Diabetes: Type II
81 Case Studies
59 Member Stories
2710 Research

Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the role of diet and physical exercise in health promotion and reversal of diabetes, along with a high-touch, patient-centric interaction for best outcomes . 

What is Diabetes Type 2?

Are you frightened of the unexpected diagnosis of diabetes, or worry you may get it? Do you spend much of your time sitting on your computer and searching if & how diabetes can be reversed? Is it practical to prevent diabetes with natural therapies? Well, you may be left with more questions rather than answers on the internet. The key to answering such questions lies in understanding the pathophysiology of the disease. 


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (or glucose )- an important source of fuel for the human body. With type 2 diabetes, your body resists the effects of insulin - a hormone that regulates the flow of glucose into your cells - or does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.


Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but now more children are being diagnosed with the disease, likely because of the growth in childhood obesity. While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, losing weight, eating well and exercising can help manage the disease. If diet and exercise are not enough to handle your blood glucose well, you might also require diabetes medications or insulin treatment.


How does Naturopathy view Type 2 Diabetes?

A holistic view of patient care is paramount to naturopathic medicine. In designing a treatment program for diabetic patients, naturopathic physicians set the focus on the entire patient by advocating behavioral changes like diet and exercise. Care is often co-managed with conventional endocrinologists and diabetes experts to provide best patient outcomes.

See: Insulin plant benefits & side effects

One of the important reasons naturopathic physicians can be an advantage to diabetes care is because they take the time required to really connect with the individual, instruct the patient, and assist them to take greater control over their own health. There are several conflicting stories about what it takes to be healthy, which foods are healthy, and what supplements must be taken, that nobody knows what to do to take charge of their health.


Naturopathic doctors each may have unique approaches to managing diabetes. Diabetes management is more complicated than evaluation of test results as there are a variety of co-morbidities, and diabetes is a risk factor for a variety of conditions.

See: Honey vs sugar for diabetics

Diabetes care isn't nearly regulating glycated hemoglobin levels. Glycated hemoglobin is an suitable biomarker of diabetes care, but diabetes care is complicated. To appropriately manage diabetes, the following is discussed with a naturopathic physician: dietary and exercise recommendations, proper use of natural or pharmaceutical health products, frequency of self-monitored blood sugar checks, proper frequency of lab tests, and physical assessments.

Naturopathic medicine treatment for Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels due to defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Integrative holistic medicine, like naturopathy for diabetes mellitus, is a medicinal approach that focuses on caring for the whole person by individually looking into a patient's condition helping treat and prevent the disease, and empowering patients to create conditions for optimal health. Naturopathic diabetes remedies focus on treating a person through changes in diet and exercise habits, supplementing the body with nutrients and various natural products, stress reduction, and other lifestyle considerations. Some of the important naturopathy treatment modalities are mentioned below -


Dietary intervention

Physicians agree that nutrition is the cornerstone of diabetes management. Naturopathy which is considered as an alternative form of medicine emphasizes the role of diet and physical exercise in health promotion and reversal of diabetes. 

See: Green tea for Type 2 Diabetes

Carbohydrates

Naturopathy suggests consuming minimally processed carbohydrates can help increase glycemic response. It is seen that avoiding foods like wheat products that contain food sensitives like lectins and glutens may not be considered good for diabetic patients.


Proteins and fats

Consuming a certain amount of protein and fat at each meal may slow the glycemic response. Incorporating healthful fats to our diets as well as eliminating trans fats and all refined oils will help nourish the body and minimize the need for diabetes medication. Cod Liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil are good in diabetes and help restore these deficiencies.

See: Healthy recipes for Diabetes

Probiotics

Recently, probiotics consumption has gained popularity through various human trials where it has shown the ability to lower fasting blood glucose levels and insulin levels in type 2 diabetic patients. This is because probiotics can help in maintaining good gut health and promote good digestion, decrease intestinal permeability and prevent food allergies while also possessing anti-inflammatory properties.


People with diabetes are always encouraged to consume a variety of plant-centric and gluten-free, fiber-containing foods, which include leafy vegetables, legumes, cereals, fruits, nuts, eggs, and whole-grain products. 


Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil in diabetes is known to constitute an integral part. It is an important nutritional supplement that is found to be rich in n-3 fatty acids are known to benefit a type 2 diabetic patient by promoting glucose metabolism and reducing insulin sensitivity among obese or diabetic subjects.


Herbs that help regulate insulin secretion in diabetes

There are numerous botanical herbs that have demonstrated their antidiabetic potential through the regulation of insulin secretion. These herbs have reported producing anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol properties, thus helping enhanced insulin sensitivity and reduced resistance. All these actions of herbs are considered to be an  integral part of the prevention, management, and treatment of T2DM 


Cuminum cyminum

Mostly used in food preparation can help in long-term diabetes treatment by lowering the blood glucose level and protecting the beta cells of the pancreas involved in insulin secretion from oxidative stress.


Nigella sativa

another important herb with potent anti-diabetic and antihyperlipidemic properties is known to improve glucose tolerance in type 2diabetic patients 


Aloe vera leaf gel

Research has shown that ethanolic extract of Aloe vera leaf gel, can help increase the levels of insulin. The gel also helps in regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells that can help in lowering blood glucose levels.


Resveratrol

Found in fruits like red grapes, and nuts are known to stimulate intracellular glucose transport that in turn help increase the glucose uptake by various cells aiding in the removal of excess glucose in the blood.

See: Resveratol in grapes

Cinnamon

An another important herb which is a part of the dietary component that has been shown to possess insulin-mimetic effect helping regulate blood glucose levels, by enhancing glucose uptake by cells.  Cinnamon is also known to activate insulin receptor kinase activity and glycogen synthesis which helps in the uptake of glucose by the cells and convert it into energy.

See: Recipe of rice with cinnamon

Chromium picolinate

Chromium (Cr), as an essential element, that drives many cellular processes, has the potential to alleviate glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Chromium is actively involved in the metabolism of glucose, lipid, protein, and nucleic acid. Since chromium consumed is not absorbed properly as a supplementary drug, other forms like chromium chloride or chromium picolinate are used more efficiently due to its convenient form than some other forms of chromium.


Garlic

Known to enhance the taste of any food can stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic B cells, and promote the uptake of glucose by the cells, increasing insulin sensitivity. It is also known to be a reductase inhibitor, and possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.


Fenugreek

Seeds of fenugreek when consumed frequently either by soaking it overnight or incorporating into your food can prevent catabolism, modulate insulin secretion, help in the regeneration of pancreatic B cell by imparting antioxidant effect,  improve glucose utilization, and slowing down glucose absorption.


Physical exercise

Regular exercise training like yoga, breathing exercise when combined with adherence to dietary modifications is likely to help or augment additional protective functions such as reduced lipid peroxidation and anti-inflammatory functions. These functions can help an individual reflect a better microvascular and macrovascular function especially in high-risk metabolic disorders like Diabetes.


Research in Naturopathy for Type 2 Diabetes

Evaluation of a naturopathic nutrition program for type 2 diabetes. [4]


A prospective observational pilot study was conducted in twelve patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, where they were evaluated for clinical and patient-centered outcome measures following a 12-week individualized and group dietary education program delivered in naturopathic primary care. The intervention included naturopathic approach to dietary management which included a daily intake of 20–40% Carbohydrates, 25–45% protein, 15–35% fat, low calorie, antioxidant diet, maintaining maximum Micro-nutrient Density, oat bran to lower LDL, Some fats, like omega 3 fatty acids that can be obtained from cod liver oil, flax seeds have beneficial effects on glycemic control.


After 12 weeks of treatment, all the patients showed improved HbA1c and controlled glycemic levels, improved self-management, and adherence to food, physical activity of the patients were increased,  and have influences in other domains of self-care behaviors. 

Summary

Naturopathic medicine reflects features of care,  that are well-supported by the literature. It focuses on changes that include yoga, oil therapy, exercise, and dietary changes that are necessary for the effective treatment of diabetes. Naturopathic treatment can effectively reduce various symptoms of diabetes by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, improving insulin secretion, promoting glucose uptake by the cells, and by helping to regenerate the pancreatic beta cells. All these factors cannot only help an individual fight the disease naturally but also has potential savings to the health care system with fewer side effects.  

References


1. Shan Huang, Wenfang Peng, Xiaohong Jiang, Kan Shao, Lili Xia, Yubin Tang, and Jiayin Qiu. The Effect of Chromium Picolinate 2. Supplementation on the Pancreas and Macroangiopathy in Type II Diabetes Mellitus Rats

3. An update on natural compounds in the remedy of diabetes mellitus: A systematic review

4. Effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) on blood glucose and lipids in a diabetic and healthy rat model

5. Evaluation of a naturopathic nutrition program for type 2 diabetes.

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