Diabetes is when the level of sugar in your blood is too high. Your body makes insulin to carry sugar from the blood into your cells where it can be burned as fuel.
In Type 1 diabetes (most often in younger people), there is too little insulin. This occurs because the cells making insulin were destroyed by your body when it confused parts of those cells with an outside infection and attacked them. Taking insulin is usually necessary, but we will talk about how to prevent complications of the diabetes. Avoiding both sugar and dehydration (drink water) are critical here. The good news is that there will likely be alternatives to insulin shots and we are even creating the ability to put new insulin creating cells back into your body in the future. For now though, frustrating and annoying as it is, please stay with your medical program of insulin and monitoring your blood sugar. Instead of sugars, use Stevia and use sugar free candies, ice cream, chocolate, etc. Enjoy your pleasure, but since the Atkins diet came through, there are sugar free ways to do it.
In Type 2 diabetes (usually in overweight adults) there is plenty of insulin, but the insulin does not work (called "insulin resistance"). This is triggered by being overweight and genetics. In men, if associated with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, it is called "metabolic syndrome" and is often caused by testosterone deficiency (a blood level under ~ 450 should be addressed). In women, paradoxically, an elevated testosterone can cause diabetes.
When blood sugar goes too high, it spills into the urine, pulling water with it. This causes increased urination and thirst. When this happens in Type 1 diabetes, dehydration can cause your blood sugar to skyrocket and put you in the hospital. Stay hydrated!
Complications of diabetes (heart, vessel and nerve) can often be prevented naturally.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. This restores your own insulin's effectiveness and is often enough to make the diabetes go away—especially if you add regular exercise to your regimen.
- Avoid sweets (Stevia, artificial sweeteners, and sugar-free chocolate with maltitol like the "Russell Stover" sugar-free brand are OK).
- Increase fiber intake.
- In men, if the blood testosterone level is under 450, consider bioidentical testosterone hormone by prescription.
- For Type 2 diabetes, I prefer the above recommendations, and the medication metformin to insulin. Though you may need insulin, it simply causes more weight gain and more insulin resistance in the long term. Because of these, use these other therapies so your doctor can get you off your insulin.
- Take a good multivitamin powder. The vitamins B12, B6 and Inositol can help prevent (or heal) diabetic nerve injury. Addressing the magnesium deficiency routinely caused by the diabetes helps decrease the risk of heart disease (do not take if you have kidney failure without your doctor's OK though). The antioxidants may decrease the damage from the high sugar, and other components may help increase insulin sensitivity. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased diabetes risk as well.
- Take the supplement lipoic acid 300 mg 2x day to prevent and address diabetic nerve pain.
- If you have diabetic nerve injury, add Acetyl-L-Carnitine 2,000 mg a day. Early research suggests that Coenzyme Q10 200 mg a day may help.
- If you develop heart problems, see "Addressing Heart Problems Naturally."
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.