With the scary statistics from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) that 24 million people in the US (8 per cent of the population) have diabetes and a further 75 million pre-diabetics, you have to wonder what the health care implications are. According to ADA health care costs amount to $116 billion in direct and $58 billion in indirect costs (disability, absenteeism etc). The result is a total health care burden of over $218 billion. With the prevalence of the disease increasing (13.5 per cent 2005-2007) year-on-year and expected to hit 44.1 million by 2034, we can expect healthcare costs to hit $336 billion.
Because of its chronic nature and the severity of its complications, diabetes is a costly disease to control not only for the health care system, but also families. Families in the US with a child who has diabetes can expect to pay 10 per cent of total family income for treatment. In a bid to help manage the negative side effects of hyperglycaemia consumers are becoming increasingly aware of natural product which offer physiological benefits specifically tailored to diabetics, pre-diabetics or related conditions such as metabolic syndrome. Functional Ingredients will be covering these issues in-depth in the months to come. Watch for the latest offerings purporting to mitigate, manage and potentially prevent diabetic complications.
Vitamins and minerals sit atop the nutraceutical food chain when it comes to mitigating the risk factors of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D and selenium can play a key role, and botanical sources such Salba grain and herbal preparations from the traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine traditions have also shown promise in managing blood-glucose levels. The Reb-A revolution certainly will play a role as beverages sans sugar begin to pique the interest of formulators and marketers and pack store shelves.