Defeat Diabetes Naturally
What Is The #1 Diabetes Risk?
Do You Have Diabetes Now?
Are You At Risk?
What Are You Doing About It?
What Are You Going To Do?
Over A Dozen Supplements Can Help Heal
Or Prevent Diabetes.
TOPIC: Prediabetes & Diabetes
Some 42,000 men participated in the Harvard Physicians Health Study. The diets of those within one subset were defined as either prudent or Western.
Western diet alone increased diabetes risk by 50%; Western diet plus low activity increased risk by 100%. If the men were also overweight, diabetes risk rose to 1100%!
Defeat Diabetes Naturally!
Today* the CDC announced that more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, up from 26 million in 2010 – about 11% in 6 years!!!. Sadly, one person in four isn’t even aware s/he has the disease.
Another 86 million adults – more than one in three – have prediabetes. This is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
This is a worldwide phenomenon. Globally, the numbers of people with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980. Seems millions are eating too much and spending too much time on their behinds.
Overweight is the #1 biggest risk factor for developing diabetes.
Diabetes: The Short Version
Briefly, diabetes is a disease of too much blood sugar (glucose). Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas gland, makes it possible for the cells to uptake glucose from the blood. There are two reasons why glucose accumulates in the blood:
1) The pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or 2) The body isn’t using insulin properly. In both type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, the body has lost its ability to use insulin properly. This condition is called insulin resistance.1
When the cells are unable to respond to insulin, glucose remains in the blood where it is joined by unused insulin. The combination of circulating glucose and insulin is lethal.
Through time it breaks down the blood vessels and the nerves. Eventually, this can result in gum disease, blindness, heart attack and stroke, kidney failure, and nervous system disorders. Slow wound healing, particularly of the feet, is a hallmark of the disease.
Other complications are chronic pain, depression, and autoimmune disorders. Additional abnormalities involve problems with fat and protein metabolism, immune system dysfunction, inflammation, and premature aging.
Although we emphasize taking nutritional supplements that are specific to preventing and healing diabetes and prediabetes in this issue, the techniques and supplements discussed here are also potent against aging. In fact, diabetes progress models rapid aging.
Diabetes: The Short Version
1 Insulin resistance is one of the great unacknowledged reasons for the inability to lose weight. We explore this further in “Nutrition News, Diabesity”.
Supplements To The Rescue!
Let’s begin by stating: There is no substitute for a whole foods diet. This is the first rule of health and the first rule of prevention and healing. Every cell of your body is derived from the food you eat. Why would you choose to build your cells out of junk?
That said, Michael Janson, MD, has stated the case for supplementation perfectly:
“Dietary supplements are among the safest and most effective choices in health care…. almost free of side effects, they are easy to take, they are relatively inexpensive, and they usually enhance many life functions besides the specific condition for which they are taken.”2
The Nutrition News daily supplement recommendations are a high potency, multiple vitamin-mineral formula (containing chromium and selenium3), accompanied by additional vitamins C, E, and D (get at least 1000 IU), vitamin K2, the minerals calcium, magnesium, and strontium, omega-3 oils (preferably from fish or krill), an adaptogenic herb (eg, ashwagandha) and a potent greens powder.
Several of these nutrients are specifically recommended for diabetes. These are chromium, vitamins C and E, magnesium, and fish oil. We discuss them further below.
Supplements To The Rescue!
2 There may be interactions between some supplements and prescription medications.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (of the NIH), people with diabetes need to be under the care of a physician or other health care provider.
They should tell that person about any dietary supplements that they are using or considering.
3 People over 62 at risk for diabetes are advised that supplementing more than 100 mcg of selenium (an essential mineral) can increase their likelihood of developing the disease.
Supplements To The Rescue! Fiber
FIBER: Essential to managing blood sugar levels, the more fiber contained in a meal, the more slowly glucose is released into the bloodstream. This prevents insulin surges and keeps glucose levels low.
However, 34-50 grams of fiber daily are necessary to make a significant effect. At these amounts, fiber can enhance blood sugar control, decrease insulin levels, increase insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, establish bowel regularity, and reduce the number of calories absorbed.
Consider that an apple contains 4 grams of fiber, and likewise a cup of oatmeal. It is obvious that eating 34-50 grams a day is not easy – even with supplementation. In How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine,
Murray and Lyon extol the virtues of a fiber combination called PGXTM. This product is 3-5 times more effective than any single fiber.4
Thus, less is more. Over a period of three weeks, participants took 3 grams of PGX fiber before meals three times a day. At the end of the study, there was a 55.9 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity scores.
Estimate your needs by tracking your normal fiber intake, and supplement that.
Drink plenty of water with any fiber supplement or risk constipation. Add fiber slowly, particularly if you don’t normally eat a lot of it.
Supplement 1-2 grams 10-15 minutes before meals and before bed, and build from there.
Supplements To The Rescue! Fiber
4 PGX is a proprietary blend of fibers. Primarily glucomannan, the most viscous fiber known, the actual blend is 2.5-5 times more viscous than glucomannan alone.
Supplements To The Rescue! Fatty Acids
FATTY ACIDS: The virtues of fish or krill oil supplementation cannot be overstated. Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids become the essential EPA and DHA in the body.
(Essential means health cannot be maintained without them.) EPA and DHA make the cells more responsive to insulin. Without adequate amounts of omega-3, the cells lose their insulin sensitivity as well as their ability to hold water, vital nutrients, and electrolytes. They become vulnerable to free radical damage.
Fish oil outperforms flaxseed oil because the body makes a more efficient conversion of fish oil into EPA and DHA.
Be sure the product you purchase is pharmaceutical grade. This indicates that the product is free of heavy metals and other harmful compounds. (Yes, it’s safer to take supplements than to eat fish.)
In Disease Prevention and Treatment, the editors at the Life Extension Foundation recommend that people with type 2 diabetes ingest sufficient fish oil to equal 500 mg of EPA and 1300 mg of DHA daily. (Besides deep ocean fish, wild game and bison remain rich sources.)
There are two more oils in our supplement protocol: GLA and CLA.
GLA is gamma linolenic acid. Normally it is made by the body from linoleic acid (found in vegetable oils). However, the bodies of people with diabetes and prediabetes do not perform this function well.
GLA is important because it helps to protect both the nervous system and the blood vessels, the two major areas damaged by diabetes. Evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil contain GLA. Borage oil is the richest source. Supplement 900 mg per day.
CLA is conjugated linoleic acid. This fatty acid aids in weight management, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces glucose levels.
Formerly, when cattle were grazed on grass, people received sufficient amounts of CLA from beef, milk, and cheeses.
A suggested daily dose is 3000-4000 mg. Best taken in the a.m. with a sugar-free caffeinated beverage.
AGEs & Antioxidants
AGEs is the acronym for advanced glycosylated end products. These are formed when glucose reacts with protein. This glucose-protein combination speeds up the aging process, robbing the internal organs of their flexibility. The organs function as though they are in a straight jacket. The kidneys are specifically targeted.
AGEs also result in a 50-fold increase in free radical formation. Adding to the bad news, glycosylation can happen even when glucose levels are only raised for short periods. People with diabetes have 2-3 times more AGEs than healthy people.
The A1c blood test reveals the amount of glycosylation in the body. (See sidebar on back.) AGEs are preventable by using natural glycation inhibitors. These include alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine, chromium, vitamin C, benfotiamine, and aspirin. In addition, ruined cells die.
With supplements and lifestyle changes, it is possible for new cells to remain healthy.
AGEs & Antioxidants
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is the supplement most frequently recommended for diabetes.
Although it is produced naturally by the body, supplementation allows lipoic acid to be used therapeutically as a glycation inhibitor and universal antioxidant.
Lipoic acid lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, reduces insulin resistance, and improves insulin sensitivity. Importantly, it reduces levels of AGEs as measured by A1c.
Lipoic acid also increases the body’s ability to burn glucose as energy. When more glucose is used this way, less appears in the bloodstream. Amazingly, studies have shown that lipoic acid appears to deliver glucose into the cells independently of insulin.
Lipoic acid is approved for the prevention and treatment of diabetic neuropathy in Germany.
Although 250-500 mg per day are adequate, people with diabetes may need more. Take it in conjunction with a full spectrum antioxidant formula.
Amounts over 100 mg should be taken with the B vitamin biotin.
AGEs & Antioxidants
Chromium is the quintessential nutrient for glucose metabolism. (All carbohydrate becomes glucose in the body.)
Chromium also regulates glucose levels, decreases insulin resistance, lowers A1c levels, aids weight loss, and inhibits AGEs formation.
When 180 diabetes patients were given either 1000 mcg of chromium or 200 mcg of chromium or a placebo over 4 months, both chromium groups experienced successful results.
Normal A1c levels range from 4-6 percent. People with diabetes need to keep their levels under 7.
The group taking 1000 mcg of chromium recorded 6.6%, and the 200 mcg group, 7.5% while the placebo group was at 8.5%.
Low normal readings of 4% indicate glucose levels of 60 mg per deciliter of blood while 8.5% indicate 195 mg/dL, more than 3 times as much sugar in the blood without chromium supplementation.
The recommended range is 200-1000 mcg per day of chromium polynicotinate, picolinate, or GTF.
AGEs & Antioxidants
Carnosine, an amino acid peptide, is an effective glycosylation inhibitor. Its structure is similar to protein sites usually attacked by glycation agents. Instead, the carnosine receives the attack, sparing the proteins.
Carnosine also helps to dispose of damaged and potentially destructive proteins. Lastly, along with other glycation inhibitors, its protection seems to retard cataract formation.
The usual dosage is 1000 mg per day.
AGEs & Antioxidants
In the arena of blood sugar management, vitamin C is a powerful ally.
It inhibits glycation, is an antioxidant, lowers blood glucose, decreases C-reactive protein levels (an inflammation marker for heart disease and diabetes risk), modulates the inflammatory response to infection, and reduces the risk of diabetic complications.
The editors at Life Extension Foundation report that 1000-3000 mg daily of vitamin C (in divided doses) has been shown to significantly improve the health status of diabetes patients.
AGEs & Antioxidants Benfotiamine
Benfotiamine, a vitamin B1 (thiamin) derivative, inhibits AGEs formation and prevents crosslinking.
In clinical studies of diabetic neuropathy, benfotiamine improved nerve function by 60 percent while reducing pain by nearly 90 percent.
It improved both kidney and retinal function in people with diabetes as well as in healthy subjects.
Unlike some of the glycation inhibitors discussed here, benfotiamine doesn’t lower blood sugar levels. On the other hand, anecdotal reports indicate relief from pain and greatly increased energy levels.
Take from 650 mg to 1300 mg of “benfo” once or twice daily.
The remaining supplements supporting health and defeating diabetes are presented in alphabetical order.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a better absorbed and more active form of carnitine. It improves glucose and A1c levels, increases insulin sensitivity and glucose storage (as glycogen), improves fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and is indicated for relief of cardiomyopathy and diabetic neuropathy. Suggested dosage of ALC is 500-1000 mg twice daily.
Bilberry extract has been shown to reduce glucose levels even when glucose is simultaneously injected. Italian researchers report glucose levels consistently decreased by 26 percent and triglycerides by 39 percent in animal models. A suggested dosage of bilberry is 100-200 mg 3 times per day, standardized to contain 25% anthocyanidins.
Because biotin is produced in the intestines, deficiencies are rare. However, taken therapeutically, biotin increases glucose utilization. It is also recommended when 100 mg or more of alpha lipoic acid are taken. The suggested dosage is 8-16 mg, taken in divided doses. Biotin is water soluble, doesn’t stay in the body, and is nontoxic.
DHEA production tapers off with age. A lack of this hormone appears to be a primary cause of insulin resistance. Lowered DHEA levels are also associated with elevated inflammatory agents. Although available OTC, we propose that this hormone be monitored by a physician specializing in antiaging strategies. Normal recommendations are 50-100 mg for men and 5-25 mg for women.
Magnesium lowers glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity, and calms the nervous system. Among other attributes, it is good for carbohydrate metabolism. Low levels are common in people with noninsulin-dependent type 2 diabetes. Further, when glucose levels are poorly managed, heightened amounts of magnesium are excreted. A diet of magnesium-rich foods (e.g., whole grains and leafy greens) with 500 mg of magnesium is recommended.
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) is a precursor of glutathione, one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. It is especially useful in protecting the beta cells of the pancreas where insulin is produced. Take 600 mg daily on an empty stomach with twice as much vitamin C (to stabilize the NAC breakdown, an antioxidant for the antioxidant).
Silymarin is an antioxidant flavonoid from milk thistle, the great liver revitalizer. This supplement not only improves liver function, it improves blood sugar control and reduces free radical activity. In fact, the regulation of glucose is part of the liver’s job description.
European studies have also shown kidney protection. Milk thistle extract should be standardized to 80 percent silymarin. Studies have used 200-800 mg.
Stevia is a traditional herb used to treat diabetes by the Indians of Paraguay and Brazil.
In studies with mice, Danish researchers found that stevioside enhances insulin secretion in the presence of glucose. There is no recommended amount. Simply make stevia your sweetener of choice.
Vitamin E, another vitamin antioxidant, has some amazing properties for the treatment of diabetes. It enhances insulin sensitivity and prevents complications from inflammation.
Fifteen people with diabetes were given 900 mg (a. 600 IU) of vitamin E per day over 4 months. The phenomenal results were that total glucose removal increased 47 percent while nonoxidative glucose metabolism increased by 63 percent. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
In another study, researchers found that high doses of vitamin E lower C-reactive protein levels. When 1200 IU of natural vitamin E were taken daily for 3 months, CRP was reduced by 30 percent and remained lowered for 2 months after supplementation ceased.
Suggested vitamin E dosage is 400-1200 IU daily or up to 400 IU of complete E.
Vanadyl sulfate has been used as an insulin mimic. At 100 mg per day it has been shown to significantly lower A1c.
What Is A1c?
As differentiated from daily monitoring, the A1c blood test measures how well glucose levels have been managed over several months.
That knowledge is important to all of us. In persons without risk factors, screening should begin at age 45 and be repeated every 3 years.
Those who are overweight or obese (or have other risk factors) should secure this measure annually regardless of age.
A1c is a component of hemoglobin, the pre-dominant protein in red blood cells.
AGEs (advanced glycosylated end products) are formed from excess glucose in the diet binding with A1c.
In a non-diabetic person, blood presents at 4-5 percent glycosylated hemoglobin.
The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) showed that people with diabetes who keep their A1c levels close to 7 percent have a much better chance of delaying or preventing the complications that affect those with higher levels.
On the other hand, the higher the percentage of A1c is over 5 the more quickly our bodies age, and the more at risk we are for the great degenerative lifestyle diseases of our time.
Although the affected A1c molecules are irreversibly damaged, red blood cells have a life span of 90-120 days. This means that within three months of right eating, supplementation, exercise, and sufficient rest, one can begin replacing the old, damaged cells with new, healthy ones.
For everybody, this test provides a marker for how well we are controlling our health.