Why be concerned?
Over 2.25 million Canadians are estimated to have diabetes which has become a national healthcare crisis (1). There has been a 49% rise in the diagnosis of diabetes from 1990 to 2000 in the US alone and it is estimated that 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will eventually develop diabetes (1). The healthcare costs for diabetes and its complications amount to about 9 billion dollars a year (1).
Yet Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome (positive risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular risk and blood sugar irregularity) are controllable, particularly type 2 Diabetes. Which can be prevented or delayed by modifying two known risk factors: obesity and physical inactivity (2)
Why is this happening?
With modern lifestyle of highly processed foods and reduced time for exercise and wellness there is an increase in obesity in children and adults added to this mix an aging population a template for lifestyle diseases like diabetes is set.
What are the Connections Related to This Trend?
There are 8 phases related to the development of diabetes:
- The first phase relates to the Nervous System. In Optimal Wellness there is a balance between the parasympathetic state and the sympathetic state… When one spends excess time in the sympathetic nervous system this delicate eco system shifts and begin the path to disease.
- Phase 2 Adrenal Gland. This gland releases epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, estrogen and DHEA which breaks down into estrogen and testosterone. When cortisol is elevated over a long period of time it promotes weight gain around the abdominal area, which leads to further physical inactivity, cravings for more carbohydrate and sugars which are the templates to insulin resistance. Over time this leads to adrenal weakness.
- Phase 3 Digestive system. Reduced enzymes to break down foods leads to inflammation in the bowels.
- Phase 4 Immunity and Inflammation. Up to 70% of Immunity can be related to the bowels inflammatory chemicals are then released throughout the body.
- Phase 5 Liver. Any by products including those from the Leaky Bowel Syndrome that need to be cleared from our body are brought to the liver. When it can’t clear properly we get free radical formation and oxidative stress. Free radicals can lead to chronic degenerative disease.
- Phase 6 Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome. Insulin Resistance is when the cells of your body are not sensitive enough to react to the insulin. Your pancreas then increases the production of insulin to try and compensate because the cells need the glucose to form energy. Eventually the pancreas gets tired and can’t produce enough insulin and this leads you into Metabolic Syndrome is a condition where there is abdominal obesity, markers of cardiovascular disease, markers of blood sugar irregularity and markers of inflammation that put an individual at high risk for Cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
- Phase 7- Diabetes which is a disease that occurs when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it in the right way. The result of this is high blood sugar levels because the role of insulin is to assist your body to use sugar for energy.
- Phase Eight – Secondary Complications which may include : Eye disease and blindness, Kidney disease, diabetic neuropathy (damage to nerves from high blood sugar may cause numbness , tingling), Amputations, Cardiovascular Disease, Pregnancy Complications, Flu and pneumonia related deaths.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 (Insulin Dependent) – Is Autoimmune and Develops most often in children and young adults and is treated with insulin.
- Type 2 (Non- Insulin Dependent) – Historically developed in older adults but is now been diagnosed even in children and teens. 80% of these people will die of a vascular event which is a secondary complication. The most common causes are poor diet and or lack of exercise which results in insulin resistance.
- Type 3 (Gestational)- Develops during pregnancy and brings a higher risk of developing type 2
What are the important natural lab tests to consider if I think I am at risk or have diabetes?
- It is recommended to have a full evaluation through a new patient visit by your Naturopathic Doctor in which it would be recommended to include: Metabolic Urine Testing (assessment of pH, bowel function and energy reserves)
- Healthscore healthscore.ca – for a proper evaluation of what your risk factors are.
What are our Natural Treatment Options?
It is important to note one needs to consult with a healthcare professional before altering any current treatment plan and to do so with supervision. One of the most important roles of a Naturopathic Doctor is Education.
- Weight Reduction Plan. Revivelife offers a 12 weeks to Weight Wellness Program which is based on Body Types. Body type can be evaluate by determining where a person will tend to hold weight, what foods are craved and the timing of when foods are eaten. The Body Type Program reduces foods that stimulate a person’s dominant gland and increase foods of the less active glands creating an optimum state of balance and hence weight. For example a Thyroid Body Type would tend to hold weight in the thighs and upper hips and crave sweets and starches. The Adrenal Body Type tends to crave animal products and salt and tend to increase weight in the front the body and have a straight sturdy line to the body. The Pituitary Body Type craves dairy and tends to be round all over. The Gonadal Body Type craves spices, fats and oils and has extra weight that settles in the upper body and buttocks.
- Exercise -alone showed a 46% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. Start with working in your Training Heart Range ( THR= 220-age X.7 to .8 ) 15 minutes three times per week then increase to reach a goal of 30 minutes three times per week.
- Food Intolerances- Know how your body reacts to various foods and customize your nutritional plan with Food Intolerance knowledge and a diabetic diet i.e. low glycemic load of foods ( the amount of glucose the tissues are exposed to after a certain food is ingested ) , low simple carbohydrates, moderate protein and a high fiber diet.
- Antioxidants– can safely interact with free radicals and reduce tissue damage which is believed to be associated with diabetes and its complications. The main antioxidants include: glutathione, SOD (superoxide dismutase), beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, CoQ10, melatonin and alpha lipoic acid (neuropathy). Red meat, carrots, beets, spinach are high natural sources of alpha lipoic acid.
- Chromium- Chromium Picolate the active form of Chromium in our body plays a critical role as it affects the number of receptors for insulin thus promoting its action. It has the added benefit of reducing cholesterol.
- EFA’s– Fish oils help to improve insulin efficiency by enhancing blood flow to arteries and reduces the clumping of red blood cells.
- Beta-glucans– a form of fiber found in grains , brewer’s yeast and some mushrooms have been researched to slow down absorption, reduce the glycemic index of foods, diminish blood glucose levels, lowers blood cholesterol levels and helps to regulate appetite ( 3)
- Digestive Enzymes- Diabetics have been shown to commonly be low in amylase and lipase.
- Herbals such as: Hops- Isohumulones- , Gymnea Sylvestre, Bitter Melon, Cinnamon, Banaba
- Homeopathic Remedies- Customized Drainage remedies to support blood sugar management
- Acupuncture to support blood sugar regulation.
Be sure and check with your Naturopathic Doctor before beginning or changing any health plans.
Natural Treatments for Diabetes (Paperback) by R. N. Ellsworth (Author) Product Details
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=natural+treatments+for+diabetes • Paperback: 32 pages • Publisher: Woodland Publishing (October 2001) • Language: English • ISBN-10: 158054083X • ISBN-13: 978-1580540834 • Wellness Comment: A great read to support your choices with your Naturopathic Doctor
References: 1. Canadian Diabetes Foundation. The Prevalence and Costs of Diabetes. The Changing faces of Diabetes in Canada. Retrieved July 28, 08 from the Canadian Diabetes Foundation website http://www.dabetes.ca/Section_About/prevlanece.asp 2. Gruber A, Nasser K, Smith R, Sharma JC, Thomson GA. Diabetes prevention: is there more to it than lifestyle changes? Int. J. Clin. Pract. 2006 may; 60 (5): 590-4 3. Advances in Orthomolecular Research: A New Approach to Diabetes: Vol 3, Issue 1 pages 5-7, 2008