Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, but 7 million don’t know it according to the CDC. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and a major cause heart disease and stroke. We will focus on type 2 diabetes in this discussion.
The good news type 2 diabetes is almost always preventable through better lifestyle habits including healthier eating and more physical activity. Nutrition and exercise also represent natural ways to treat diabetes.
Diabetes is a model of accelerated aging. Preventing and reversing diabetes can extend one’s life expectancy while improving quality of life.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin resistance occurs. Insulin drives sugar into the cells where it can be used as an immediate source of energy, or stored either as glycogen or fat for later energy use. In insulin resistance more and more insulin is needed to its job. But, insulin is inflammatory and promotes fat storage contributing to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, strokes, obesity, and more.
A major key to reversing type 2 diabetes is simply reversing insulin resistance.
Exercise Ways to Treat Diabetes
Muscle is filled with insulin receptors. The more muscle you have the more insulin receptors you have. Therefore, strength training can improve insulin resistance. It’s important to stress the muscles enough that you get that “nice burn” feeling in the muscles. This serves as a stimulus to make more muscle, and thus more insulin receptors.
Aerobic exercise can improve insulin resistance, too, by burning up glycogen stores that the muscle will need to replace. This pulls sugar from the blood and into the muscle and improves insulin sensitivity.
Dietary Ways to Treat Diabetes
We believe the best dietary approach involves eating low glycemic carbohydrates, never eating carbohydrates by themselves, and eating more frequently with healthy snacks between meals to maintain more balance blood sugar levels rather than levels that fluctuate from too high to too low. Pairing carbohydrates with healthy sources of protein and/or fats will delay absorption of sugar from the GI tract leading to smaller spikes in blood sugar.
A tablespoon or two of vinegar with a meal can also lower blood sugar mainly by delaying its absorption from the GI tract. Vinegar can lower blood sugar comparable to metformin the most prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes.
Nutritional Supplement Ways to Treat Diabetes
Nutritional deficiencies can both contribute to diabetes and be the result of diabetes. Chromium, magnesium and potassium deficiencies can contribute to diabetes. Chromium supplementation in doses of 200 to 800 micrograms a day has been shown to lower fasting and after meal blood glucose levels. Magnesium levels can be normal on blood tests, but most of the magnesium is in the cells and diabetics tend to be magnesium deficient. 400 milligrams to 800 milligrams of magnesium can improve diabetic control and also lower blood pressure.
Green tea or green tea extracts in doses of 500 milligrams a day can lower blood sugar.
More soluble fiber in diet lowers blood sugar.
R-lipoic acid is another nutrient helpful in lowering blood sugar. Lipoic acid is unique in that it is both water and fat soluble and a potent anti-oxidant that improves insulin sensitivity. Dose is 200 to 300 milligrams a day.
Cinnamon, biotin, and pycnogenol also have been shown to lower blood sugar.
Many of these nutrients can be obtained directly from the diet especially from a variety of vegetables. Eating vegetables is one of the best ways to treat diabetes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or have had elevated blood sugars considered some of these natural ways to treat diabetes. You will feel better and may avoid the need for medications.
In a recent study published in Diabetes Care curcumin was found to prevent diabetes in a small group of pre-diabetics. Try 400 mg/day of curcumin that contains the patented formula BCM-95.
See related articles.