How to Fight Diabetes Naturally!
Diabetes is one of the biggest public health concerns of our time. Chances are we all know someone personally who has type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM), whether we’re aware of it or not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent, have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes. This can lead to type 2 diabetes if left untreated.
An estimated 382 million people were affected with T2DM in 2013, and that number expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. It’s clear that the disease is not going anywhere and is in fact rising at an alarming speed.
Living with any form of diabetes is not easy.
Currently, type 1 diabetes is not preventable. However, studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting lifestyle changes that include following strict dietary guidelines, monitoring blood sugar levels & regularly exercise.
It can be overwhelming at times, which is why it is important to have support and be on the right protocol to keep it under wraps.
Erica Zelfand, ND from Allergy Research Group tells us about enviromental exposures, gut health and most important....which natural agents are shown to fight diabetes.
She goes on to say, "Diabetes exists within the umbrella condition metabolic syndrome, which describes a cluster of conditions – including high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and high cholesterol levels – each factors that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The risk of metabolic syndrome and its associated conditions is influenced by genetics, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle habits, environmental exposures, and even gut health."
"The disease – and blood sugar levels in general – is also influenced by many different organs and tissues within the body, such as the pancreas, adrenal glands, red blood cells, the liver, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, the intestines, the thyroid gland, and more."
If you are trying to prevent and/or manage diabetes, fortunately, there are some natural products that do just this:
The orange/yellow compound found in such plants as Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), berberine has been shown to lower blood sugar levels through a myriad of mechanisms and body systems.
Berberine also has a positive impact on cholesterol balance, reducing both total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in clinical studies.
Berberine also acts on the gut, reducing intestinal permeability and its multitude of associated adverse consequences including fatty liver disease. Berberine, taken twice daily at 500 mg, has been shown to significantly decrease fasting and postprandial blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), triglycerides, and total and LDL cholesterol.
European Ash Extract:
An extract from the fruit & seeds of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) has also shown great promise in mitigating the effects of diabetes and its associated conditions.
In addition to lowering blood sugar and insulin levels through a number of mechanisms, European ash has also been shown to significantly reduce fatty liver disease in diabetic mice by an impressive 82%, also reducing the liver enzyme markers associated with disease.
European ash supports cardiovascular health, it is rich in flavonoids, phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity and has also been shown in animal models reduce body weight, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
These broad-ranging benefits give European ash a unique pharmacological profile that could very well be useful in managing many aspects of metabolic syndrome beyond just blood sugar.
Chromium & Biotin:
In more than one double-blind study, participants taking chromium as well as biotin (600 mcg and 2 mg daily, respectively) experienced significant improvements not only in HbA1c and fasting glucose levels, but also in their cholesterol profiles.
Yet another study concludes this about chromium and biotin:
“Conceivably, this safe, convenient, nutritional regimen will constitute a definitive therapy for many type II diabetics...”
Chromium also enhances fat metabolism, making it potentially useful in managing other facets of metabolic syndrome.
Although milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is perhaps best known for its liver-supporting effects,there is no shortage of studies demonstrating its efficacy in lowering blood sugar levels, nor is there a lack of papers exploring the mechanisms by which it does so.
Silymarin, the extract of milk thistle seed, and silibinin, the most active compound of silymarin, have also been shown to increase levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant effect is of particular value in the milieu of diabetes, as oxidative stress is particularly implicated in the development of diabetic complications like nerve and kidney damage, eye problems, and even hearing loss.
Silymarin may help not only with blood sugar management but also may improve the other parameters of metabolic syndrome – such as cholesterol levels and liver enzyme markers – and thereby further reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Through its effects on a receptor known as farnesoid X receptor (FXR), milk thistle has also been shown to down-regulate inflammatory pathways and regulate fat & cholesterol balance in the body, thus supporting other elements of metabolic health besides blood sugar.
Resveratrol, a compound abundantly found in red wine, red grapes, and blueberries, is revered for its role in improving various aspects of metabolic syndrome, even promoting anti-aging benefits.
In fact, a meta-analysis of eleven studies comprising a total of 388 subjects showed resveratrol consumption significantly reduced levels of fasting glucose, insulin, HbA1c, and insulin resistance in diabetics, through a number of different proposed mechanisms.
In addition to its effects on blood sugar, resveratrol has also been shown to significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, making it a noteworthy nutrient in its potential to address many aspects of metabolic syndrome.
Herbs from Ancient India:
Traditional botanicals used as a part of Ayurveda, one of the oldest healing systems known to man, also offer support for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
One such herb is gymnema, an herb whose Hindi name (gurmar) means “destroyer of sugar.” Aptly named, this herb temporarily blocks the tongue’s ability to perceive sweet flavors, but its “sugar destroying” properties go deeper than that.
Research shows that this plant contains substances that decrease the absorption of sugar in the intestine and may enhance the growth of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Lagerstroemia speciosa, more commonly known as banaba, is also native to India. By increasing glucose uptake in the cells and inhibiting digestion of starch in the gut, the corosolic acid found in banaba has been shown to not only lower fasting blood sugar levels, but also to lower HbA1c and reduce the risk of diabetes-associated kidney disease.
All Roads Lead to Balance...
Whereas pharmaceutical medications tend to isolate just one or two mechanisms of benefit, herbal and nutritional therapies often have the advantage of supporting several different pathways and body systems simultaneously.
Many natural therapies not only exert noteworthy blood sugar-lowering effects, but also potentially may lower cholesterol, improve the function of the liver, and regulate blood pressure.
Source: Allergy Research Group
Image Source : Pomerene Hospital