There are a lot of natural treatments for diabetes. Instead of arbitrarily listing listing them all off, I want to give you the concepts and mechanisms behind how these natural diabetes treatments work. To do this we will also expand a little bit on the concepts from the last post; Can You Get Cured Diabetes?
We will go into more detail so you can how these treatments fit into the broader concept of improving cellular function. With this you have more context for how these treatments are working. Specifically, we will look at the role of toxins, the role of digestion, the role of inflammation, diet, herbs, and home blood glucose monitoring. It is also important to discuss how this works together and how you can use these to improve your blood sugar control.
Natural Treatment For Diabetes Toxicity
Now, if you read the last blog article, you should understand at least in principal how you can "cure your diabetes." In that post, we discussed this idea of improving cellular function. The idea of improving cellular function to improving blood sugar control and diabetes is a newer concept but also has significant evidence to support it.
Toxins are all around us. They are in the air, in food that we eat, in our homes, in the water we drink, and sometimes they are in our workplace. As a result of all these toxins, our cells and liver can and do have altered function. That's not to say that everyone is going have this problem. It really comes down to your burden for toxins. If you have a lot or are more genetically susceptible to the toxins you are exposed to, then you may have more of a problem there.
Regardless of susceptibility, our livers do have to deal with these toxins as a result of exposure. This can alter the efficiency of your liver to process glucose (blood sugar). Typically your liver acts as a reserve for a lot of the stored glucose in your body, and that stored glucose is called glycogen. If your liver is inflamed or there are lots of toxins, it may have limited ability to store those carbohydrates. This may result in higher blood sugar levels.
In addition, under normal circumstances all the tissues (specifically muscles) in your body take up and store glucose. Muscle tissue are where a lot of the carbohydrates / glucose are stored and also processed into energy. The metabolism in those muscles cells can get altered or deranged from increased toxins just like the liver.
That can also lead to a backing up of the blood sugar into your bloodstream. When the pancreas detects higher blood glucose, it will increase your insulin. That increased insulin will drive more glucose into, not only the muscles, but also the liver and other tissues. This is known as insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the muscles and the liver import less glucose under "normal" insulin levels leading to higher insulin production.
When your body produces more insulin, that higher insulin causes your body to grow. Insulin is anabolic hormone and cause all tissues to grow including fat tissue. The fat in the abdomen is more sensitive to insulin. The muscle and other cells do respond to the higher insulin levels and accept more blood glucose, but it creates a feed-forward loop. For instance, the increased adipose tissue can further reduce the muscles ability to take up glucose through other signaling.
These are some of the cellular processes behind diabetes and insulin resistance. About now you might be asking, how do I reverse this or what can I do?
Well, the first thing you want to do is find out if you actually are having problems with this increased toxic burden. You can do that from a very simple test that almost everybody gets done on a standard blood test. These are liver enzyme tests. These are tests like ALT, AST, and GGT but sometimes they will skip the GGT. Sometimes just one of these will be high, sometimes all of them will be high. This is a good place to start. So you look at these tests. If any are high ask yourself; where are my exposures coming from? Even if one of them is high, that could be contributing to your elevated blood sugar levels. Step back and ask, where could these toxins be coming from? What are the toxins around me?
The test can act like a compass to help you narrow down what you should be doing to improve your numbers. There are other advanced toxicity screenings that can be done as well for pesticides, mycotoxins, bacterial toxins, and heavy metals. Your doctor should be able to work with you to help narrow down what the problem is, and help your body eliminate said toxins. Not all doctors are knowledgeable about this, however.
There are many different kinds of liver support out there. Milk thistle is one of the most common and least likely to cause any problems or side effects. I don't think there's any reported side effects ever from milk thistle. You just need to make sure you are taking a good (non-contaminated) source of that milk thistle.
Here is one to consider Milk Thistle (Amazon)
Milk thistle (Store)
Natural Treatments for Diabetes with Digestion
Digestion is another big topic with natural treatments for diabetes and improving cellular function. Problems in your digestive tract can cause the same issues as the toxins themselves. The reason is, in some cases your digestive tract is a source of the toxic burden. The main point is if you have digestive symptoms, its a good indicator that you should correct it to help your blood sugar.
When it comes to toxins from the digestive tract, they are mainly coming from a process called autointoxication. The bugs in your digestive tract like bacteria and yeast produce toxins as waste materials when they consume food. Under normal circumstances this does not result in much of those toxins getting into your blood stream. However when there is overgrowth of bacteria, yeast or just an imbalance of the microbiome, this can occur. This problem leads to increased production of toxins inside your digestive tract. When they get into your bloodstream and circulate throughout the body, it leads to more burden on the liver and other cells to clear the toxins (as described above).
The specifics on what you should do about this are a little too narrow for this post. The main point is to look for this as a potential problem, as it can be really important for some people. If you have digestive symptoms, even if they are mild, you should dig in deeper.
Natural treatment for Diabetes: Fix Inflammation
Another thing to get tested and monitor is inflammation. Any source of inflammation in your body, whatever the cause, is limiting your ability to deal with the glucose. When you eat food it gets processed in your body and then broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. These smaller peices are then shuttled into your mitochondria where they are turned into fuel. Sometimes it’s fat and sometimes its carbs that get turned into fuel. During the process of fuel production, there is a lot of oxidative stress and free radicals that are produced. When left unchecked these free radicals and can lead to inflammation. Antioxidants are what keep these in check. The balance between free radicals and antioxidants is referred to as Redox.
Sometimes inflammation comes from, the digestive and toxin problems we discussed above. Other times it is merely a matter of balancing your redox state or reducing your free radical burden.
All three of these things are interrelated. High amounts of toxins and digestive problems tend to lead to depletion of your antioxidant reserves. So when we are looking for natural treatment for diabetes these are three of the key areas to look at.
I mentioned milk thistle above which can also be used as an antioxidant and it helps with toxic burden. It does this through up regulation of glutathione. Most antioxidants also can help with toxin removal. When consuming antioxidants you also need to take into consideration the carbohydrates in these antioxidants. If you're getting all your antioxidants from juice, for instance, that's going to add to the burden of carbohydrate in your body. So keep that in mind.
For the Best Natural Treatments Know Your Numbers
A lot of times when people think about natural treatments for diabetes the first thing they ask is; what herb or supplement can I take. You might then do an internet search and see that X, Y, or Z vitamin or herb will help your diabetes. What you should ask yourself when you look at these is;
- How is this going to improve my cellular function?
- Does it mention anything about how it works and does it make sense in the context of what was mentioned above?
- Does it actually help your numbers improve?
For #3 if you are not checking your numbers, then it will be a lot harder to the track if it is or is not helping. Using a self-testing glucose monitor is a really good idea if you are introducing new things or even changing your diet. I highly recommend tracking your blood sugar on a regular basis and watching for trends and changes over time. If you are not doing this, and only checking your A1C every three months or a few times a year, it will limit your ability to track result to any one supplement or dietary change.
Sometimes numbers can change fairly quickly depending on what you are doing with diet or supplements. Other times it take months. Use your morning fasting glucose to spot trend in what you are doing.
Hopefully this information gives you a better way to understand and think about what natural treatments for diabetes to use. If you have diabetes you should be following a doctor and getting regular blood tests (and not just doing these things on your own). These strategies can work in conjunction or aside from conventional treatments. Use these strategies to make the most sense of which treatments are beneficial for you in conjunction with your doctor.
If you are interested in getting a customized natural treatment for diabetes from one of our doctors, click on the link below to get started.