More and more people today have problems with their blood sugar levels being too high, which often leads to a diagnosis of type II diabetes. This is a chronic disease that can cause many health problems and early death if left untreated. The good news is that by making changes in your diet and lifestyle, many people have significantly lowered their blood sugar and even gotten rid of diabetes.* Type II diabetics do produce insulin, but it is not used properly in the body, and hence the cells don’t get enough glucose or the nutrients they need and instead the sugar is left in excess in the bloodstream. In fact, often they produce a lot of insulin, but because it is not being properly utilized, and this high insulin level causes inflammation and other problems in the body.
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High blood sugar, fatigue and excess urination are the key symptoms of diabetes. You may also have constant hunger with rapid weight gain, dry, itching skin, obesity, high blood pressure and/or accelerated aging.
Many think that type II diabetes may develop at least in part by eating an excess of sugar over a long period of time. This excess of sugar causes your body to produce lots of insulin to try to take care of the overload, and this seems somehow over time to damage the cell receptors that allow the sugar inside. When the cells are insulin-resistant, and they do not accept much sugar — this sugar is instead seen in excess in the blood. In addition, when you eat white sugar, you are not just eating “empty” calories, but what I call “negative” calories. This is because your body uses up minerals, B vitamins and other nutrients in processing that white sugar which is completely devoid of vitamins and minerals! Too many refined foods, especially too much trans fatty acids, can also be a cause, according to many researchers. In addition, low pH and many vitamin, mineral and other nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to developing this insulin resistance.
Some researchers think that our over exposure to chemicals (especially heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium) in our environment today is contributing to the rising incidence of diabetes. Others think that this disease is linked to infection in the pancreas, which may be viral or parasitic in origin. Like with many diseases, there is probably more than one cause, and the causes may be different in different people.
Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Remedies
There are some studies that show that many vitamins and minerals can help those with blood sugar problems, but some of those that are the most helpful include antioxidants like vitamins B, C and E*. The antioxidants are important because the excess sugar in the blood seems to cause a lot of free radical damage, and the antioxidant vitamins can help counteract that. Vitamins A, B, C and E are all excellent antioxidants, as well as the mineral selenium and ALA/DHLA. Green tea is also high in antioxidants and has shown great promise in helping with blood sugar problems.* The B Complex vitamins are often low in diabetics, perhaps because the excess sugar causes more B to be used up. Vitamin C can also help reduce complications that come with diabetes, like heart disease and blindness*. It can also help to increase insulin tolerance and normalize pancreatic activity.* Vitamin E can also help prevent heart problems*, which are 2 to 4 times more prevalent in diabetics.
Vitamin A is also crucial to diabetics, and vitamin D is needed for the production of insulin*. These are both found in high vitamin cod liver oil or could be taken separately; just make sure and get one with the natural forms of vitamins A and D — some cod liver oils take out the natural one, and add back in the synthetic forms! Cod liver oil has been shown to improve glucose response and other markers of diabetes in several studies*. In fact, some have shown it to be more effective than drugs in controlling excessive blood sugar levels! It has also been shown to lower blood pressure caused by stress-elevated levels of cortisol*. The vitamin A in cod liver oil promotes healing and can protect the retina*, both concerns for diabetics. The vitamin D in cod liver oil promotes the absorption of minerals, like magnesium and calcium, and can therefore reduce blood pressure.* Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and DHLA are vitamin-like enzymes needed for converting glucose into chemical energy, or ATP.
As far as minerals, there is some evidence that chromium can help insulin to work better, and so is very important for those with type II diabetes. Doctors in Italy found that those with type II diabetes that took 450 mg of magnesium per day did a better job of clearing sugar from their bloodstreams and producing more insulin than before they took the magnesium supplements. You can get magnesium from coral calcium in a very absorbable form along with calcium and trace minerals. Vanadium (found in olive oil) is needed to drive the sugar in the blood into the cells, and zinc is a co-factor in the production of insulin. All these minerals are also found in sea vegetables, so if you like them by all means eat them or look for them in an all-natural food based nutritional supplement.
According to Bruce Fife in “The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil”, coconut oil can help to regulate blood sugar. He cites studies that show that coconut oil helps to improve insulin secretion as well as boost the body’s utilization of blood glucose. In addition, those with blood sugar problems often have low energy since the glucose, although in over-abundance in the blood stream, has a hard time getting into the cells. Many have reported having more energy with consumption of virgin coconut oil.
Gymnema is a plant that helps to reduce blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance, and Co-Enzyme Q10 also seems to help with both diabetes and the high blood pressure that often accompanies it.*
- Minerals such as magnesium, zinc, chromium and vanadium
- Coral minerals
- Grasses, greens and nutritional yeast for chromium and other nutrients
- High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil, for omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D
- Virgin Coconut Oil
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C complex
- Vitamin E
- ALA and/or DHLA
- Gymnena and bitter melon extract
- Anti-infective support
Foods high in chromium include whole grains, liver, onions, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, green beans and many types of fruits. You can also get more chromium in your diet by including liver once per week and nutritional yeast every day. However, organic is really better as organic produce tends to contain more nutrients and fewer pesticides.
While healing, many health professionals say it is generally necessary to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet to around 60 grams per day until your blood sugar normalizes. Refined sugars are a big no-no, but even something like whole grain pasta or brown rice should be limited to no more than 1/3 cup per meal (or 15 grams of carbohydrates). You might be able to have a little more if you are getting regular, vigorous exercise. For more info, see “The Schwartzbein Principle” by Diana Schwartzbein, MD. She also recommends small meals and at least 2 snacks per day, each balanced with protein, fats, and a small amount of carbohydrates (7.5 grams). If you don’t reduce carbohydrate and sugar levels in your diet, in our opinion, you will have difficulty healing and you will probably have blood sugar that is too high and causes damage, even if you take supplements.*
We think it is an error to follow a low fat diet if you are diabetic.* Well, we think it’s an error to follow a low fat diet even if you are not diabetic. See the Weston A Price Foundation website for more information. But diabetics especially need to have more fat in their diet to supply much needed nutrients as well as to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into their bloodstream. In fact, unless eaten to excess, fats have not been shown to contribute to diabetes, except trans fatty acids, that cause insulin resistance*. This means you need to stay away from almost all prepared foods today, as most of them contain trans fatty acids.
Your diet should actually be rich in animal foods with lots of fat to provide the vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc you need. Raw butter, cream, whole milk, cheese and eggs from pastured animals provide vitamins A and D, and red meats and shellfish have lots of zinc. Unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is a good source of vanadium.
There is some anecdotal evidence that celery juice, Jerusalem artichokes, onions and spinach can help restore normal blood sugar levels*. Bitter melon can be found in Asian food markets and can also help lower your blood sugar by increasing the body’s ability to produce insulin*.
Note: If you make significant changes in your diet, including food and supplement intake, you want to make sure and have your blood sugar levels retested if you are on any diabetes medication, to see if you need to have it decreased.
Exercise is very important for diabetics. A walk or even some more vigorous type of exercise an hour or two after each meal may be very helpful, as the exercise helps to drive the blood sugar out of the blood into the cells.
Stress also can raise blood sugar levels, and so in addition to all the above including adding more nutrients like vitamins to your diet, it is possible that a change in job or lifestyle may be necessary to keep your blood sugar levels in balance.*
* This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Copyright 2008 Karen Pijuan. This article may be copied only in its entirety and only if all links, including those in the resource box or the about the author section remain intact.
Karen Pijuan is the owner of several health-related websites and has written numerous articles about healthy living, whole food supplements, natural body care and cleaning products, natural weight loss and more. Find out more about what to look for in a truly healthy vitamin, as well as resources for where to find the whole food vitamins she recommends at [http://www.healthy-vitamins-rx.com] A great brand of extra virgin organic coconut oil, Nourishing Planet, can be found with free shipping as of this writing at http://ecoviva.com
A brand new supplement product called Chews for Health combines sea vegetables for minerals, ALA, and other whole food based ingredients with super antioxidant power in a unique, avant-garde chewable delivery system. These Chews 4 Health are not only free of toxic preservatives, but since they are chews, they start to get digested and broken down in the mouth, so absorption in the stomach is more efficient. Find out more by going to the Healthy Vitamins Rx Website and clicking on the resource section. They also have a great marketing program if you are looking for a new product to promote in your home-based or online business.
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