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Natural Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes

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Natural Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes
(Courtesy of John Berardi, Ph.D. and Spencer Nadolsky, D.O, Precision Nutrition)

In Type 2 diabetes, there’s a problem with insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas when blood sugar goes up, usually after a meal. Insulin resistance and/or an inappropriate insulin response can prevent glucose from being properly stored. This leads to chronic high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by:

  • obesity (especially fat in the abdominal cavity)
  • cardiovascular disease
  • systemic inflammation
  • muscles that don’t store nutrients well

What your diagnosis means
Type 2 diabetes dramatically increases the risk of premature death and disability.
For example:

  • At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die of some form of cardiovascular disease, like a heart attack or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindnessamong adults aged 20 to 74 years.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.

 

What you can do about it

Your doctor may have put you on one or more medications to stimulate insulin production, inhibit glucose production, or improve insulin sensitivity. Regardless of what med(s) you’re on, lifestyle changes are the foundation of treating type 2 diabetes.

Diet
Any eating style that helps you lose weight is going to improve your blood sugar level. That’s because when fat in the abdomen and surrounding your organs goes away, insulin resistance starts to go away, too, Dr. Nadolsky says. There are lots of arguments for a moderate-carb Mediterranean-style diet, which research shows can control blood sugar control and reduce waist circumference better than other diets. That’s because the diet:

  • reduces the processed sugars and starches that you’re consuming, helping decrease blood sugar.
  • replaces saturated fat (from foods like butter and red meat) with healthy fats (from fatty fish and olive oil).
  • increases plant intake, which provides phytonutrients that may improve insulin sensitivity and fiber, which slows your sugar absorption.

Exercise
Working out helps control Type 2 diabetes by:

  • improving blood sugars and insulin sensitivity (especially high-intensity interval training);
  • reducing body fat;
  • improving cardiovascular function; and
  • reducing stress.

Work with your doctor on your exercise plan, since diabetes affects how your body metabolizes energy. Considerations include:

  • what type of medication(s);
  • when you take it;
  • your blood sugar levels before exercise (and how your blood sugar responds during exercise);
  • what you’ve eaten before exercising; and
  • what type of exercise you’re doing.

Supplements
Always talk to your doctor before taking supplements for a medical condition.

  • Berberine:This plant alkaloid may help type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Dosage: 500 mg 2-3 times a day.

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