Stephen Furst Lost His Battle with Diabetes, Here’s How You May Win Your Battle


By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

Recently, actor and filmmaker Stephen Furst, whose breakthrough role was playing Flounder in the classic 1978 frat film “Animal House,” died of complications from diabetes. He was just 63-years-old.

Sadly, for most of his life, Furst was all too familiar with this disease that affects millions of Americans. According to a report from People Magazine, Furst lost both his parents to diabetes, within weeks of each other, when he was only 16-years-old. When Furst received the diagnosis that he had type 2 diabetes about a week after his father’s death, he admitted he was in denial and did not take the diagnosis as seriously as he should have.

It wasn’t until he reached the age of 40 that he made some lifestyle changes to manage his diabetes. He realized he had to change his diet. He lost more than 100 pounds (several reports say he was 320 pounds at one point).

Unfortunately, he still lost the battle.

His son, Nathan Furst, said, "[o]ver the last several years it was getting worse a little bit. Sort of the typical things that tend to happen when you have diabetes a long time."

This story really saddens me, because Furst lost his life way too early from something that possibly could have been prevented or perhaps managed better.

We have to be proactive and make sure that such serious health issues do not become a part of our daily lives.

It is not enough to lose weight when managing diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy weight are key in preventing and managing diabetes. And what you may not know is there is a specific nutrient that may be a key weapon in preventing this disease that affects so many people - Magnesium.

Magnesium is an essential mineral because it is an important cofactor for hundreds of processes and reactions in the body. “People with higher amounts of magnesium in their diets tend to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Magnesium helps the body break down sugars and may help reduce the risk of insulin resistance (a condition that leads to diabetes),” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In one study, which involved 286,668 participants (with 6-17 years of follow up), it was found that just a 100 mg per day increase of magnesium in the diet reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by a “statistically significant” 15%.

There is some evidence that magnesium is associated with better management of diabetes and reduced complications from the disease such as vascular diseases, hypertension and retinopathy.  

So how can you get more of this mineral in your diet?

In general, men need about 400-420 mg of magnesium per day. Women need about 310-320 mg. If you are pregnant or have any known health issues, talk to your doctor about what your daily intake should be. You should also get nutritional testing to determine what your existing magnesium levels are.  

There are a variety of delicious and healthy foods that are rich in magnesium. Leafy green vegetables (like spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains contain magnesium. Foods with fiber, like cherries, are also good sources of magnesium, and many cereals are fortified with this essential mineral. If you have difficulty eating magnesium rich foods, talk to your doctor about obtaining a high quality magnesium supplement. There is also some evidence that magnesium may be absorbed through the skin, so taking a bath with magnesium salts may improve your magnesium levels.

To learn more about another essential mineral that may help prevent diabetes, read here.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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