If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be interested to know there are options available outside of traditional western medicine to manage your condition.
The over-reliance on pharmaceutical management of diabetes as outlined in the American Diabetes Association’s 2013 Standards of Medical Care for Type 2 Diabetes may be overwhelming, but there are natural treatment options available.
At the Mindful Healing Clinic, we find that naturopathic diabetes treatments may be effective in helping you manage your condition.
But what exactly is type 2 diabetes, and how do you best treat it?
Is it possible to reverse type 2 diabetes?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes affects the way that your body handles glucose, which is a type of sugar, in your blood.
It occurs when the cells in your body don’t utilize insulin — a hormone made by your pancreas — as well as they should.
Your pancreas tries to make more insulin to get glucose into the cells, but when it can’t keep up, the sugar builds up in your blood instead.
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a variety of factors:
● Metabolic syndrome
● Liver insufficiently storing glucose
● Pre-existing conditions such as prediabetes
You are at increased risk of diabetes if you are over 45 or have a family history of diabetes.
Your medical history and your lifestyle can also put you at risk.
You are more susceptible to diabetes if you:
● Have a heart condition
● Have high triglycerides or low HDL (“good” cholesterol)
● Developed gestational diabetes when pregnant
● Have PCOS or depression
● Get little or no exercise
● Smoke cigarettes
● Are overweight or obese
What’s The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes?
While type 2 diabetes is caused by your body inefficiently using insulin, type 1 diabetes is caused by your body not producing insulin at all.
Insulin helps your body control glucose levels, and without insulin production that glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.
Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, and type 2 is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, because the body attacks its own pancreas with antibodies; as a result, the damaged pancreas doesn’t produce insulin.
Often diagnosed in childhood, type 1 diabetes has no known cause, and it is not preventable.
In contrast, type 2 is preventable and, in some cases using natural medicine, reversible.
Natural Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes may be treated with a naturopathic approach.
Naturopathic diabetes treatments focus on achieving ideal blood glucose control and metabolic targets.
This is achieved by focusing on optimal nutrient status, controlling after-meal blood glucose elevations, and improving insulin function and sensitivity.
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, here are some of the approaches your naturopathic doctor may take.
Treatment of type 2 diabetes begins with diet changes, and diet can be effective as the sole treatment.
Evidence from clinical trials show that a diet low in refined carbohydrates can be effective in controlling blood glucose levels, as well as associated complications such as high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
Focus on healthy low-glycemic foods as evaluated by the glycemic index.
Lighten your glycemic load by eating lots of salads, green vegetables, legumes, and beans.
Intermittent fasting, or a “mini-fast”, can also help control type 2 diabetes.
With a mini-fast, you don’t eat until lunchtime except for water, coffee, or tea in the morning.
As you sleep, the glycogen in your liver depletes, causing your liver to turn fat into ketones.
These ketones are used by the brain and other tissues as fuel and are an alternate source of energy to carbohydrates.
In addition to a controlled diet, you can supplement with a multivitamin.
In particular, those with type 2 diabetes need to consume adequate amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
You may also benefit from supplementation with:
• Vanadyl sulfate
• Gymnema sylvestre
• Banaba leaf extract
• Pterocarpus marsupium.
Speak with a naturopathic doctor before beginning supplementation with any of the above, especially if you’re already taking medication for your condition, as herbs can have strong medicinal effects on the body and may conflict with your medication.
Exercise is another highly effective treatment, especially when combined with mini-fasting.
It can be as effective as glucose-lowering medication, with fewer side effects.
A 2014 study published in Diabetes & Metabolism Research And Reviews by Balducci, Sacchetti, Haxhi, Orlando, et al found that, while there is a wide range of evidence supporting the idea that exercise can help treat type 2 diabetes, few doctors are willing to prescribe an exercise routine.
But why is it so helpful?
Regular physical activity improves your body’s insulin sensitivity and helps manage blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels.
In addition, exercise can be used as a preventative measure if you’re susceptible to type 2 diabetes.
Exercise can be as simple as walking or gardening.
With any new physical activity, consult your primary healthcare practitioner before starting a new exercise program, especially if you’ve suffered injuries in the past.
4. Naturopathic Clinical Treatments
Naturopathic clinical treatments can be used as a supplement to diet and exercise, depending on your situation.
One example of naturopathic clinical treatments is infrared light therapy, which stimulates the production of nitrous oxide.
This compound dilates the arteries and improves blood flow.
Other examples are hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) and enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP), which utilize oxygen to facilitate the healing of diabetic ulcers and stimulate the production of new blood vessels.
Another example is EDTA chelation, which removes toxic heavy metals from the blood.
This improves circulation and arterial health.
Your naturopathic doctor may use one of the above treatments, a combination of them, or other treatments altogether, depending on your unique health history and needs.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic
Have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or do you know someone who has?
If so, contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book an appointment.
During your initial appointment, you’ll get a chance to sit down with me, Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, where we can talk about your type 2 diabetes, and any other health concerns you may have.
I’ll answer any questions you may have, and from there we’ll create a treatment plan for you based on your unique health needs.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book your FREE 15-minute introductory session today.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, N.D