Diabetes class is in session
Diabetes is the number one chronic disease facing our nation and world today. Today 65% of Americans are overweight and the rest of the world is catching up fast. Between 1983 and 2008 there was a 7x increase in the prevalence of diabetes.
It is projected that by the year 2026, 1 in 3 people will have diabetes. According to those reports and a diabetics cost to our society, it is estimated that diabetes will take the entire budget of our healthcare system and it will still be insufficient to cover all the costs to treat diabetics. In short, there will not be enough money left over for anything other that diabetes treatment. Pretty sad and dismal prediction.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Some of the most common side effects that people associate with diabetes include being thirsty, numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, increased urination and having to take your blood sugar daily.
Most people are not aware of many of the other possible side effects one can experience as a result of having diabetes. Not to mention the side effects from taking insulin, metformin or whatever medication they are prescribing at the time. Diabetes will also lead to pancreas malfunction due to the pancreas being over stimulated to produce insulin to make up the the deficiency that is perceived. Loss of consciousness and lack of concentration are common signs or symptoms of diabetes due to the lack of sugar being able to be transported across the blood brain barrier to feed the brain.
Heart disease, damaged blood vessels, high blood pressure, dry cracked skin, stroke, neuropathy, and increased risk or prevalence of bacterial, fungal and yeast infections are common occurrences in those dealing with diabetes or pre diabetes (metabolic syndrome).
While not an all inclusive list by any means, you can get an idea of why the cost of being diabetic is so expensive. Keep in mind that these signs and symptoms don’t even take into account the medication you most likely will be on for the side effects of the meds you are already on. And the cycle continues.
The general levels that I go by are:
Normal is less than or equal to 5.6
Pre-diabetic (metabolic syndrome) is 5.7 - 6.4
Diabetic is equal to greater than 6.5
So what actually causes diabetes?
Hopefully, you're a little scared about being pre diabetic or diabetic now. If so, I've done part of my job. While not really a simple question to answer, I can give you some insight into some of the most common issues that are related to developing diabetes. As many of my patients know it's not always as simple as being overweight and not eating right. In my experience, it is actually a small percentage of patients that being overweight is the sole cause of being diabetic or having metabolic syndrome.
I often get patients in my office that are having some weird signs and symptoms and they “look” as if they are in perfectly healthy shape. But when we do some simple lab testing the come back as being pre diabetic or diabetic and can’t really understand how they could have developed diabetes.
As a side note, I'd like to explain that patients develop diabetes. They don’t catch it. Almost 100% of the time diabetes is an entirely preventable disease or condition. We develop diabetes often in response to one of the following reasons. In no particular order.
Common causes Leading to Diabetes
- Impaired Cell signaling and gene transcription
- Enzymatic dysfunction
- Membrane and cellular dysfunction
- Oxidative stress
- Mitodondrial dysfunction
- HPATG (Hypo-Pituitary-Adrenothyrogonadal) Axis dysfunction
- Biotransformation / Environmental Toxins
- Assimilation / Gut Dysfunction
How to treat Diabetes Naturally and effectively
while spending less money
Diabetes is one of the most expensive diseases to treat medically yet often one of the cheapest conditions to treat naturally. The way in which integrative functional medicine approaches diabetes it to address the entire person and not just a single set of symptoms. High blood sugar is a symptom of insulin resistance or lack of insulin production.
Our job is to determine the true cause of why your body is dysfunctioning. We doe this through a thorough history, physical examination, and very comprehensive lab testing. The lab testing will help us in rooting out the cause of your diabetes. Whether it is from excess weight, dyfunctioning enzymes within the body that are involved in insulin production and cell sensitization, inflammation reducing the effectiveness of insulin, pancreatic burnout due to years of over production, HPATG axis dysfunction (hormone system of the body), increased cortisol levels resulting in decreased sensitivity of the body to insulin or maybe you have a vitamin deficiency that is preventing assimilation, absorbtion or utilization of certain nutrients, envymes, mitochondria, etc.
I recently had a late thirty something male(lets call him J), that had been in shape all his life. He had recently gotten married and they were thinking about having children but he was feeling run down, tired and just generally fatigued and ill. This patient was by no means overweight and he still managed to get in 3-4 hours of exercise per week. He just couldn’t figure out what was going on.
J came into my office and we went over his history in great detail. During the course of the history I had a couple inclinations of what was going on with J. I sent him for lab testing and made sure they tested his HA1C levels. When we got the results J was astounded. His HA1C levels were 6.5. Clearly in the diabetic range. I had remembered that J reported to me that he and his wife had just bought a house and were doing a lot of work on it. He said the house “was a fixer”.
One of the first things that jumped to the front of my mind were toxins. J reported that the yard was a mess and that he had been spraying Roundup all over the yard to kill the thousands of weeds. Little did J know that round up contains Gylyphosate. Glyphosate is terrible in MANY ways (I'll go over that in one of my blogs) but in J’s case it was destroying the beneficial bacteria in his intestines. Without that beneficial bacteria we cannot produce the essential amino acid Tryptophan. Without Tryptophan we can not make serotonin or insulin. Thus, J got diabetes.
In short, we got rid of all the toxins in J’s environment, most notably the round up. We put him on an 8 week detox program, and viola! J no longer has diabetes, now has a little boy and is enjoying life like it was meant to be enjoyed.
Generally I don’t recommend trying to takle major health problems on your own. A professional athlete always has a coach. Taking the wrong course of action can have detrimental effects. However, with diabetes, this is one time that an uncomplicated case can respond very well to some simple supplements.
Some supplements that can help with managing diabetes
Keep in mind the effectiveness will be limited if there is another underlying condition contributing to the diabetes
- Chromium - Works with insulin to transport glucose into the cells so that the body can utilize the sugar.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid(ALA) - This act as an antioxidant a well as working to increase the uptake of glucose into the cells as well as inhibiting the action of glycosylation.
- B vitamins - Often with diabetic there is nerve damage that can occur. This is what often lead to the decrease in sensation associated with diabetes. B vitamins help maintain health of the nerves
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C act to lower sorbitol levels in the blood. excessive sorbitol in the body can lead to damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
- Vitamin D - This can be used to boost antimicrobial peptides resulting in a decrease in the occurrence of infections.
- Vitamin E - This is a fat soluble vitamin. If you take this vitamin make sure it is only in its natural form. you can overdose on vitamin E. It works as an antioxidant, improves glucose control, protects the nerves and blood vessels, as well as protect against diabetic cataracts and atherosclerosis.
- Magnesium - This is essential for energy production and protein synthesis. Once the glucose is in the cells magnesium assists in mitochondria function (energy production).
- Vanadium - This basically acts as an insulin copycat helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Berberine - Acts as a regulator in metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity so less insulin produces a greater effect, and is has been shown to reduce glucose production.
- Omega 3 fatty acids - although not directly involved in blood sugar metabolism or insulin sensitivity, Omega 3 is great for heart health with is one of the most common co-morbidities associated with diabetes.
- Ginseng - Taken before a meal it has shown to lead to lower post prandial (meal) blood sugar levels.
- Bitter Melon - Studies show that bitter melon can has glucose lowering properties.
- Cinnamon - Although there are only limited studies supporting cinnamon in diabetes therapy, there are some that indicate it can help improve blood sugar levels.
- Green Tea - The active ingredient in green tea is epigallocatachin gallate (EGCG). This has been shown to be helpful for diabetes by improving blood glucose level and increasing sensitivity to insulin)
- Gymnema sylvestre - A Hindi plant that translates as “sugar destroyer”. The studies are not very plentiful for this particular supplement but is may be effective. It appears to work by assisting the cell use glucose and by stimulating the body to produce more insulin(although this may not be a good solution long term).
So there you have it. A long list of supplements that you can take to help diabetes. It can be a little overwhelming. I will list a few specific products below that you can try as a self treatment. Sometimes a little supplementation is all you need.
I recommend opening an account through health wave (cheaper than amazon).
You can also purchase them through amazon.
This information is by no means a substitute for professional medical help. If need be consult a doctor prior to commencing any treatment program.
If you have questions or need further evaluation I recommend getting evaluated by myself (I do offer Phone appointments for those that live far)
or another Functional Medicine Physician (IFM Trained).
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Dr. Craig Mortensen
151 N. Kraemer Blvd., #115
Placentia, CA 92870
Toll Free 1-(833) Dr-Craig (372-7244)