How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
What is Diabetes?
For most of my medical career, I was taught that type 2 diabetes was incurable. We were not taught any relevance in diet other than the standard “avoid sugar.” But diet cokes, Splenda, and all “lite” products were acceptable. Of course when Monsanto sponsors the American academy of pediatrics, it’s no surprise that their products would also be peddled in adult hospitals as well. No wonder type 2 diabetics was never cured in my world back then! We, as fledgling physicians, were given no education about real food vs food like products and chemicals. It turns out that type 2 diabetes can most definitely be reversed if the patient is given the right tools.
So what is type 1 versus type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by a virus or environmental toxin that attacks the immune system. It’s usual onset is in childhood.
Insulin is responsible for taking the sugar in the blood into the cells for processing for energy. These type 1 patients are dependent on insulin to function as their pancreas cannot produce any of this vital hormone.
Type 2 diabetes is a combination of mostly diet, and approximately 20-30% genetics. It’s onset is usually later in life after years of a poor diet leading to genetic changes. Most of these patients are overweight and have too much insulin circulating in their bodies. When your body is consistently exposed to sugar or processed carbs, there will be insulin spikes, leading to resistance of the insulin receptors. When this occurs, the body does not do a good job at productively bringing sugar inside the cells for processing. The sugar stays inside the bloodstream where it wreaks havoc on the body.
Remember with natural supplementation of vitamins and herbs as well as the correct diet and exercise plan, type 2 diabetics can be cured. Type 1 diabetics can drastically improve their blood sugar levels, but will always need insulin. Keep in mind that many consequences of diabetes are due to loss of nutrients in the urine rather than the disease itself. As blood sugar levels increase, the sugar is eventually spilled out into the urine, creating a diuretic effect which pulls water soluble vitamins with it by osmosis. Many diabetics suffer due to loss of vital nutrients. Now that we’ve had a quick overview of diabetes lets get over some special herbs and supplements that are extremely beneficial for diabetes.
One of my favorite herbs, this compound can come from goldenseal, Oregon grape root or barberry. Not only is it an excellent parasite killer, but it outperforms metformin, the mainstay drug of diabetes treatment, in many studies. HgbA1C levels decrease by 20%. All of my diabetic patients are prescribed berberine and the good news is that it also helps lower bad cholesterol. In studies, just like insulin, berberine activated the same biochemical pathway (protein kinase phosphorylation activation of GLUT-4) that signals cells to take up more sugar. The greater the amount of berberine they exposed the cells to, the more sugar they took up. It should be taken at doses of 500 mg three times a day and does replace Metformin for type 2 diabetics.
2. Alpha lipoic acid:
This is one of the best IVs to give diabetic patients. It helps to reverse peripheral neuropathy, or nerve pain from diabetes by reducing free radicals and oxidative damage. ALA also increases insulin sensitivity and decreases blood sugar levels. It also has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and glutathione, the master antioxidant. Since diabetics lose these vital nutrients in the urine, it is necessary to have ALA around to help replenish them.
ALA is also an excellent modifier of gene expression to reduce inflammation, is a heavy metal chelator and enhances insulin’s use in the body.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree and has been considered a medicinal plant in ancient cultures. But does it work for diabetes and blood sugar control? In one study, volunteers took 1-6 grams of cinnamon daily and found that it cut blood sugars by 24%! Wow. Another study in 2009 found that a 500mg capsule of cinnamon taken twice a day for 90 days improved hemoglobin A1C levels in people with poorly controlled diabetes. Hemoglobin A1C is a snapshot of the past 3 months of average blood sugars.
Cinnamon has other benefits as well, including lowering LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol.
Look for the higher quality cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon rather than the more popular, cassia cinnamon. Cassia is usually found in restaurants and coffee shops, and contains coumarin, which some people may be sensitive to in larger quantities.
4. Gymnema Sylvestre:
Gymnema is a plant that grows in the dry forests of India. It is often used in holistic practices and ancient Ayurveda to treat high blood sugars. This climbing plant’s leaves contain gymnemic acids, which have been shown to slow the transport of glucose from the intestines into the bloodstream. Gymnema is interesting as it works in a novel way. On top of slowing glucose absorption, it is thought to block the taste of sweetness. It can even naturally stimulates insulin release from the pancreas.
In one study, 22 patients with type 2 diabetes were given oral diabetic medicines as well as Gymnema. These volunteers had significant reductions in blood sugar values and hemoglobin A1c. At the end of the study, many of the subjects were able to reduce their pharmaceutical drug dosages.
4. Bitter Melon
Bitter melon is also known as bitter gourd and is both a vegetable and fruit that is used as medicine too. Its native habitat includes South America, Asia, some of Africa and the Caribbean. Bitter melon contains 3 special substances with anti diabetic activity including charantin, vicine and polypeptide-p. These ingredients form a potent cocktail that lowers blood glucose and acts as an insulin substitute. Bitter melon also contains lectin which suppresses appetite.
In 2011 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, research showed that bitter melon at a dose of 2000mg per day reduced blood sugar. There is a small chance of lowering blood sugar too much, known as hypoglycemia, however the chance is still smaller than with the standard type 2 diabetes drug, Metformin.
5. Vanadyl Sulfate:
Vanadyl sulfate is a trace mineral that works like insulin to increase the amount of glucose and amino acids driven into the muscle cells. There are side effects and concerns with long term use of vanadyl (ex increasing triglycerides in some patients) so my recommendation would be to not use it for more than 3 months, while simultaneously making lifestyle changes. It does, however, show promise. In the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2001, vanadyl sulfate was shown to reduce blood sugar, improve liver and muscle insulin sensitivity, and significantly improve glycemic control.
For example, in one study, patients who received 50mg of vanadyl sulfate twice a day for four weeks experienced a 20% reduction in fasting plasma blood sugar!
Chromium is a metallic element that is essential for metabolic processes regulating blood sugar as well as in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Humans only need very small amounts but deficiencies are common. Chromium also helps transport glucose into the cell in conjunction with insulin. In fact, deficiencies have been linked to the development of glucose intolerance, which unfortunately is the beginning of type 2 diabetes.
Up to 50% of the population is thought to be chromium deficient. This is because it is difficult to absorb from food. The problem compounds for the elderly who have even more absorption difficulties with aging. Stripped soil and processed foods also make it difficult to have the proper stores.
Adults should take anywhere from 25mcg to 40mcg per day depending on age, gender and special circumstances.
More to Consider….
Of course none of these herbs and supplements alone can reverse diabetes without a lifestyle change to go with them. Mini fasts done until noon every day as well as walking 15-20 minutes immediately after meals helps blood sugar levels in most diabetics. This change alone is enough for many diabetics to wean off their insulin. Another key factor is to read labels and check ingredients. Count chemicals rather than calories. Manmade synthetics in a lab are unnatural for the body to break down and this is linked to fatty liver and has a role in clogging our lymphatic system. Stay away from gluten, processed carbs, breads, pastas and refined sugar which spike insulin levels in a yo yo fashion, leading to resistance of insulin receptors. Exercise cannot be stressed enough.
You don’t have to have type 2 diabetes! This disease can be cured and reversed. Please visit your holistic or functional medicine doctor today for a plan to change your life.
You are your own best doctor