How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes Naturally

Diabetes is described as a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism which is caused by lack or insufficiency of either insulin or insulin resistance, basically leads to hyperglycemia. A person with diabetes causes the body not to properly process glucose, glucose known by another name: blood sugar, the body uses for energy. As an outcome, glucose stays in the blood which causes the blood glucose levels to rise. Over time, the cells of the body are yearning for glucose.  Diabetes mellitus comes in different types and here are two subtypes of diabetes and their characteristics.

Type-I Diabetes. Previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and juvenile onset diabetes, Type I diabetes is known to develop mostly among the young people. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which then causes the pancreas to produce less insulin, or none at all.

Type-II Diabetes. Also called as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and adult-onset diabetes. Type II diabetes shows symptoms as Type I’s, but these usually appear during adulthood. The pancreas can make enough insulin but the cells resist the effects of insulin.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease and it is increasing worldwide and most of them are NIDDM. Diabetes has a major impact mostly in third-world countries, particularly in the Philippines wherein lifestyles of majority of Filipinos revolve around food especially on their daily meals included rice. Other than lifestyle and daily food intake which causes diabetes, it is also because of genetic predisposition. By far the most significant risk factors for the development of diabetes are diet, lifestyle, and obesity.

Signs and Symptoms of DM

  • Frequent urination
  • Always thirsty
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Prolonged healing to cuts and bruises
  • More infections than usual

Treatment – It is important to be vigilant about your diet. Diabetic diet is a serious aspect of controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes. A number of factors must be considered, especially the amount and type of carbohydrates to be consumed also as the amount of fiber, fat, and protein which are contained in foods.

Dietary Recommendation

  • Limiting foods that are high in sugar
  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day
  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat
  • Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day
  • Eating less fat
  • Limiting your use of alcohol
  • Using less salt

Specific Nutrient Supplementation

Chromium

An essential mineral for human nutrition and aids in the normal function of insulin – one hormone that is critical for the normal regulation of blood sugar. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, the Adequate Intake (AI) for chromium for adult women is 20-25 mcg per day and for adult men is 30-35 mcg per day.

Niacin

It is best known in medicine as a treatment for high blood cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia. Niacin is considered a safe and effective treatment for hypercholesterolemia in patients with diabetes, especially at lower doses of 1000-1500 mg/day.

Selenium

A basic component of selenoprotein, an important enzyme in the body. Selenoproteins play a functional role in redox homeostasis, thyroid hormone metabolism, and protection from oxidative stress and inflammation. Selenium was suggested to play a protective role against type II diabetes.

Magnesium

Having enough magnesium can help prevent damage to nerves, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. It is important for the production of energy. Magnesium helps convert excess of glucose in the blood into glycogen. Excess sugar is removed from the blood.

Vitamin B6

B6 helps the body use up proteins and glycogen. It is one of the best diabetic vitamin supplements; Vitamin B6 supports nerve health which is critical in addressing conditions such as diabetic neuropathy.

Vitamin B12

It is a nutrient that helps to keep and ensure that your blood reaches even the smallest capillaries. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 leads to tingling or numbness in patient’s hands and legs, memory loss, mood swings, etc. Diabetic retinopathy or damage caused to eyes by diabetes is the other big diabetic complication that can be addressed by Vitamin B12.

Manganese

Plays an important role as a constituent of multiple enzymes and it also an activator of other enzymes. Manganese supplement has a therapeutic action in the regulation of blood sugar levels by directly assisting the enzymes responsible for glucose metabolism.

Vitamin C

It is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, maintains healthy tissues and it does promote the body’s ability to absorb iron. It helps to lower the levels of sorbitol – sugar that can collect in and damage cells in the eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Vitamin E

It is the body’s premium fat-soluble antioxidant, improves glucose control and protects blood vessels and nerves. Consumption of Vitamin E prevents the oxidation of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the basis for buildup of cholesterol in arteries and this prevents the clogging of arteries.

Zinc

It has antioxidant effects. Zinc can help to reduce oxidative damage and to control lipid metabolism in diabetics which helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Inositol

It works by helping the body to use insulin. Inositol is involved in insulin signaling, they help the cell to take in glucose from the blood. This means that taking insulin lessens insulin resistance, and lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

Potassium

Frequently called an electrolyte because these mineral ions carry impulses including nerve impulses to your cells. It is important to help muscles contractions, regulates your heartbeat and maintains a proper fluid balance in the body.

Biotin

Functions in fatty acid metabolism and the production of glucose, and also helps in regulating blood sugar levels.

Copper

It is an important part of many enzymes and it is necessary for the ability of the body to absorb iron, deactivate free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Other enzymes also help the body to produce the protein collagen and to heal wounds.

Bioflavonoids

May improved and stabilizes the secretion of insulin from pancreatic beta cells.

Furthermore, from the above supplements there are other more supplements, these additional supplements are: Vanadium (vanadyl sulfate), Alpha-lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q10, fish oils, flaxseed oil, and amino acid taurine.

Herbs and Botanicals with Beneficial Effects on Diabetes

Onions and garlic (Allium sativum/Allium cepa)

Both have significant effect on blood sugar-lowering action as well as lowering lipids, restrain platelet aggregation, and reducing blood pressure.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

It can improve insulin sensitivity, as well as lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides especially on type 2 diabetes patients.

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)

It has twice the potassium of bananas and is also rich in Vitamin A and C. It has hypoglycemic properties which lowers blood sugar and enhances cell uptake of glucose.

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa)

It lowers blood sugar levels, facilitates glucose transport into cells and reduces amount of triglycerides. Patients with diabetes can make a tea using its leaves and also effective in weight loss and against obesity. Banaba leaves are known to be able to lower blood sugar due to acid and other phytochemicals.

Silk cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra)

It has hypoglycemic effect. Its bark has been used as a diuretic, and to treat type II diabetes.

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)

It may have a positive effect on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar following meals. The juice of the leaves can used against diabetes and fever.

Indian gooseberry (Eugenia jambolana)

It has hypoglycemic and antioxidant properties. The bark and seed for diabetes can reduce the blood sugar level quickly.

Ponkoranti (Salacia oblonga/Salacia reticulata)

Roots and stems are commonly used for diabetes treatment. Known as an effective anti-diabetic and weight control agent.

Ginseng (Panax Eleutherococcus)

The root of Asian ginseng can be useful in reducing the level of glucose in the blood. It has the ability to enhance the release of insulin from the pancreas and can increase the number of insulin receptors.

Ginko biloba

Enhances peripheral circulation and it is being used to prevent vascular breakdown in diabetics. By supplementing with the standardized extract, it was known to be effective in neuropathy, retinopathy and collagen stabilization.

Exercise Program

Physical activity has an important part for diabetes patients on their treatment plan. Maintaining a regular exercise program has so many benefits which makes it easier to control blood glucose (blood sugar) level. In addition, there are traditional benefits of exercise like:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Better control of weight
  • Increased level of good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Leaner, stronger muscles
  • Stronger bones
  • More energy
  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Stress management

There are simple kinds of exercise to do like aerobic. Patients with diabetes should aim 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise most days of the week. Exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week. Arrange your activity out over at least 3 days during the weekend and try not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercising.

 

Image by Myriams-Fotos / CC BY 2.0