Diabetes is a growing epidemic related to elevated blood sugar levels. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that over 30 million people in the United States have some form of diabetes. That’s 10% of the population! Even worse, it’s estimated that 7.2 million do not know they have it. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 250,000 lives in 2015 (Dr. Axe). It doesn’t seem to be getting any better, either. It actually seems to be getting worse. There is a silver lining, though. The good news is that Functional Medicine has taken the front seat on the diabetes problem and Forum Health Clarkston is behind the wheel.
Type I Diabetes
Known as Juvenile Diabetes, this type tends to develop at a young age. Don’t put all your eggs in that basket–it can also develop in adults. It’s an autoimmune disease that results in the immune system attacking the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Some of the more common triggers include vaccinations, viruses, heavy metals, leaky gut (overall systematic inflammation), and allergies to foods like wheat, cow’s milk, or soy (Dr. Axe). The damage to the pancreatic cells can cause either a reduced ability or complete inability to create insulin: a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in food for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keep blood sugar levels from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
The main symptoms of untreated type 1 diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Changes in vision
- Frequent infections and slow wound healing
This type of diabetes is rarely reversed; however, it can be reduced with the right dietary changes. With these lifestyle improvements, the symptoms can be reduced as well as the dependence on insulin and medication.
Type II Diabetes
The most common of the two types with 26 million cases reported in 2017 alone, Type II is a dangerous disease in itself. When not managed properly, it can lead to many other health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness, leg and foot amputations, and even death. The worst part about this disease is that it is completely preventable. The best part? With diet and lifestyle changes, it also happens to be reversible.
- Being overweight
- Poor diet
- High levels of inflammation
- High amounts of stress
- High blood pressure
- History of heart disease
- Having a hormonal condition
- Being exposed to toxins, viruses, or harmful chemicals
- Taking certain medications that disrupt insulin production
Think of blood sugar as the body’s “check engine” light. In mainstream medicine, the solution to fix that seems to come in the same steps for everyone:
- Take this pill that will not heal your body at all, but probably cause a lot of side effects. We’ll increase the dosage until we can’t anymore and then the only option will be to put you on insulin injections with even more side effects.
- Lose weight, even though the meds and/or injections we’re giving you are known to cause weight gain—lose it anyway.
- Good luck…
Unfortunately, these steps only seem to cover up the symptoms—that warning light is still on and others are coming on, too. Simply put, the mainstream protocol doesn’t heal the body because human beings are not built as one size fits all. This is where Functional Medicine comes in to turn things around.
At Forum Health Clarkston, we want to know why the blood sugar is high in the first place. We take a Functional Medicine approach to look at the complex systems that regulate blood sugar: The brain, thyroid, adrenal glands, liver, pancreas, gut and cell membranes that all work together in regulating blood sugar. Food intolerance, chronic infections, hormonal imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies have to be investigated to gain a comprehensive understanding of what went wrong and how to fix it. Instead of just diagnosing and matching with a corresponding mainstream drug, we design a thorough health program geared toward giving the body the right environment to heal itself.
How to Start Your Own Diabetes Reversal
First and foremost, set up an appointment with one of our certified nutritionists here at Forum Health Clarkston. This will help you get a jump on filling out a set of comprehensive paperwork that we’ll want back before your appointment. With that out of the way, you’ll want to start removing things from your diet while you wait for your appointment day:
- Pop and other beverages loaded with refined sugar spike blood glucose. Try natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup. Beware, though, such sweeteners are only a better option; they can still affect your blood sugar levels. The best option would be to use a natural sweetener like organic stevia.
- Grains contain large amounts of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar immediately after consumption. Gluten-containing grains can intensify inflammation, so you’ll want to cut all gluten out. To get started, try sticking to only sprouted ancient grains like amaranth, millet, sorghum, and teff.
- Dairy products made with conventional cow’s milk can trigger an immune response and increase inflammation similar to gluten. When purchasing dairy, stick to raw and organic products from pasture-raised animals.
- Alcohol can dangerously increase blood sugar and lead to liver toxicity. Beer and sweet liquors are especially high in carbohydrates and should be avoided completely.
Start incorporating healing foods:
- Foods high in fiber such as brussel sprouts, peas, artichokes, avocados, berries, nuts, and seeds like flax seeds and chia seeds help slow down glucose absorption, regulate blood sugar levels, and support detoxification. You’ll want to try and get about 30 grams of fiber per day.
- Healthy fats balance the blood sugar levels. Fatty acids found in coconut milk, ghee, and grass-fed butter aid in treating diabetes naturally.
- Magnesium rich foods play a role in glucose metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. Foods like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt, and black beans have shown to help improve symptoms.
- Clean protein like grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild caught fish, lentils, eggs, and bone broth reduce inflammation and can slow down the absorption of sugar.
- Foods with a low glycemic load like non-starchy vegetables; stone fruits such as peaches, plums, prunes, apricots, and cherries; berries, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, organic meat, eggs, wild-caught fish, and raw pastured dairy all fall low on the glycemic index.
We all know that exercise helps reduce chronic disease. That’s not a new concept. While we all love a good walk or run to bring on the happy endorphins, we now know that when combined with a healthy diet exercise helps naturally reverse type II diabetes. It’s true! Exercise doesn’t just have a positive effect on metabolism, blood pressure, heart health, cholesterol levels, and overall quality of life. It improves blood glucose control and aides in preventing and delaying diabetes symptoms. If that doesn’t get you to a yoga class, I don’t know what will! I’m not telling you to hit up the gym for two hours every day, of course. Just a simple form of physical activity will do. Take a thirty minute walk or get on the floor every morning to stretch. Go for a swim, a bike ride, or take a dancing class!
Diabetes doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence. You have the power to turn things around. Diet and lifestyle have shown to have a huge impact on Type I symptoms and even prevent and reverse Type II. At Forum Health Clarkston, we are ready to teach you how to live with it and how to live without it. It’s one of our MANY specialties–Just ask Vicky! We do not chase and cover up symptoms—we give you the lifelong education you need to get the quality of life you’ve always wanted!
Call us today: 248-625-5143 to find out how we can help you!
Forum Health Clarkston
7300 Dixie Hwy. Ste 500
Clarkston, MI 48346
Mind Body Green