SUGGESTIONS FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES
For those with a new diagnosis of diabetes, I would like to give a short background on the disorder and it's risks. Some of the information is common knowledge, some is not often mentioned by allopathic MDs. This is not meant as criticism, just a fact that they are not often given the same information as holistic practitioners.
Diabetes is not often found as a single disorder. People diagnosed with diabetes may also have hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low thyroid function, and obesity. In fact, this is very often the case. This whole cluster of disorders has become known as "Syndrome X". Due, in part, because they were unable to discover the reason for the syndrome. My intention is to give you as much information as possible in order to help you peel away the layers and possibly discover the reasons for your diagnosis. If or when that happens,then, it is time to work with a knowledgable healthcare practitioner and plan a new health care strategy. In most cases, type 2 diabetes is controllable by diet alone - especially if it is caught early.
Keep in mind that there is another form of diabetes - Type 1 Diabetes. This is a completely different disorder. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Without insulin, the amount of sugar in the blood rises above a safe level, and the cells do not get the sugar they need. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves throughout your body and increase your risk of eye, heart, blood vessel, nerve, and kidney diseases. If your blood sugar level becomes very high, a life-threatening chemical imbalance (diabetic ketoacidosis) can develop.
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age; however, it usually develops in children and young adults, which is why it used to be called juvenile diabetes. It has also been called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) because insulin injections must be taken daily. One kind of type 1 diabetes—latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood, or LADA which develops in adulthood.(LADA develops in adulthood because it takes a long time for the body to destroy all the insulin-producing cells.) It sometimes is confused with type 2 diabetes because it starts later than most cases of type 1. Insulin normally is made by beta cells in a portion of the pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans. For unknown reasons, type 1 diabetes develops because the body destroys the beta cells. It is known as an autoimmune disease.
Some people inherit a tendency for type 1 diabetes. People who have a parent, brother, or sister with type 1 diabetes are more likely than other people to develop the disease; however, most people with type 1 diabetes do not have a family history of it. Even with a family history of diabetes, you might not develop the disease unless you are exposed to something in the environment that triggers it. Experts debate whether enteroviral infections, especially Coxsackie B, and not being breast-fed beyond 3 months of age may increase the risk for type 1 diabetes.
Type II diabetes generally occurs because of a metabolic failure at the cellular level, a condition spurred by poor diet, obesity, environmental factors, and genetics. Body tissues, such as cell receptor sites, lose their sensitivity to insulin. As insulin attempts to deliver glucose into the cell, it can no longer “unlock the door”. Blood glucose, barricaded from the cell, accumulates in the blood stream. Insulin therapy is usually not indicated in type II diabetics because typically these individuals already have too much insulin in their blood stream. If a diabetic is over producing insulin, it makes more sense to work on increasing sensitivity to the insulin already being put out. In Type 2 diabetes, dietary changes should be implemented before drugs. Most physicians, however, routinely use insulin or drugs. The current goal of treatment in type 2 diabetes is to lower the blood sugar level. But a raised blood sugar level is always a sign of an underlying disease. Can lowering a metabolic sign really prevent mortality and morbidity? Are we treating a disease when we lower blood sugar levels? No, we are not. We are simply lowering blood sugar levels which is an effect, not a cause. After an extended period of excess insulin secretion in type 2 diabetics,however, the pancreas may lose it’s ability to produce insulin, and a type II diabetic may then become insulin dependent.
When attempting to diagnose type 2 diabetes, it is suggested that a fasting serum insulin test be performed. This is the most accurate way in which to determine insulin resistance. The lower the results of the test, the better. Studies show that any result above 5-10 may be indicative of insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia. In addition to the numerous complications from diabetes, insulin resistance, in most cases, causes a loss of magnesium in the body. This decrease in magnesium in turn causes an increase in blood pressure and a resulting loss of energy. In addition, it also causes an increase in insulin, which causes you to lose more magnesium, which makes you even more insulin resistant. It's a very vicious circle. Too much insulin also causes sodium retention, which causes high blood pressure and fluid retention. This puts one at a greater risk of congestive heart failure.
There are many other contra-indications to being insulin resistant. Among them are:
- Continuing research is showing that insulin resistance is the main cause of aging in virtually all life.
- Hyperinsulinemia is known to contribute to the excretion of calcium in the urine, resulting in osteoporosis. This results even when supplementing with calcium.
- Insulin resistance and hypothyroidism go hand in hand.
- Research has shown that weight loss improves all aspects of NIDDM and may result in cure.
- Fat cells are resistant to insulin. Obesity not only raises cholesterol, it raises tryglycerides. The extra fat cells means the body produces more insulin, with the excess going to liver which, in turn, produces more triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides further add to insulin resistance. It is known that sugar metabolism improves in direct proportion to every pound of fat lost. Studies have found that it is better to eat your carbohydrates (if you eat any) scattered throughout the day.
NUTRITIONAL AND LIFESTYLE SUGGESTIONS
I highly recommend reading Eat Right 4 Your Type by Peter D'Adamo. There are always general recommendations to stay healthy via nutritional intervention, however, when one has a diagnosed disorder, I feel it is always in your best interest to hone in on exact food choices to accelerate your progress in overcoming those disorders. The following are many suggestions I have found over the years.
Avoid processed or fast foods. These are very refined products which are calorie and fat dense but, non-nutritive. For the most part, these types of foods are high on the glycemic index. It is always best to eat foods which are lower on the index. Another reason to avoid these types of foods is the use of vegetable oils in their preparation. Vegetable oils are Omega 6 oils. Ingesting excessive amounts of omega 6 oils is known to cause inflammatory conditions... Heart disease, autoimmune disease, arthritis, pain - all are known to be inflammatory conditions. This is why it is most beneficial to supplement with a good cod liver oil (if you live in the north or don't go out in the sun, or fish oil if you do). Cod liver oil and fish oils are the best source of the highly nutritious OMEGA 3 OILS. NOTE Even though fish oil is highly beneficial for inflammatory conditions and heart disease, various studies are finding that taking 4000mg. per day of fish oil in capsules can decrease insulin sensitivity and increase blood glucose levels. Therefore, when adding fish oil to your regimen, do so under a knowledgable healthcare practitioner's watchful eye and always increase doses slowly. If you notice your levels going up, decrease the amount of fish oil you are taking.
Avoid - or drastically reduce consumption of - dairy (cassien in dairy is known to raise cholesterol), wheat, kidney beans, corn, potatoes, sugar, and fruit juice. All will affect weight loss and insulin resistance, in addition to carbohydrate metabolism. Lectins from these foods attach to insulin receptors which program fat cells to hoard all carbohydrates and store them as fat, and to NOT burn them as energy.
Studies show that high fiber diets reduce blood sugar levels, reduce sugar in the urine, and reduce insulin requirements. The improvement is progressive, in that it repairs faulty sugar metabolism. The recommended amount if fiber necessary for this improvement is about 80-100 grams of fiber a day. Some suggestions might be: nuts, seeds, or raw oats. Two teaspoons of psyllium seed husks mixed in a large glass of water or 1 teaspoon of apple pectin before meals is known to slow insulin production.
Continuing research is finding that the most beneficial way to eat may be having numerous small meals, with a small amount of protein at each. Keeping biochemical individuality in mind, lean organic turkey, chicken, and salmon would be best for blood type A; blood type O does very well with grass fed or free-range beef; lamb, mutton, and turkey are acceptable for both blood type B and AB, with blood type B being able to eat some free-range beef or buffalo. Raw nuts and seeds are very beneficial for most.
The best oils to cook with are organic, virgin coconut oil and organic ghee, which is clarified butter. Neither of these oils turn rancid with high heat or result in trans fats. In addition, they are both known to be very nutritious. The organic, virgin coconut oil has antibiotic, antiseptic properties, it is highly beneficial to the thyroid gland, and it can stimulate metabolism. Ghee is an excellant source of butyrate. The higher the fecal butyrate count, the healthier the colon. It is not only beneficial for colon health, but, studies indicate it may show effectiveness with many cancers and ulcerative colitis.
DO NOT FAST - that is the worst thing for a diabetic. As long as you eat small meals, you shouldn’t need to fast - unless you choose to do a fast a couple of times a year. If you eat poorly at some point, it is not logical to think that fasting will correct the blood sugar and/or insulin imbalance. Just proceed to get yourself back on track and try not to indulge too often.
All grain and starch carbohydrates should be avoided or eliminated. Studies are showing that a low carbohydrate diet is the best way to restore insulin sensitivity.
Limit fruit consumption to one serving a day-maximum. Studies are showing that the dark red fruits and berries are the best choices. Drink NO fruit juices. In a sense, this is likened to drinking liquid sugar. Fruit juice has no pulp or fiber to slow down the insulin spike as a result of the high amount of fructose.
Most vegetables are highly recommended. However, it is best to avoid all root vegetables. They are known to be a poor choice due to the fact that the fiber breaks down under storage, rendering them comparable to simple carbohydrates. This includes potatoes, carrots, and starchy vegetables. Tomatoes are known to contain a panhemagglultinin that binds with blood cells - causing damage. Eating tomato sauce (with olive oil), occassionally, is found to be beneficial. When eating cruciferous vegetables( broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts), it may best to lightly steam them. They are all goitrogenic ( thyroid lowering) vegetables and steaming will counter that property. Garlic and onions are known to have blood sugar lowering properties. There are no known contra indications to eating them as often as possible; unless, you are also on blood thinners.
It is best to avoid all products made with flour due to the above mentioned glycemic index.
Soy is highly goitrogenic (thyroid lowering) and all around toxic. It is a known endocrine disruptor, and should never be used by anyone. It is not in your best interest to ingest soy of any type.
Ice cream is not something you should eat when you are diabetic - dairy is bad (as per blood type), sugar is bad, and if “no-sugar”brands are chosen - all artificial sweetners are toxic your liver among other things.
Vegetables and greens neutralize acid from protein. Not necessary to be on a HIGH protein diet; it is best to be on adequate protein diet. Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, and beneficial fats to balance the diet.
Studies have found that B3 (niacin) lowers thyroid activity, is bad for the liver, increases histamine release, and slows the pulse. It is not recommended to use niacin unless it is as a balanced B complex.
- Here is a small sampling of what artificial sweetners (aspartame, in this case) can do to you..... Clinical studies have found that aspartame ingested in any form can cause spasms, numbness in legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, memory loss. This is due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine in the aspartame are neurotoxic without the other amino acids. The phenylalanine in known to cause seizures and deplete serotonin. Aspartame also increases the craving for carbohydrates, promotes insomnia, elevates blood pressure, and renders one more sensitive to pain. In addition to that, there is evidence of: loss of diabetic control, the intensification of hypoglycemia, and the occurrence of presumed 'insulin reactions' (including convulsions) that proved to be aspartame reactions. Aspartame is also known to precipitate, aggravate or simulate diabetic complications (especially impaired vision and neuropathy) while using the product or any product containing it. One of the components of aspartame - methanol, better known as wood alcohol - is a "deadly poison." The Environmental Protection Agency recommends less than eight milligrams per day of methanol. A typical liter of an aspartame diet soda contains approximately 55 milligrams. According to Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, when ingested, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde, "known to cause cancer, accumulating slowly without detection in the body". Researchers have stated that excitotoxins such as those found in aspartame can precipitate diabetes in persons who are genetically susceptible to the disease. Splenda is comparatively "new", however, this does not mean that there are not warnings about it. Adverse effects, reported from the Sucralose Toxicity Center, in pre-approval research included:
o Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)
"Despite the manufacturer's mis-statements, sucralose does break down into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical that has not been adequately tested in humans. There has been NO independent research on Splenda. Manufacturer's "100's of studies" (some of which show hazards) were clearly inadequate and do not demonstrate safety in long-term use. The manufacturer claims that the chlorine added to sucralose is similar to the chlorine atom in the salt (NaCl) molecule. That is not the case. Sucralose may be more like ingesting tiny amounts of chlorinated pesticides, but we will never know without long-term, independent human research. While it is unlikely that sucralose is as toxic as the poisoning people are experiencing from aspartame, it is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.
o Enlarged liver and kidneys.
o Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
o Reduced growth rate
o Decreased red blood cell count
o Hyperplasia of the pelvis
o Extension of the pregnancy period
o Aborted pregnancy
o Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights
---A good multiple vitamin should always be the basis of any nutritional program. It will set the stage to build an effective supplemental/nutritional program.
---Inositol is known to be very beneficial for peripheral neuropathy. The concentration of inositol in the nerves is 50 times higher than in the blood. Research has shown that inositol is effective in restoring nerve function - reversing peripheral neuropathy, in some cases. The therapeutic dosage has been up to 4 grams a day.
---A quality digestive enzyme complex taken with each meal is beneficial assuring that what is eaten is properly digested and assimilated.
---Potassium is found to improve insulin sensitivity, responsiveness, and secretion. The therapeutic dosage is known to be 600mg. of potassium gluconate taken with food. Greens are also a good source of potassium, as are bananas. However, bananas are not a good choice for diabetics.
---B6 and B12 (methylcobalamin) are both known to be beneficial for peripheral neuropathy. Up to 50mg. 3 times a day for B6, and up to 3000mcg. 2 times a day for B12 are the therapeutic recommendation. Remember, it is never a good choice to take individual B vitamins for an extended period without taking a well-balanced B complex every week or two. I mention these two supplements because diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage caused by diabetes, is one of the most common known causes of neuropathy. It is one of many complications associated with diabetes, with nearly 60 percent of diabetics having some form of nerve damage. It is a progressive disease that can involve loss of sensation, as well as pain and weakness, in the feet and sometimes in the hands. Peripheral neuropathy may be more prevalent in people who have difficulty managing their blood sugar levels, have high blood pressure, are overweight, and are over 40 years old. A clinical examination may identify early signs of neuropathy in diabetics without symptoms. Although researchers don't understand exactly how damage occurs, a high blood sugar level seems to impair your nerves' ability to transmit signals.
---Vitamin E is known to improve insulin action and prevent long term complications, in addition to aiding in the prevention of peripheral circulation problems. The therapeutic dosage has been determined to be 400mg. two times a day.
---Chromium has been found to increase insulin sensitivity, fight insulin resistance, modulate blood sugar levels, and lower HbA1c levels. It appears to be involved in the insulin induced movement of glucose into cells, probably by encouraging the binding of insulin to the receptor site. The therapeutic dosage has been determined to be 200mcg.two times a day.
---Ester C with bioflavanoids shows promise in reducing the accumulation of sorbitol in red blood cells, with a therapeutic dosage being around 1000mg. two to three times a day.
---Calcium/Magesium is necessary to keep the bones, muscles, and nerves strong and functioning. Both are also important to the cardiovascular system. The most often recommended dosage, whether it be for bones, nerves, heart or muscles, is 1500mg. calcium (as citrate or hydroxyapatite) and 750 mg. of magnesium citrate per day, divided as follows: 500 mg calcium and 250mg magnesium with breakfast and the remaining before bed. It has also been found that an extra 400mg capsule of magnesium may also be beneficial before bed. Poorly controlled diabetics excrete more magnesium than do non-diabetics. Magnesium assists in the maintenance of functional beta cells and increases the number and sensitivity of insulin receptors. *If loose stool is noticed after adding extra magnesium, simply decrease the dose to 200mg. Magnesium is known to cause loose stool. It is not an adverse effect.
---Biotin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, and is found to enhance insulin sensitivity and increase the activity of the enzymes responsible for the utilization of glucose by the liver. Studies reveal the dosage of 10mg.per day to be effective.
---Vanadyl sulfate has been found, in clinical studies, to help jump start insulin sensitivity. According to studies reported in articles from both the American Diabetic Association and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, an effective dosage would be 50mg. taken two to three times a day for up to, but not more than, six weeks. The studies found that small oral doses of vanadyl sulfate "does improve both hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in NIDDM subjects in part by enhancing insulin's inhibitory effect on lipolysis. These data suggest that vanadyl sulfate may improve a defect in insulin signaling specific to NIDDM". It was concluded that "vanadyl sulfate at maximal tolerated doses for 6 weeks improves hepatic and muscle insulin sensitivity in T2DM." It suggests further that the "liver, rather than muscle, is the primary target of VOSO4 action at therapeutic doses in T2DM."
---Zinc taken supplementally, in addition to the intake of nuts and seeds has proven to be very beneficial with diabetes. Studies published by the University of Maryland Med Center and Pub Med, show there is "strong evidence of an abnormal metabolism of several micronutrients in diabetic individuals. Zinc is one of the essential micronutrients of which status and metabolism is altered in this condition. Zinc levels tend to be low in people with diabetes, particularly type 2. Plus, zinc plays an important role in production and storage of insulin. For these reasons, zinc supplements may prove to be helpful for some people with this health problem." It is recommended to supplement an additional 30mg. in addition to dietary intake.
---Bladderwrack is a natural source od iodine reported to help restore thyroid function and metabolism. It is known to be best to take in small doses unless there is a known thyroid hormone/iodine deficiency.
---Essential fatty acids (omega 3, omega 6) may help maintain the cell membrane insulin responsiveness. It is known that omega 3 is best supplemented, since the only quality source is fish or fish oil. Fish would be a good source, however, due to toxic pollution, most fish is now not recommended. Flax oil is a source of essential fatty acids, however, it ALA is not readily converted to omega 3, and it is also a source of omega 6. All vegetable oils are a source of omega 6; most people consume an adequate amount of vegetable oil in one form or another. It is not necessary to supplement it. The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be 2:1. Clinical research is showing that too much omega 6 could cause inflammatory reactions in the body. As mentioned earlier, this is not a condition to strive for. The therapeutic dosage for a good, quality cod liver oil or fish oil is 1 tablespoon per day, or as directed by a knowledgable healthcare practitioner.
---CoEnzyme Q10 is known to be very beneficial for the cardiovascular system, and may enhance beta cell function and glycemic control. The "Q-Gel or Q-Sorb" brands offer the most bioavailable forms of CoQ10.
---Gymnema Sylvestre taken as directed by a knowledgable holistic practitioner, has been found to reduce insulin requirements and enhance the action of insulin, in addition to possible regeneration of the beta cells.
---L-Carnitine taken on an empty stomach has been found to decrease total serum cholesterol, raise HDL, and help increase metabolism. In diabetes, L-Carnitine is found to improve blood sugar and HbA1c levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and optimize fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It appears to protect against diabetic neuropathy. A deficiency of this amino acid has been associated with cataract formation in diabetics.
---Bilberry extract is known to be very beneficial in lowering blood sugar, being less toxic than insulin. It is also found to increase intracellular Vitamin C, decrease leakiness and breakage of small blood vessels, prevents bruising and exert potent antioxidant effects, in addition to improving night vision, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
---Gingko biloba has had many excellant studies, and is known to be beneficial for cerebral vascular insufficiency and peripheral vascular insufficiency, in addition to intermittent claudication. It has been found to be superior to a placebo in pain-free walking and maximum walking distance increase and shows promise in preventing diabetic retinopathy. Ginkgo has a blood thinning property, therefore, it is recommended not to use simultaneously with aspirin or other blood thinning drugs, herbs, or proteolytic enzymes on an empty stomach.
---L-glutamine - 1t. powder on tongue - is known to be effective in eliminating carbohydrate cravings.
---Alpha Lipoic Acid has been found to be very beneficial with peripheral neuropathy; shown to facilitate the transport of glucose, and mitigate diabetic complications. It may also be very effective in aiding the liver to process glucose. Studies have shown in many cases this may lower the dosage of insulin needed to regulate glucose. Continuing research is showing alpha lipoic acid may reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity. However, this supplement may, in cases, lower thyroid function, so it is best to take in small doses.
---Probiotics are known to offset the toxic overgrowth of candida due to poor glucose metabolism. It is recommended to take refrigerated brands with a high concentration of acidophilus and bifidus, and use them twice a day on an empty stomach.
It’s very important that you exercise. Studies have shown that resistance training may be more beneficial to restore insulin sensitivity. (Using light weights, lift VERY SLOWLY to the count of 5 seconds and return to starting position to the count of 4 seconds). This type of exercise is known to burn the muscles, but, that’s the resistance. Every muscle group you exercise in this way becomes more sensitive to insulin. It is recommended to do groups of exercises for your legs, arms, middle, and back. Research is finding that walking is also very beneficial, or doing pool walking. What is important is that you work up a sweat. This is good for the entire body, not just for diabetes or the cardiovascular system. It is known that exercise may cause changes in insulin dosages, and it is often recommended to eat extra complex carbohydrates before exercising to remedy that. It is also recommended that exercise be avoided during periods of hypoglycemia.
It is not hard to adopt to this way of eating. Even when eating out, most restaurants can accommodate special diets...simply order extra vegetables (non-starchy)instead of potatoes, bread or rice. A glass of red wine with dinner is acceptable occasionally. If buffets are your choice, it’s hard to avoid fat, but, protein and vegetables are always available. Keep in mind that fat is not often the problem, it’s grains, starches and sweets - high glycemic index foods.
It would always be in your own best interest and your health's best interest to try and rely on diet - not constantly adjusting insulin dosages up and down - to regulate blood sugar levels. It is never a good idea to simply eat what you want and either “up” your insulin to counter a sky-high sugar, or decrease your insulin to accommodate a low blood sugar. Diabetes references also recommend the avoidance of overeating at one meal, then skipping the next to make up for it. The constant drastic fluctuations could increase the risk of becoming a brittle diabetic. In addition to that, the high amount of insulin is toxic to your body.
When considering daily food intake, it may be best to remember: Eat often, and small meals. DO NOT EAT LARGE MEALS. It may be important to restrict calories, but it is also important to eat nutrient dense food. Since an over-abundance of saturated and trans fats are not beneficial, it is recommended to eat lean, especially if you are supplementing the essential fatty acids. DO NOT SKIP MEALS!!!!...that is of the utmost importance.
Please email me if you have any questions.
ALL OF THE PREVIOUS INFORMATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ILLNESS. THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED FROM NUMEROUS SOURCES, AMONG THEM:
Syndrome X – Berkeson
No-Grain Diet – Mercola
Protein Power – Eades
Natural Medicine for Heart Disease – Rothfeld
Eat Right 4 Your Type and Live Right 4 Your Type – D’Adamo
Nutritional Healing – Balch and Balch
Enzyme Therapy – Cichoke
The Real Vitamin Book – Lieberman
Nutritional Influences on Illness– Werbach
CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs
German Commission E Monograph
Living Well With Hypothyroidism – Shoman
New Holistic Herbal – Hoffman
Disease Prevention and Treatment – Life Extension Foundation
PDR for Nutritional Supplements
PDR for Herbal Medicine
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Pizzorno
Honest Herbal - Tyler
Encyclopedia of Natural Healing – Null
Pocket Handbook for Diabetes
Natural Treatment for Diabetes
Overcoming Thyroid Disorders – Brownstein
The Thyroid Solution – Arem
Thriving with your Autoimmune Disorder - Ravicz
Health Science Institute
Real Health Newsletter
Nutrition and Health Newsletter
Herb Research Foundation