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Diabetes

Key goals to focus on to help prevent and reverse diabetes:

  • attain healthy weight, avoid sugars and simple carbs, eat fresh raw fruits and vegetables, eat salads, drink plenty of water, avoid smoking and alcohol, exercise often

Key all natural tools to use:

  • greens, superfoods, raw organic foods, no sugars and simple carbs, no fried foods, minimize broiled or barbequed foods, take targeted nutrients and eat helpful foods and herbs (see the major ones suggested below)

Nutrients, Herbs and Foods Helpful to Treat and Prevent Diabetes

Main Helpful Nutrients for Diabetics

Vitamin D - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition since 2004 has supported the findings that sufficient Vitamin D levels increases insulin sensitivity and regulation substantially. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to a cascade of other illnesses and diseases. Make sure you too are not deficient.

Chromium – Found in a variety of foods and supplements, including liver, brewer’s yeast, cheese, meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, chromium appears to enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Researchers believe that chromium helps insulin pull glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. The benefit of chromium supplements for diabetes has been studied and debated for a number of years. While some studies show no beneficial effects of chromium use for people with diabetes, other studies have shown that chromium supplements may reduce blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes and reduce the need for insulin in those with type 1 diabetes. Most Americans get at least 50 mcg of chromium in their diets each day. The National Research Council estimates that intakes of 50 – 200 mcg per day are safe and effective. Clinical studies showing improved blood sugar control for those with diabetes have used doses of chromium picolinate ranging from 200 – 1,000 mcg per day. However, until human studies of long term safety are conducted with higher doses, it is best to use 200 mcg or less per day.

Magnesium – Several clinical studies have demonstrated a strong association between low levels of magnesium in the blood and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are investigating whether low magnesium levels worsen blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes or whether diabetes causes magnesium deficiencies. Some experts believe that low magnesium levels worsen blood sugar control and that foods rich in magnesium (such as whole grains, green leafy vegetables, bananas, legumes, nuts, and seeds) or magnesium supplements may promote healthy blood glucose levels. People with severe heart disease or kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements. People with diabetes should discuss whether it’s safe and appropriate to take magnesium supplements with a health care provider.

Vanadium – Vanadium is an essential trace mineral present in the soil and in many foods. It appears to mimic the action of insulin and, in a number of human studies, vanadyl sulfate (a form of vanadium) has increased insulin sensitivity in those with type 2 diabetes.

Antioxidants — Preliminary clinical studies show that the following antioxidants may improve symptoms of diabetes (by returning blood glucose levels to the normal range) and reduce the risk of associated complications:

Two additional substances that show preliminary evidence to possibly help control blood sugar include:

  • Biotin (a B-complex vitamin) — helpful for type 2 diabetes; brewer’s yeast is a good source of biotin
  • Vitamin B6 – helpful for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Other Nutritional Supplements with Beneficial Cardiovascular Effects

Because insulin resistance is often associated with cardiovascular disease, people with diabetes may benefit from nutrients that help manage elevated blood lipid levels, high blood pressure, or heart failure. Although the following supplements have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, there is some concern that they may raise blood glucose levels. People with diabetes interested in trying the following supplements should first consult with their health care providers:

In addition, the following antioxidants have been shown to improve cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes:

Other supplements shown to help reduce complications from diabetes

More than one third of all people with diabetes develop a painful condition known as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). Some researchers speculate that elevated levels of free radicals, which can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels, may cause this condition. Clinical studies suggest that the following antioxidant supplements may improve nerve communication in damaged areas and reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Gamma-linolenic acid [evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is a rich source]

Herbs shown to help prevent and treat diabetes

People have long used plant based medicines in the treatment of diabetes. For instance, the plant extract guanidine, which lowers blood glucose, prompted the development and use of biguanides, a commonly used oral medication for diabetes. Other herbs may have a role in the management or prevention of diabetes. These include:

  • Bitter melon has traditionally been used as a remedy for lowering blood glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus. Preliminary clinical studies have indicated that bitter melon may decrease serum glucose levels.
  • Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber and have been shown to regulate glucose and improve lipid levels in both animals and humans
  • Gymnema. Preliminary human research reports that gymnema may be beneficial in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes when it is added to diabetes drugs being taken by mouth or to insulin. Gymnema may alter the ability to detect sweet tastes.
  • Cinnamon.  In a clinical study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, intake of 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon per day reduced glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Other clinical studies have found similar results. As a result, experts claim that cinnamon may play an important role in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • American ginseng. Several clinical studies report a blood sugar lowering effect of American ginseng in individuals with type 2 diabetes, both on fasting blood glucose and on postprandial glucose levels. One clinical study found that people with type 2 diabetes who take American ginseng before or together with a glucose meal experience a reduction in glucose levels after they consume the meal.
  • Green Tea
  • Curcumin (from Turmeric/Curry)
  • Holy Basil

Foods to help avoid or treat diabetes

Fiber – Studies suggest that a high fiber diet may help:

  • Prevent development of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower average glucose and insulin levels in people who already have type 2 diabetes
  • Improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in those with diabetes

Other Foods:

Helpful OWC exclusive articles on diabetes:

More Information on Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin (a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life)  or cannot use the insulin that their bodies produce. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

Diabetes, natural remedies, alternative medicines and other tips to treat diabetes

Diabetes is the major health concern for most people today due to poor diets and lack of exercise. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, nerve disease, heart disease, and stroke. As you will discover, starting your day with sufficient protein and minimizing sugars and unhealthy carbohydrates is the first big steps towards avoiding and potentially reversing diabetes.

  • Watch this video of Dr. Barker explain diabetes and discuss how diabetes is completely reversible with advanced natural medicine, proper diet changes and regularly exercising. 0 Diabetes
  • READ THIS ARTICLE by Dr. Steven V. Joyal MD, a leading expert on diabetes.
  • Watch this additional doctor video on Reversing Diabetes and Insulin Resistance Quickly0 Diabetes
  • Read this article on diabetes and diet suggesting food and herbal and lifestyle remedies by one of OWC’s research team members.

Improving your diet and supplementing with superfoods (and if needed and you can afford them, additional targeted supplements) is the only way to go if you are serious about being proactive and living a longer healthier reduced medical care cost life.

Diabetes facts

  • 20.8 million Americans have diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  • While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, 6.2 million people are unaware that they have type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
  • There are two major types of diabetes:
  1. Type 1 — Also known as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces too little insulin to regulate blood sugar levels appropriately. It is usually diagnosed in childhood.
  2. Type 2 — This form of the disease is far more common than type 1 and makes up 90% or more of all cases of diabetes. It usually occurs in adulthood. It occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, although it is a serious condition. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to the growing number of older Americans, increasing obesity, and failure to exercise.
  • Pre-diabetes occurs in those individuals with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. This condition raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke
  • Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a person who does not have diabetes. Four percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. Although it usually disappears after delivery, the mother is at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.


More on Complimentary and Alternative Diabetes Therapies

Acupuncture

Some researchers speculate that acupuncture may trigger the release of natural painkillers and reduce the debilitating symptoms of a complication of diabetes known as neuropathy (nerve damage). In one clinical study of people with diabetes suffering from chronic, painful neuropathy, acupuncture reduced pain and improved sleep in 77% of the participants and eliminated the need for pain medications in 32% of the participants. Given these findings, acupuncture may be a reasonable option for people with diabetes who have neuropathy and either find no symptom relief or develop side effects from conventional drug treatment.

Mind/Body Medicine

Stressful life events can worsen diabetes in several ways. For example, stress stimulates the nervous and endocrine systems in ways that increase blood glucose levels and disrupts healthful behaviors (increasing the chances that an individual may consume a high level of calories and limit his or her physical activity — a pattern that leads to elevated blood glucose).

It makes sense, then, to consider stress management as part of the treatment and prevention of diabetes. Clinical studies have reported that people with diabetes who participate in biofeedback sessions (a technique that increases awareness and control of the body’s response to stress) are more likely to reach target blood glucose levels than those who do not receive biofeedback. Although other studies have produced results that contradict this, researchers and clinicians agree that long term stress is likely to worsen diabetes and that biofeedback, tai chi, yoga, and other forms of relaxation may help motivate people with diabetes to change their habits in order to manage their condition.

Diet

It is recommended that people with diabetes consume a healthy, low fat diet, rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables. A healthy diet typically includes 10 – 20% of daily calories from protein such as poultry, fish, dairy, and vegetable sources. People with diabetes who also have kidney disease should work with their health care providers to limit protein intake to 10% of daily calories. A low-fat diet typically includes 30% or less of daily calories from fat — less than 10% from saturated fats and up to 10% from polyunsaturated fats (such as fats from fish).

Carbohydrates tend to have the greatest effect on blood glucose. The balance between the amount of carbohydrate eaten and the available insulin determines how much the blood glucose level goes up after meals or snacks. To help control blood glucose, people should watch how many carbohydrate servings they eat each day. Foods that contain a high amount of carbohydrates include grains, pasta, and rice; breads, crackers, and cereals; starchy vegetables, including potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash; legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils; fruits and fruit juices; milk and yogurt; and sweets and desserts. Non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, salad greens, and green beans, are very low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrate counting can ensure that the right amount of carbohydrate is eaten at each meal and snack. A dietician can help each person work out a dietary plan that is right for them.

Exercise

Exercise plays an important role in both the prevention and management of diabetes because it lowers blood sugar and helps insulin work more efficiently in the body. Exercise also enhances cardiovascular fitness by improving blood flow and increasing the heart’s pumping power, promoting weight loss, and lowering blood pressure. However, exercise has the most value when it’s done regularly — at least 3 – 4 sessions per week for 30 – 60 minutes per session. As little as 20 minutes of walking, 3 times a week, has a proven beneficial effect. People with type 2 diabetes who exercise regularly have been shown to lose weight and gain better control over their blood pressure, thereby reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease (a major complication of diabetes). Studies have also shown that people with type 1 diabetes who regularly exercise reduce their need for insulin injections.

Signs and Symptoms

Type 1: Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it usually starts in people younger than 30. Symptoms are usually severe and occur rapidly. They include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss despite increased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Absence of menstruation

Type 2: People with type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms, and their condition is detected only when a routine exam reveals high levels of glucose in their blood. Occasionally, however, a person with type 2 diabetes may experience symptoms listed below, which tend to appear slowly over time:

  • Numbness or burning sensation of the feet, ankles, and legs
  • Blurred or poor vision
  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Poor wound healing

In some cases, symptoms may mimic type 1 diabetes and appear more abruptly:

  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Yeast infections
  • Whole body itching
  • Coma — in severe cases, high blood glucose may affect water distribution in brain cells, causing a state of deep unconsciousness, or coma.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are caused by the absence, insufficient production, or lack of response by cells in the body to the hormone insulin. Insulin is a key regulator of the body’s metabolism. After meals, food is digested in the stomach and intestines. Sugar (glucose) molecules are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and blood glucose levels rise. Under normal circumstances, the rise in blood glucose levels signals specific cells in the pancreas — called beta cells — to secrete insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin, in turn, enables glucose to enter cells in the body that may be burned for energy or stored for future use.

In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas produce little or no insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to enter body cells. Once glucose enters a cell, it is used as fuel. Without adequate insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. The body is unable to use this glucose for energy despite high levels in the bloodstream, leading to increased hunger.

In addition, the high levels of glucose in the blood cause the patient to urinate more, which leads to excessive thirst. Within 5 – 10 years after diagnosis, the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas are completely destroyed, and no more insulin is produced.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 3% of all new cases of diabetes each year. There is 1 new case per every 7,000 children per year. New cases are less common among adults older than 20.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops in older, overweight individuals who become resistant to the effects of insulin over time. When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin but, for unknown reasons, the body cannot use the insulin effectively. This is called insulin resistance. This means that the insulin produced by your pancreas cannot connect with fat and muscle cells to let glucose inside and produce energy. This causes hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin. The cells sense this flood of insulin and become even more resistant, resulting in a vicious cycle of high glucose levels and often high insulin levels.

Type 2 diabetes usually occurs gradually. Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of diagnosis. However, the disease can also develop in lean people, especially the elderly.

Risk Factors

Type 1 diabetes

  • Family history of type 1 diabetes
  • Mother who had pre-eclampsia (a condition characterized by a sharp increase in blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy)
  • Family history of autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, myasthenia gravis, Addison’s disease, or pernicious anemia
  • Viral infections during infancy, including mumps, rubella, and coxsackie
  • Child of an older mother
  • Northern European or Mediterranean descent
  • Lack of breast-feeding and consumption of cow’s milk during infancy (still controversial)

Type 2 diabetes

  • Family history of type 2 diabetes (one quarter to one third of all individuals with type 2 diabetes have a family history of the condition)
  • Age older than 45 years
  • Excess body fat, particularly around the waist
  • Sedentary lifestyle and high fat, high calorie diet
  • Abnormal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (a hormonal disorder that causes women to have irregular or no menstruation)
  • African-American, Hispanic American or Native American (particularly Pima tribe in Arizona) descent
  • Low birth weight or a mother’s malnutrition in pregnancy (this may cause metabolic disturbances in a fetus that lead to diabetes later in the child’s life)
  • Depression is associated with a 60% increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Conventional Western Medicine

Medications for diabetes must always be used in combination with lifestyle changes, particularly diet and exercise, to improve the symptoms of diabetes. Medications include insulin, oral sulfonylureas (like glimepiride, glyburide, and tolazamide), biguanides (Metformin), alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (such as acarbose), thiazolidinediones (such as rosiglitazone) and meglitinides (including repaglinide and nateglinide). A new agent in the fight against diabetes, exenatide (Byetta), is an injectable drug that reduces the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. In clinical studies, exenatide treated patients achieved lower blood glucose levels and experienced weight loss. Exenatide was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2005.

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