The hormone, insulin, is produced in the pancreas and is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In the diabetic insulin production is insufficient; therefore, glucose cannot be converted to energy; but, instead accumulates in the blood.
The tendency to develop diabetes seems to be hereditary. However, there are other conditions that contribute to its development; such as, pregnancy, surgery, physical or emotional stress and obesity. Other possible causes include an immune response, following a viral infection that destroys the cells in the pancreas, and can also follow other diseases; such as, thyroid disorders, inflammation of the pancreas, or problems with the pituitary gland.
There are two basic forms of this disease. The more severe form, known as Type I (insulin dependant) is caused by damage to the insulin producing cells in the pancreas and affects males more often than females. It usually begins in childhood up to the age of 35.
Type II (non-insulin dependant) – the pancreas produces insulin, but the sugar remains in the blood stream. It develops slowly, over many years and usually occurs in middle aged and older people. It can develop in children and younger adults with poor diet and exercise habits. Those who do not have a regular blood sugar test often do not discover they have the disease until one of its complications develops; such as, eye or kidney problems, heart attack or stroke.
When symptoms do occur, they include: excessive thirst and urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, unexplained loss of weight, changes in vision, itching, slow healing of cuts and bruises, frequent or lingering skin infections; numbness, tingling or pain in the hands or feet, or abnormal drowsiness or weakness.
Not all cases of diabetes can be prevented, but many can. Maintain a healthy weight, eat a high fiber, low-fat diet, and of course, exercise regularly. Studies have shown that vigorous exercise can lower the risk of developing Type II diabetes by one-third. In fact, many experts consider exercise the most effective way to prevent non-insulin dependant diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition for which there are a large number of natural remedies that have been proven effective. The following natural remedies may prove useful and control or prevent diabetes.
CAUTION: It is important to work with a medical professional when taking any of these dietary supplements, as their use may significantly decrease or eliminate your need for anti-diabetic medicine.
Chromium picolinate. Chromium is a mineral essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It helps normalize blood sugar levels in all people, but especially in the elderly. It also aids in weight loss in diabetics. Take 400 to 600 micrograms daily.
Coenzyme Q10 improves circulation and stabilizes blood sugar. Take 80 milligrams daily.
L-carnitine plus L-glutamine plus taurine.
L-carnitine may protect against diabetes. It mobilizes fat. Take 500 milligrams twice daily on an empty stomach. (Take with 50 milligrams vitamin B6 and 100 milligrams vitamin C for better absorption.) Take with water; do not take with milk.
L-glutamine reduces the cravings for sugar. Take 500 milligrams twice daily on an empty stomach.
Taurine aids in the release of insulin. Take 500 milligrams twice daily on an empty stomach.
Vitamin A is an important antioxidant needed to maintain the health of the eyes. Use emulsion form for best absorption. Take 15,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant do not exceed 10,000 IU daily.
Vitamin B complex plus extra biotin and inositol.
The B vitamins work best when taken together. Take 50 milligrams B complex three times daily. Do not exceed 300 milligrams daily from all supplements.
Biotin improves the metabolism of glucose. Take 50 milligrams daily.
Inositol is important for circulation and for prevention of atherosclerosis. Take 50 milligrams daily.
Biotin (B7) enhances insulin sensitivity and improves the utilization of blood sugar. Take 50 milligrams daily, under a doctor’s supervision.
Vitamin C deficiency may lead to vascular problems in those with diabetes. Take 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams daily.
Vitamin E improves circulation and prevents complications through its antioxidant properties. When vitamin E levels are low, the risk of developing Type II diabetes rises dramatically. Supplements can improve sugar metabolism. Take 400 IU daily.
Calcium is important for pH balance. Take 1,500 milligrams daily.
Magnesium is important for enzyme systems and pH balance. It protects against coronary artery spasm in arteriosclerosis.
Manganese is needed for repair of the pancreas. Also a cofactor in key enzymes of glucose metabolism. A deficiency is common in those with diabetes. Take 5 to 10 milligrams daily. (Take separately from calcium.)
Zinc deficiency has been associated with diabetes. Use zinc gluconate lozenges. Take 50 to 80 milligrams daily – not to exceed 100 milligrams daily from all supplements.
Garlic stabilizes blood sugar, enhances immunity and improves circulation. Take 2 capsules each morning and evening or eat 3 to 6 cloves daily.
Maitake may help to normalize blood sugar levels. Take 1 to 4 grams daily.
Spirulina; a food supplement prepared from blue-green algae, helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Dandelion contains the chemical inulin, which converts to fructose in the body. The liver can convert fructose into glycogen without requiring insulin, thus, inulin may be beneficial to those with diabetes.
Fenugreek helps to regulate insulin. Studies have shown that this herb can reduce urine sugar levels by 50 percent.
Ginseng has long been used to treat diabetes. Studies have shown it can improve glucose control and increase energy among those with Type II diabetes.
Huckleberry helps to promote insulin production.
Psyllium husks are a good source of fiber and fat mobilizer. Take as directed on label with a large glass of water. Take separately from other supplements and medicine.
Other herbs that may benefit the diabetic include: alfalfa, bilberry, black cohosh, cinnamon, ginkgo biloba and red raspberry.