that this is the hardcover Expanded Fourth Edition, copyright 2003 version.
I read the section on Obesity, partly as a "test" of sorts to find out if the authors agree with the insulin theory of weight control, and partly just to read what they have to say. I was glad to read that the authors agree that insulin is a key factor. Page after page, they damn insulin and the harm it does to the body. Okay, I can agree with that.
Yes, but... They also wrote that going low-carb is not the magic way to keep insulin under control. Up until now, every low-carb book I have read tells that the only way to keep insulin down is to greatly reduce carbohydrate intake. Okay, what is the magic ingredient to control insulin?
The avocado fruit contains a sugar called mannoheptulose, which has been shown to inhibit both synthesis and release of insulin. Consumption of the proper amount of this avocado sugar would thus appear to be a natural, dietary solution to the problem of hyperinsulemia (excess blood insulin levels).
Human and animal studies document the effect of avocado extract in reducing blood insulin. In November 2000, a human trial was conducted to ascertain the effects of a standardized avocado preparation on healthy male subjects aged 37-57 (each was at least 40 pounds overweight) (Anon 2000). A series of blood tests were performed at baseline to assess overall health and to what extent a pre-diabetic state existed. As expected, all of these overweight individuals exhibited high fasting insulin levels and had additional indications that they were at risk for developing Type II diabetes.
After 3 months of standardized avocado extract supplementation, average fasting serum insulin levels were 26.4% lower. Fasting serum glucose levels were an insignificant 1.52% higher at the end of the study, indicating that suppression of fasting insulin in response to avocado extract did not induce an increase of serum glucose or development of hyperglycemia in these overweight males. Other indicators of glycemic control improved during this 3-month study period.
The book continues on with page after page of history and medical tests of the avocado sugar mannoheptulose
and how a few tablets per day of this wonder drug can keep insulin levels down (and without reducing carbs). I think that I have read enough to know that carbs are not good for us, but I was certainly interested in a totally different method.
More info: (page 1134)
One of the means by which insulin is secreted by pancreatic beta cells is through the activation of the hexokinase enzyme pathway. Avocado extract (d-mannoheptulose) functions as a competitive inhibitor of the hexokinase enzyme, thus inducing a temporary block of glucose-stimulated release of insulin. In addition, avocado may interfere with the leucine-provoked synthesis of insulin.
The inhibition of both synthesis and secretion of insulin by mannoheptulose can be seen in studies in which small doses of mannoheptulose fail to elict measurable hyperglycemia, but do suppress glucose-stimulated increases in serum insulin.
So I decided to find out where to buy this mannoheptulose
, how much it costs, and what other information people are posting about it. There were many web sites mentioning this substance, some research papers claiming positive results, and even some patent applications for using it. Such a promising substance should have many sellers, right? No.
I went to the web store where the book publisher sells supplements. In the book, they wrote that these pills are for sale in their store. Nope. In fact, the only places that I could find were an industrial chemical store (with obscene prices), a high-volume importer, and an obscure web store selling a devil's brew of stimulants that include an unstated amount of mannoheptulose
. It is almost as if some powerful entity just erased it from the market and everyone just forgot about it.
According to the book: (page 1133)
The 1969 article in Nutrition Review pointed out that the reason why standardized avocado extract had not been made available as a therapy was the difficulty and uncertainty of oral administration. The problem is that avocado extract readily converts to mannitol in the stomach and is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Apparently, they solved this problem by making tablets with a coating to prevent digestion in the stomach. Well, I can not buy mannoheptulose, but even so, I will try a short experiment by eating one avocado per day and see if I notice anything.