Doing Diabetes Differently
Let’s get the depressing part over with…then we’ll get to the hopeful stuff! When it comes to Diabetes, we know the stats, they aren’t great. According to the CDC, over 34.2 million people in the United States have Diabetes, and 1 in 5 don’t know they have it. Over 88 million people (that’s 1 in 3) have pre-diabetes. The numbers are overwhelming, but also, they’re not personal. What about you, your father, or your wife? What can you do that you haven’t already been doing? If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes or pre-diabetes, chances are, you are already going to your regularly scheduled Doctor’s visits, taking your medication and doing your follow-up labs. There has got to be more, there’s got to be hope for those who are searching for a more effective way to reverse their diabetes, or prevent it altogether.
Functional Medicine Physicians focus on the “why” of disease, not so much the “what”. We ask questions like why is your blood sugar high and what are the barriers toward halting the progression of Diabetes and eventually reversing it? How can we change the landscape of your body and your cells so that they may process sugar more efficiently? First the obvious stuff, we all know that lowering the amount of sugar in the diet is crucial. This is important for all of us, diabetic or not! Sugar (think pasta, cookies, chips, processed carbs, bread, etc.) creates inflammation and inflammation is the main cause of disease, including Diabetes, stroke, heart attack and dementia. After lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in your body, the next important step is to refuel the body with potent nutrients, vitamins and anti-inflammatories. This refueling process is crucial and can’t be skipped if we are going to repair the damage that has been done.
Let’s look at some specifics: (*speak with your doctor before starting a new diet plan or supplements)
1. B Vitamins – your body need plenty of these to combat the years of poorly treating your system. B vitamins are needed to fuel your mitochondria (the body’s powerhouse) and improve metabolism. Dark leafy green vegetables, beans and fruits are loaded with B Vitamins. They can also be supplemented.
2. Cinnamon and green tea- help control blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity
3. Fiber- Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helps us feel full and reduces cholesterol. Fiber can be found in plants, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.
4. Chromium – important for sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Can be found in mussels, Brazil nuts, oysters, dates; is often supplemented.
5. Vitamin D- reduces inflammation, boosts your immune system and influences the genes that help prevent Diabetes. (speak to your doctor about dosing)
6. Fish Oil—The super star of supplements! Decreases Cholesterol, blood sugar and inflammation. Improves insulin sensitivity. Try to eat 2 servings of seafood high in omega 3 Fatty acids per week- these include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring and mussels. It can also be supplemented.
7. Magnesium- Magnesium helps sugar enter the cells and turns those calories into energy for the body. Magnesium can be supplemented and also found in greens leafy veggies, nuts and seeds.
Lastly, don’t forget that stress plays a huge role in blood sugar balance. Learning to control stress will help decrease cortisol levels and yields amazing results regarding blood sugar, weight and blood pressure. Daily meditation, exercise and rest are ways to start working on this category. I can't stress to you enough the power of meditation!
These are only a few examples of how you can affect you blood sugar naturally. There are also many other things that I can help you address regarding Diabetes such as hormone imbalances, food sensitivities, metal toxicities, chronic underlying infection, allergens and poor gut health. Pills don’t fix these problems; but researching your particular vulnerabilities and addressing your unique issues certainly will.
Halting and reversing Diabetes involves attacking the problem from many directions. This is not a ‘one pill fits all’ situation. We can aggressively change your state of health. However, there are a lot of things you can start to do now. It’s as simple as changing your food and moving every day. Making these small changes daily adds up to big results. The quality and type of food you eat inform you genes and your body how to behave. Above all else, remember that you have more power than you think you do to change your health, longevity and happiness
(This is meant for educational purposes only. Please speak with your doctor before changing your health plan and regarding safely adding supplements).