Natural Solutions for Diabetes Type 2

 

According to the American Diabetes Association, every day, 3,835 people are diagnosed with diabetes type 2 in the U.S alone. It is estimated that 1 out of 3 Americans over the age of 20 are pre-diabetic, which means that they are one step away from becoming diabetic. [1] One of the biggest problems is that in most cases, there are no severe symptoms during the pre-diabetic stage, so people do not know. They keep eating the same until their body is failing and they are diagnosed with diabetes. At that point, they are put on medication, usually for the rest of their lives.

 

Dangers of Diabetes

 

Diabetes kills approximately 70,000 Americans every year! That’s more than AIDS and breast cancer combined together. [2]  Diabetes complications are: 
Cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, amputation of feet or legs, hypertension, loss of eyesight, and sexual dysfunction in men. 

 

What cause diabetes? 

 

There are several factors that can cause you to develop diabetes. Here are the major causes of diabetes type 2.


Cause #1 Nutritional Factors
Continues exposure to sugar or refined carbohydrates in our diet increase the level of sugar in our blood. Since sugar is destructive, our body secrets insulin, a hormone that signal the cells to ‘take in’ sugar and use it. It also signal the liver to store some of that sugar as glycogen (energy storage). With continues exposure to sugar and insulin, at some point, your cells will stop reacting to the signals. As result, your sugar levels will continue to increase and destroy your blood vessels and nerves, leading to a damage to your kidneys, eyes, brain, heart, and even increase the risk for inflammation, arthritis, and cancer.


Cause #2 Sedentary lifestyle
Diabetes was found to be associated with sedentary lifestyle, including watching T.V. for hours every day and not being physically active. Your risk of diabetes reduce as you increase your level of activity. 


Cause #3 Environmental Factors
Several studies found a connection between environmental toxins and a disruption of the hormonal system, leading to diabetes type 2. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found a connection between Bisphenol A (also called BPA), found in plastic containers and bottles, and diabetes. The researches also found a connection between BPA, weight gain, insulin resistance, dysfunction of the pancreas, disruption of thyroid hormone. According to the study, your risk for diabetes increase as your BPA levels in your blood increase.  [3]

 

How is diabetes diagnosed?


The most accurate way to diagnose diabetes is by measuring your blood glucose (sugar) levels and your Glycated Hemoglobin (also referred to as HbA1c). Your fasting sugar levels should be between 70 to 100 mg/dL (between 60 and 80 is much healthier) and your HbA1C should be up to 5.7%. Diabetes diagnosis is established you’re your glucose levels are above 126 mg/dL and your HbA1C is above 6.5%. 
 

How do I know if I am pre-diabetic?


There are a few symptoms for sugar irregulation, for example sleepiness after meals might indicate sugar levels that are dropping after consumption of food or excess urination and/or thirst. The most accurate test is HbA1C. If your score is between 5.7% and 6.5%, your are pre-diabetic and you must come up with a treatment plan before it is too late.
 

What are the side effects of diabetes medication?


The side effects of diabetes medication depend on the drug you are taking (Metformin, Meglitinides, etc.). In general, most common side effects are nausea, abdominal discomfort or bloating, weight gain, low blood sugar levels, skin problems, and risk of liver or kidney disease. 
One of the biggest problems of taking diabetes medication, is that it does not TREAT diabetes. It only manages your sugar levels. In 15 years of clinical practice, we have never heard of anybody that was cured or healed from diabetes by taking diabetes medications. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happens. Most people start with one or two medication for diabetes and with time, as the effect of the medication decrease, most people are prescribed insulin injections every day. Can you imagine injecting yourself with insulin several times a day for the rest of your life? 
So, what do we do to really treat diabetes? There are several solutions that are natural and effective.


Natural solutions for diabetes and treatment considerations


Diet – Key in treatment of diabetes
There are several diets that were found to be helpful in the treatment of diabetes. The most important thing is to avoid any type of sugar, corn syrup, fructose, even honey, maple, and agave. All of these are absorbed very quickly and will increase you sugar levels. Second, make sure that you are eating food that has low glycemic index, which means that it does not raise the levels of sugar in your blood as foods with high glycemic index. For example: white bread and white potatoes have very high glycemic index, since eating them will increase you levels of sugar in your blood very quickly. 


Foods with low glycemic index are Legumes, non-starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, some fruit, and many whole grains (such as brown rice). 
There are several diets that were found to be effective in the treatment of diabetes. The two main diets that were found to be beneficial are the Mediterranean and Paleo diet (high protein diet). [4]


The Mediterranean diet with high fiber, low sugar, plenty fruits and vegetables with vitamins and minerals, small portion of protein (usually fish or cheese), and olive and avocado oils. The Paleo diet, with very low carbohydrates (only some vegetables and fruits are allowed), high protein (meat, fish, chicken, pork, etc.), and high fat (coconut, olive oil, and butter). I highly recommend choosing one of these diets, according to your personal preference, and follow the principles of it for at least 6 months. You can easily find recipes online for many types of dishes and even desserts.  

 

Exercise
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of exercise. So many studies found a connection between physical activity and weight loss and diabetes. I recommend to start by exercising every day. Start with a 20 minutes walk and increase it slowly to 60 minutes. If possible, join a gym or a group class in your community and commit to at least 3 classes a week. Start slowly and increase it with time. Weight training was also found to be very beneficial in increasing the sensitivity of your cells to insulin. That means that your cells will consume sugar and reduce the levels of glucose in your blood.

 

Nutritional supplementation
We found that majority of the patients, including diabetic patients, were lacking nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals. There micronutrients are essential for normal and healthy function. Some anti-oxidant vitamins, such as β-carotene, were found to have a protective effect against diabetes. [5] Even with patients that eat organic food and three salads a day, I still recommend to add nutritional support, daily. The best way to do this is by adding a ‘whole-food’ powder of nutrients, rather than adding a multi-vitamin tablet. Most multi-vitamins are synthetic and cause more harm than good. I recommend a powder since it is easy to absorb and you know that it is coming from a naturally occurring nutrients. We had good results with Super Food by Amazing Grass powders, but you can also try Garden of Life. Use at least one spoon with water twice a day. 

 

Test for environmental toxins
A study published on 2010 found a strong connection between organochlorinated pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), both related pollutant factors, to diabetes type 2. These chemicals surround us and are in plastic, tap, floor finish, electrical devices, foams, mattresses, and more. People with high levels of environmental pollutions had significant higher risk for diabetes. [6] For that reason, it is essential for you to be tested for environmental toxicity and go through a detox protocol, if needed, to eliminate toxins from your body.

 

Dietary fiber
While the American Diabetes Association recommended a diet contained 24 g of total fiber per day, with 8 g as soluble fiber and 16 g as insoluble fiber, studies found that this amount to be insufficient. High-fiber diet providing 50 g of total fiber per day; soluble and insoluble fiber (25 g each) was found to be more efficient in reducing the glucose levels in the blood. [7]

 

The study used unfortified foods, particularly those rich in soluble fiber, such as cantaloupe, grapefruit, orange, papaya, raisins, lima beans, okra, sweet potato, winter squash, zucchini, granola, oat bran, and oatmeal. We recommend to increase your consumption of vegetables, use two spoons of grounded flax seed daily with your salad or other supplementation of fiber. 


Chromium
A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that supplementation of Chromium was effective in reduction of glucose levels. The study divided diabetes patient into three groups: group #1 received placebo, group #2 received 1.92 μmol (100 microgram) Cr as chromium picolinate two times per day, and group #3 received 9.6 μmol (500 microgram) Cr two times per day. The patients continued to take their normal medications and were instructed not to change their eating and living habits. After 4 months, the glucose levels and HbA1c values of the third group improved significantly after receiving 19.2 μmol (1,000 microgram) Chromium daily. [8]


Ginseng
In Asia, ginseng has been used for thousands of years as a tonic herb to strengthen the body and improve healthy function. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that 200mg daily dosage of ginseng was effective and reduced fasting blood glucose (FBG) and body weight in diabetes patients. It was also found to improve mood and physical strength. We found that 200mg is a small amount for most people and often will recommend to start with 200mg daily and slowly increase to 500mg twice a day. [9]

Omega 3 oil
An 8 weeks daily supplementation of 3 gram of the omega 3 fatty acids was found to reduce insulin sensitivity and lower plasma triglyceride levels. [10] Although some studies reported an increase of glucose levels from fish oil consumption, a study by the American Diabetes Association found fish oil consumption to be effective and safe. [11, 12]

 

References

  1. American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?referrer=https://www.google.com/#sthash.J18zMO6e.dpuf

  2. American Diabetes Association. Fast Facts - Data and Statistics About Diabetes. https://professional.diabetes.org/content/fast-facts-data-and-statistics-about-diabetes

  3. Anoop Shankar, Srinivas Teppala; Relationship between Urinary Bisphenol A Levels and Diabetes Mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011; 96 (12): 3822-3826. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-1682

  4. (Ajala, O., et al. (2013). "Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes." Am J Clin Nutr 97(3): 505-516. 

  5. Patel CJ, Bhattacharya J, Butte AJ. An Environment-Wide Association Study (EWAS) on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. PLoS ONE. 2010;5(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010746.

  6. Patel CJ, Bhattacharya J, Butte AJ. An Environment-Wide Association Study (EWAS) on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. PLoS ONE. 2010;5(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010746.

  7. Chandalia M, Garg A, Lutjohann D, Bergmann KV, Grundy SM, Brinkley LJ. Beneficial Effects of High Dietary Fiber Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000;342(19):1392-1398. doi:10.1056/nejm200005113421903.

  8. Anderson RA, Cheng N, Bryden NA, et al. Elevated Intakes of Supplemental Chromium Improve Glucose and Insulin Variables in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes. 1997;46(11):1786-1791. doi:10.2337/diab.46.11.1786.

  9. Sotaniemi EA, Haapakoski E, Rautio A. Ginseng Therapy in Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetic Patients: Effects on psychophysical performance, glucose homeostasis, serum lipids, serum aminoterminalpropeptide concentration, and body weight. Diabetes Care. 1995;18(10):1373-1375. doi:10.2337/diacare.18.10.1373.

  10. Popp-Snijders C,  Schouten JA ,  Heine RJ ,  van der Meer J ,  van der Veen EA. Dietary supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improves insulin sensitivity in non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Diabetes Research (Edinburgh, Scotland). Mar 1987, 4(3):141-147.

  11. Glauber H. Adverse Metabolic Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1988;108(5):663. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-108-5-663.

  12. Friedberg CE, Janssen MJFM, Heine RJ, Grobbee DE. Fish Oil and Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 1998;21(4):494-500. doi:10.2337/diacare.21.4.494.

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