Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Jeanne W. Shiffman, MD, DABFP
Managing Diabete Integrating Natural Approaches
Steinmetz Integrative & Functional Medicine Center

Managing Diabete Integrating Natural Approaches

Diabetes is a growing epidemic. Diabetes, defined as high, uncontrolled blood sugar levels, is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, nerve damage, cancer and Alzheimer's disease over time. While type 2 diabetes in children and young adults was almost unheard of a quarter century ago, the disease is on the rise in alarming proportions.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about one in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes, and in 2010, 1.9 million new cases were diagnosed in people 20 years and older.

What's causing this rapid increase? No one knows for sure, but medical experts believe that lack of exercise, diets high in refined carbohydrates, the direct exposure to pesticides on our crops, the indirect exposure to pesticides in our food and water, and lack of enough fruits and vegetables in our diet may all play a role.

Most people can cure themselves of diabetes, or at the very least, decrease their medication risk of the other diseases associated with diabetes.

While regular monitoring of blood sugar and keeping up with doctors' visits are important, the gold standard for treating most diseases starts with adhering to a healthy diet. Follow these guidelines to improve your health

Eat foods with a low glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index raise your blood sugar very quickly. Favor foods that raise it more slowly, and your body will be able to better process the sugar. There are many books and websites listing the glycemic index of specific foods.

Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you to burn up extra sugar and lose weight. Studies show that excess weight actually makes us resistant to the insulin we are making so we can't process the sugar in our blood.

Consider “medical foods”. These contain supplements that can help manage blood sugar. Some of the supplements we may recommend, depending on the patient, are chromium, vitamin C, biotin, B6, B12, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, manganese and alpha lipoic acid. Many herbs can also have a positive effect on blood sugar and have been used by many cultures for hundreds of years. The most commonly used are bitter melon, Gymnema sylvestre, fenugreek, and cinnamon.

Adapting a new lifestyle can be difficult for patients, but they do not have to make such drastic changes alone. A nutritional counselor can help guide a patient through new patterns of diet and exercise, and be a strong source of encouragement and guidance.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130