For clarity, this article is specifically about TYPE II Diabetes, NOT Type I.
Diabetes Type II is on the rise in the United States. In 1958 there were approximately 1.58 million people diagnosed with diabetes. In 2013 there were approximately 22.3 million. (Those stats are from cdc.gov) Diabetes increases the risk for many serious health problems, including:
Nerve damage (neuropathy)
Kidney damage (nephropathy)
Eye damage (retinopathy)
Foot damage (secondary to neuropathy)
Skin damage (from decreased immune function)
Alzheimer’s disease (often being termed Type III Diabetes)
So what can be done about it? I am going to explain the basics on how diabetes happens, and allow you to debunk some of what is written by those at diabetes.org… (let sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and glucose be used interchangeably)
When we consume sugar (glucose) the body will break it down and use it for energy, as long as there are adequate vitamins and minerals in the system. After the body absorbs the sugar, the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for bringing the sugar molecules into the cells to be used as energy. If we take in lots and lots of sugar eventually the cells in the pancreas that make insulin (beta cells) will become tired and not work as well- just like anything else that gets abused. But if we keep taking in the same amount of sugar with a pancreas that has become fatigued, whose beta cells are over worked, less insulin gets produced, so there is LESS sugar being brought into the cells to be used as energy, and MORE sugar floating around in the blood. This leads to: increased fat (since the body isn’t using the food you took in it will be stored), increased inflammation (sugar is pro-inflammatory), heart disease (sugar inflames blood vessels, inflamed blood vessels attract platelets since platelets heal damaged tissue, cholesterol sticks to platelets and now we have heart disease/plaque and eventually atherosclerosis) and this inflammatory cascade continues and damages more tissue.
That is really the basic breakdown of how Type II Diabetes emerges. The usual treatment protocol is: Metformin, Sulfonylurea, then insulin, often with nutrition and lifestyle changes being overlooked OR with sub-par explanation of what types of nutritional or lifestyle changes should happen. Some practitioners may have some other drugs to throw in the mix, but that’s the general algorithm. But I want you to ask yourself… is Type II Diabetes a Metformin deficiency? A Sulfonylurea deficiency? An insulin deficiency? Or is it from over consumption of sugar and lack of utilization of that sugar (too little exercise)?
I just explained the physiology above on how sugar affects the pancreas and the beta cells that live there- hopefully the real answer is clear. With that said… what do you think about this statement?
Could genetics play a role? Sure. If you’re positive for MTHFR and you have issues with methylation it may make glucose metabolism tougher for you, for example. In my opinion, it is mostly dependent on lifestyle. If your entire family eats fast food or pasta every night for dinner, enjoys cakes, ice cream and pastries for dessert constantly, and overindulges in soda (hint- these are all FULL of GLUCOSE!... and delicious…) and doesn’t exercise, I’d be willing to bet most will have similar health issues and/or blood chemistry results suggestive of metabolic issues.
I believe we are a product of our surroundings and our environment. I also believe that if we make the right choices then conditions like Type II Diabetes can be managed without drugs, and even reversed. I believe this to be true because I’ve seen it happen and worked with patients who have seen the results. It’s not an easy road, but it can be done.
Hopefully this article shed some light on a topic that even the people at diabetes.org seem to be confused about. If any of the above resonates with you or a family member please get in touch. I would love to help you in any way I can- whether it’s using my Class IV Laser to help with the neuropathic pain, giving some suggestions on what to do nutritionally to help you manage or reverse this, or putting you in touch with another provider.