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Take Control of Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes - technically diabetes mellitus -- is a chronic disease characterized by varying degrees of impairment in the body’s ability to move glucose (sugar) out of the blood into the cells, where it is needed as fuel. Nearly 16 million people - one of every 17 people - in the US diabetes and approximately 2,150 new cases are diagnosed each day.
Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) develops when the beta cells of the pancreas (the cells that produce insulin) are destroyed, usually in childhood. Although the exact cause of this destruction is unknown, current theory suggests a hereditary susceptibility to beta cell injury from free radicals, viral infection and/or autoimmune reactions (to bovine albumin peptide, a protein in cow’s milk that can trigger the autoimmune process). Since insulin is the hormone that ushers glucose from the blood into the cells, type 1 diabetics, who can no longer produce insulin, must rely on insulin injections both to prevent a buildup of excess glucose in the bloodstream and to provide needed fuel for cellular activities. Only 10 percent of diabetics are type 1.
Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), the pancreas produces plenty of insulin, but the cells of the body ignore it, so blood levels of both insulin and glucose are abnormally elevated. Obesity, weighing 20 percent or more above the recommended weight for your height and build, is the single most important cause of insulin resistance, if uncorrected, progresses to NIDDM. Approximately 90 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes are obese. A diet and exercise program that restores ideal body weight while increasing muscle mass restores normal sensitivity to insulin and blood sugar control to type 2 diabetics.
The HCB diet
Debate continues about the best diet for diabetics, clinical trials using the HCB (high- complex-carbohydrate, high-fiber) diet have consistently demonstrated significantly better outcomes. HCB has proven better than oral hypoglycemic agents, insulin (when dose needed is less than 30 units per day) and other diets (carbohydrate restriction, high protein and the American Diabetes Association diet, which is high protein, cholesterol and fat).
Developed by James Anderson, M.D., the HCB diet is high in unrefined cereal grains, legumes, root vegetables and low in simple sugars and fats. Soluble fiber promotes blood sugar control by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, increasing sensitivity to insulin and improving glucose uptake.
About 60 percent of type 2 diabetics on the HCB diet no longer need any insulin and the other 40 percent can significantly reduce their dosage. The HCB diet is protective against both cardiovascular and kidney disease, the two most common causes of death in diabetics.
Nutritional supplements for diabetics:
Diabetics, who typically excrete excessive amounts of water-soluble nutrients in their urine, have a greatly increased need for many nutrients. In numerous clinical trials supplementation with key nutrients has shown to improve blood sugar control and to prevent or ameliorate many diabetic complications.
Chromium GTF decreases fasting blood glucose levels, improves glucose tolerance, lowers insulin levels, decreases total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increases good HDL cholesterol levels. Refined sugar, white flour and lack of exercise deplete chromium.
Niacin is an essential component of glucose tolerance factor. In recently diagnosed IDDM, niacin inhibits further beta cell damage, improves beta cell function and lowers or eliminates insulin requirements.
Vitamin C is transported into cells by insulin, so many diabetics lack adequate intracellular vitamin C. This deficiency causes an increased tendency to bleed, poor wound healing, vascular disease, elevated cholesterol and depressed immune function.
Flavonoids promote insulin secretion, inhibit sorbitol accumulation and increase intracellular vitamin C levels. Flavonoid-rich extract such as Bilberry or Grapine w/Proctors.
Biotin [Available in B-Complex] enhances insulin sensitivity and increases the activity of glucokinase, a liver enzyme responsible for the first step in glucose utilization. In studies of type 1 and 2 diabetics, fasting blood sugar levels and glucose control have significantly improved.
Vitamin B-6 inhibits glycosylation of proteins and offers significant protection against one of diabetes most frequent complications, neuropathies, including loss of peripheral nerve function, tingling sensations, numbness, muscle weakness, impaired heart function, impaired bowel and bladder function and impotence.
Vitamin E in high doses inhibits glycosylation and reduces oxidative stress optimizing cell membrane function. Insulin action, glucose tolerance, transport and metabolism are all significantly improved.
Magnesium deficiency is common in diabetics and is associated with retinopathy and heart disease.
Manganese [Herbs rich in manganese are: Alfalfa, Burdock, Dandelion, Eyebright, Eleuthero, Mullein, Red Raspberry, Red clover, Rose hips, Yarrow and Yellow dock). Manganese is a cofactor in many blood sugar control enzyme systems, is commonly deficient in diabetics.
Copper deficiency causes impaired glucose tolerance and increased glycosylation. Found in Liquid Chlorophyll (not capsules).
Zinc is involved in insulin synthesis, secretion and utilization, protects against beta cell destruction and improves wound healing.
Essential fatty acids help prevent diabetic complications. Super Omega-3 and Flaxseed oil protect against hardening of the arteries and enhance insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes. Gamma-linolenic acid found in Super GLA offers significant protection against diabetic neuropathy.
Botanical agents for diabetics:
Golden Seal has been found to potentate insulin and have a hypoglycemic effect which is beneficial for diabetics.
SugarReg contains Fenugreek Seed: Insulin-dependent diabetics given a 50 g. dose of defatted fenugreek seed powder twice daily experienced significant reduction in fasting blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance test results. In addition to marked reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, their 24-hour glucose excretion dropped 54 percent. In non-insulin-dependent diabetics, an after-meal dose of fenugreek significantly reduced after meal glucose levels.
Green tea: Epicatechin, a flavonoid highly concentrated in green tea, has shown to prevent beta cell damage and to regenerate functional beta cells in diabetics.
Garcinia Combination: When an extract of the leaves of this Indian herb was given to type I diabetics, insulin requirements and fasting blood sugar levels dropped and blood sugar control improved. In type 2 diabetics given gymnema extract along with their oral hypoglycemic agents, blood sugar control improved significantly. One-quarter of the study participants were able to discontinue their medication and maintain blood sugar control with gymnema extract alone.
Other herbal combinations beneficial to diabetics: Pro Pancreas is an herbal combination which improves the functioning of the pancreas and lowers blood sugar. Blood Sugar Formula helps strengthen pancreatic function, improves glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity.