Diabetes is a grave problem today, affecting 24 million people in the U.S. There’s no known cure for type 1 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes can be overcome.
Dr. Mercola enlightens you on the easy lifestyle changes you can make to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.
The Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a chronic ailment marked by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile onset diabetes, occurs when your own body destroys insulin-producing pancreatic cells. This results in insulin hormone deficiency. Supplemental insulin is needed for this deficiency.
It develops before a person turns 20 years old, and there’s no known cure for it. Type 1 diabetes only affects 1 in 250 Americans, and is not as common as type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes, is more common and affects 90 to 95 percent of diabetics. With this condition, your body can create insulin, but it cannot recognize and use it properly. With insufficient insulin, sugar can’t get in your cells and instead builds up in your blood and causes elevated blood sugar levels. It’s an advanced stage of insulin resistance.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive thirst and extreme hunger (even after meals)
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of wounds
- Frequent skin, urinary, or vaginal infections
- Unusual weight gain or loss
- Numbness or tingling in hands and/or feet
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented and cured naturally.
You Might Be Treating Diabetes Wrong
According to Dr. Mercola, diabetes is not a blood sugar disease. Its main culprits are insulin and leptin signaling.
Leptin, a hormone produced in your fat cells, regulates your weight and appetite. It tells your brain when and how much to eat and what to do with the energy in your body. It’s crucial to correct insulin signaling, whether or not you become insulin resistant. Reestablishing correct leptin signaling can be successful through proper diet.
Insulin is released when your blood sugar becomes elevated. It directs the extra energy into storage. The majority is stored as your main energy supply or fat, while a small amount is stored as a starch called glycogen. Insulin’s main role is not to lower blood sugar, but to store extra energy for future use. The blood sugar-lowering effect is just a side effect of its energy storage process.
Diabetes Drugs Don’t Help
Treating type 2 diabetes means addressing the metabolic miscommunication rather than lowering blood sugar. Type 2 diabetics should avoid taking insulin because it worsens their insulin and leptin resistance over time.
Most type 2 diabetes drugs don’t work. They either raise insulin or lower blood sugar, focusing on the elevated blood sugar symptom, and not on treating the underlying cause.
Avandia, a popular diabetes drug sold today, works by making patients more sensitive to their own insulin– controlling blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is reduced by increasing liver, fat, and muscle cells sensitivity to insulin.
Avandia has harmful side effects. It has been linked to 43% more heart attacks and 64% more cardiovascular deaths among its users, who were compared to patients that used other methods.
Six Natural Ways to Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. Mercola offers these tips to increase your leptin and insulin sensitivity, helping you prevent or reverse diabetes.
- Exercise is one of the fastest and most potent ways to lower leptin and insulin resistance. Get diabetes under control with sufficient and regular exercise.
- Avoid grains, sugars, and fructose. Fructose from grains and sugars have major effects on your body’s adverse insulin reactions. Eliminate all grains and sugars from your diet, including bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes, rice, corn, and even “healthy” grains such as sprouted, organic or whole types. Avoid fruit until your blood sugar is under control.
- Eat according to your nutritional type. Balancing your carbohydrates, protein and fat ratios for your biochemistry is an essential part of a successful diabetes diet. Dr. Mercola offers a free nutritional typing program to help you discover your nutritional type and know your optimal carbohydrate/fat/protein ratio.
- Monitor your fasting insulin level. Your fasting insulin level should be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin sensitivity becomes.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps treat type 2 diabetes. If you’re pregnant, it also eliminates your unborn baby’s risk of getting type 1 diabetes.
Your body can safely create up to 20,000 units of vitamin D every day through direct UV exposure. Expose your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine regularly. You can also use a safe tanning bed.
Taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement is also an option, since you need 5 to 20,000 units of oral vitamin D3 every day if you don’t get regular sun exposure. Make sure you get your level tested by a reliable lab regularly, so it’s in the therapeutic range of 60 to 80 ng/ml. Read Dr. Mercola’s age-appropriate vitamin D dose recommendations here.
- Increase your probiotics. Multiple studies show that obese people’s intestinal bacteria are different from those in lean people. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immune system and body becomes. Optimize your gut flora by eating fermented foods like miso, natto, raw organic cheese, and cultured vegetables. You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement.
Discover more about diabetes and other prevalent health issues in this blog.