Diabetes & The Blood Sugar Struggle

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The health care costs of a diabetic are approximately 2.3 times greater than someone without. Considering that the projection of people with diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) is estimated to increase from 1 in 10 adults, where we are now, to 1 in 3 adults by 2050 … if we continue on the path we are, we won’t be able to afford the extravagant health care costs that come with the rising of this silent epidemic.

And if the money factor doesn’t touch you, maybe this will: Diabetes can lead to the loss of your toes, feet and legs by amputation and even cause Alzheimer’s disease. You probably cherish the memories you have made and are still making. Can you imagine if someone (or should I say SOMETHING) came and Men In Black-ed you and took all that joy out of your life? Diabetes may not seem like a big deal, but the truth is … IT IS. So let’s get real and raw and dive right in.

THE FACTS

The truth is, diabetes is an epidemic … but it is not really a disease.  Mike Adams, also known as The Health Ranger says it best … “Diabetes is a label given to a pattern of symptoms that naturally follow lifestyle choices.”

For instance, if you run up a hill, your body will probably respond to the demand by increasing your heart rate and your breathing changes to adapt to the choice you made to run up that hill. We would never call that a disease … it is a pattern of symptoms. A natural, healthy pattern of symptoms in all actuality. 

Diabetes is no different.  Were we really meant to consume 150lb of added sugar per year (on average)? Absolutely not.  Our body responds to our choices and adapts to the demands we place upon our bodies to metabolize excessive amounts of a sugar and carbohydrates, lack of adequate physical activity, and daily exposure to a number of toxins.  The intelligent adaptive responses that happen following long term consumption of mass amounts of sugar, teamed with a lack of appropriate physical activity, are exactly what defines diabetes. 

Consuming foods that raise your blood sugar will simultaneously require more movement in order for your cells to burn all the excess glucose.  So if you love sugar-filled treats and are a non-fibrous carbohydrate junkie, you better love intense physical activity just as much or you can almost guarantee that you will develop these blood sugar problems we are talking about here.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition that disrupts all aspects of human physiology and is linked to 12 fatal cancers.  It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and virtually every other disease.  It can create hormonal changes and problems as excess sugar binds to proteins (FYI ... hormones are proteins), making your sex drive tank, your thyroid problems flourish, and menopause symptoms rage. 

So here’s the good news

it doesn’t cause permanent damage until the end stages, so diabetes is actually able to be reversed when caught early enough and with the right plan of action in place.  Unfortunately, the medications prescribed for diabetes never reverses the condition.  Reversal (and prevention) comes from lifestyle and nutritional changes. 

 

THE SILENT EPIDEMIC

Diabetes is called The Silent Epidemic because the majority of patients have no idea they have elevated levels of sugar (glucose) in their blood. Elevated blood sugar is the stepping stone to diabetes, and even people with prediabetes face the same complications as someone with the full blown condition. If you aren't experiencing the full blown symptoms of insatiable hunger and thirst, unusually frequent urination, exhaustion and fatigue (especially after meals), weight gain or weight loss (without trying), dry or itchy skin, or losing feeling in the hands and feet ..... you might still have things to worry about.

So ... what do you have to worry about?

HEART DISEASE
IMPAIRED VISION
SLOW WOUND HEALING
KIDNEY DISEASE
CHRONIC INFECTIONS
DEMENTIA
And ladies … if you develop diabetes in your reproductive years or experience gestational diabetes, your baby won’t develop optimally and their risk of birth defects sky rockets. Not to mention their risk of developing diabetes, too. I think now is the perfect time to introduce you to the different types of diabetes.

TYPES OF DIABETES

GESTATIONAL DIABETES

Occurs during pregnancy, even without any history of diabetes, and is a risk factor for future type 2 diabetes in both mother and child. Also important to note, what a mother ate (or didn't eat) during pregnancy makes a difference in her child's potential development of diabetes, too.

TYPE 1

Often diagnosed in children, Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Injections of insulin are prescribed.

TYPE 1.5

Also called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adulthood (LADA), is diagnosed in the presence of autoantibodies in the blood. This is commonly misdiagnosed as Type 2 but treatment is much different.

TYPE 2

Insulin resistance is the most common form of diabetes, which occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells cannot absorb and utilize the insulin available.

TYPE 3

Also known as “brain diabetes”, results from protein plaque (build-up) that accumulates in the brain and causes memory loss, improper memory creation, and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research now shows that blood sugar in prediabetes range results in measurable shrinkage of the brain's hippocampus and the amygdala,

areas involved in memory and cognitive skills. Did you know that the size of diabetic’s brain shrinks twice as fast every year compared to a non-diabetic?

UNDERSTANDING INSULIN

and Insulin Resistance

When you consume a meal full of sugar and carbs, your pancreas must respond by producing the hormone insulin.  Its job is to deliver sugar to every cell of your body.  After all, glucose is your body's form of energy ... that's why every type of food you eat will eventually be converted into glucose so that you stay well fueled.  But keep in mind that not all fuel burns the same. 

Like the busy streets of New York flooded with taxis, our cells begin to build up resistance to the chaos of too much insulin in the blood.  Reaching cellular insulin resistance is when when the official diagnosis of diabetes is handed out.  When the cells stop communicating with insulin, a rapid decline in health occurs. 

You see, every cell in your body a receptor for insulin ... much like how every home in your neighborhood as a front door.  Insulin must bind to the receptor on the cell in order to unlock the metabolic processes necessary to metabolize and use glucose properly.  Due to the high degree of inflammation associated with blood sugar dysfunction, insulin isn't able to "fit into the receptor" and can't open the door to the inside world.  In this analogy ... your home is the cell, the lock on the door is the receptor, and insulin is the key that unlocks it all and allows the door to be opened, or the cellular process to be executed.  In insulin resistance, the doors stop opening and sugar can no longer enter the cell. Then what?

If sugar cannot enter into their homes and cells, it will remain in the bloodstream without being absorbed and leads to high levels of glucose in the blood ... even when you haven't eaten.   Large amounts of sugar in the blood are dangerous long term, so your body has a very intelligent adaptive process to try to store it.  Excess sugar is converted into circulating fats called TRIGLYCERIDES.  This conversion process demands a lot of energy, which explains why people with insulin resistance feel fatigue following a meal.

If your pancreas is continuously overworked to keep up with the insulin demand, eventually it will call in sick, too.  Or worse, quit all together.  When your pancreas quits, you become insulin dependent and require injections to stay alive.  Fun, right?

CELLULAR TOXICITY

and Metabolic Syndrome

One very common cause for a cell losing its responsiveness to insulin actually comes from exposure to toxins, especially heavy metals.  Certain toxins will be able to bind to the receptor site, but it's the wrong key to open the door.  Instead of unlocking the door, the key stays jammed into the hole and won't allow the correct key to be inserted.  When certain toxins bind to the insulin receptor on your cell, chromium is not able to bind to unlock the right processes that need to happen.  This is why chromium is one of the most common nutritional supplements recommended for diabetics!  That's a great first step ... but there is still work to be done to regain access to all those lost doors. 

So what happens over time when the doors remain closed?  It can send all the body’s systems — neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, digestive and immune — out of balance, making many hormone problems significantly worse (like menopause, for example).  So how do you know if this is happening to you?  When you develop at least 3 of the following metabolic problems, you qualify for the label of Metabolic Syndrome. 

 

HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES
HIGH BLOOD SUGAR
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
LOW HDL CHOLESTEROL
ABOVE-AVERAGE WAISTLINE

The loss of function at the cellular level is what links Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes together.  As cell signaling begins to fail, normal metabolic processes begin to negatively adapt to the unhealthy environment, a process that does not happen overnight and takes time to develop.  Metabolic Syndrome is actually recognized as a precursor to full-blown diabetes.  So if you have a few of the symptoms above, watch out.

 

TESTING

While different testing is needed for different levels of blood sugar imbalances, a general assessment of how your body is metabolizing the sugar in your current state is easy and inexpensive (and often covered by insurance). For a basic evaluation you will need to have a Standard Metabolic Panel (that includes fasting glucose), as well as fasting levels of Insulin, Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c), and a Lipid Panel. SpectraCell offers a PreDiabetes Test with these parameters plus a few. In an optimal state, fasting insulin levels should be close to 5 and blood sugar levels close to 80. An elevated HgbA1c indicates that the sugar you are consuming cannot get into the cell properly and is now becoming oxidized (like rust on a car). The higher the HbA1C, the faster you are aging on a cellular level. When HgbA1c and insulin levels go up, you are in a state of inflammation that is likely to cause destruction to tissues like your eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels. Yikes.
MicroNutrient Testing
by SPECTRACELL
CASH PRICING

More advanced and comprehensive testing that is available can help pinpoint nutrient deficiencies like: chromium, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin D, alpha-lipoic-acid and also assesses your B vitamin levels, all of which play a vital role in metabolizing sugar and keeping the cell sensitive to insulin. This is an amazing tool that helps us tremendously in customizing care.

Diabetes Autoimmune Assessment
by CYREX
INSURANCE COVERAGE

The Diabetes Autoimmune Reactivity Screen that is suggested for anyone that has been possibly misdiagnosed as Type 2, especially if you have other indications or autoimmune conditions. Additional autoimmune testing is suggested for positive results and previous diagnosis of other autoimmune conditions.

Advanced Lipid & Prediabetes Screen
by BOSTON HEART
Insurance Coverage

Considering that high triglycerides on a blood test are one of the first signs of insulin resistance and seen before diabetes is full blown, we like to get a complete profile of the density and sizes of the different types of cholesterol as well as assess for the progression of heart disease through inflammatory and genetic markers with the Boston Heart test.

In addition, we offer testing for gluten and food sensitivity testing, inflammatory assessments, adrenal and hormone evaluations, and toxicity screens for mold, pesticides, heavy metals and other environmental triggers. Not everyone needs every test, but it is nice to have a variety of tools in our toolbox to build your unique plan of action to overcome the health challenges that arise from blood sugar struggles.

HOLISTIC TREATMENT

Diabetes and blood sugar imbalances are almost always a result of the choices we make. Yes, you may have a genetic predisposition, but even “bad genes” can remain dormant and sleeping … given the right environment (but that’s a whole other story for another day). So the great news is, you are more than likely not a victim and you possess the power to prevent and possibly even reverse diabetes through a little bit of education and some mindfulness around your choices. Personalized diabetes care really lies in testing and determining cellular levels of nutrients and then targeting specific supplementation.

While our office does not prescribe or change medications, but we do think it is important to inform you that drugs like Metformin may help normalize certain lab ranges, but it also blocks certain vital nutrients like B12, Folate, and CoQ10 … all of which are critical in generating energy and disease prevention.  So once your pancreas gets burnt out, your then dependent on injections of insulin to keep you going.   There is no pill that can compensate for a poor diet and inactive lifestyle. If your health is a priority and you aren’t looking for the solution in the bottom of a Metformin bottle, You MUST make changes if you want to live a healthy, happy, longer life.

Food is more than just an experience and provides much more than just entertainment.  A primarily plant-based diet has been the most successful nutritional change we have seen ... we need more of the minerals and fiber found in vegetables and less of the emptiness found in sweets and treats.  Many of our patients complete The Gut Reboot for a comprehensive healing program designed to heal leaky gut and restore the gut's normal function.

Exercise and healthy activity is also necessary, especially resistance and weight training coupled with mindful stretching and conscious relaxation that comes with yoga, tai chi, or qi gong to balance stress levels and improve parasympathetic activity. 

Nutritional supplements are typically recommended based on lab results and a comprehensive health history.  Click to learn more about Our Approach.

 

 

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Check out the article published in Natural Awakenings for more information on

Preventing, Reversing, and Managing Diabetes Naturally

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