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Ralph Teller

Natural Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Type 2 Diabetes

by Ralph Teller

Type 2 Diabetes is a Metabolic Disease Caused Mostly by Lifestyle

The number of people with Type 2 Diabetes worldwide in 2000 was about 140 million. That number has ballooned to almost 300 million in 2010. New figures indicate that the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030. Type 2 Diabetes usually is caused slowly over time by lifestyle factors. Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented and somewhat controlled by making lifestyle changes, especially regarding diet and exercise.

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to use glucose due to the body's inability to sufficiently make or process insulin. The hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas gland, moves glucose from the blood and funnels it into the cells so it can be used as fuel. If the cells are unable to get adequate amounts of glucose, they can literally starve to death. As they do, tissues and organs begin to degenerate. This is what happens in diabetes. Diabetes is caused by a problem in the way your body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is needed to move glucose in our blood into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy. When glucose cannot enter cells, high levels of this sugar build up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia.

There are primarily two types of Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is usually occurs young in life. With Type 1 Diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked and destroyed them. Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin frequently.

Type 2 Diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. As a result, blood glucose does not get into these cells to be stored for energy and remains in the blood stream. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, the pancreas loses the ability to secrete enough insulin to process glucose into our cells.

What is Pre-Diabetes

Pre-Diabetes is the increasingly common condition in which your blood glucose levels are chronically elevated, but you don't have full-blown diabetes yet. Our goal is to help you become aware of the signs of Pre-Diabetes to help you consider lifestyle changes to naturally prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

Signs, Symptoms and Health Risks of Type 2 Diabetes

It is a good idea to become familiar with the early warning signs of Diabetes. Here are some warning signs of Diabetes:

  • being very thirsty
  • urinating frequently
  • feeling very hungry or tired
  • losing feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet
  • having blurry eyesight
  • bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent or heal more slowly
  • having dry, itchy skin
  • erectile disfunction. See also How to Naturally Increase Testosterone Naturally

  • Both forms of diabetes ultimately lead to high blood sugar levels, a condition called hyperglycemia, which over a long period of time causes the following damage:

  • Eye Retina. Damage to the eye retina from diabetes is a leading cause of blindness.
  • Kidney Failure. Damage to the kidneys from diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure. See also Kidney Health, Red Blood Cell Production and Peak Athlete Performance
  • Nerve Damage. Damage to the nerves from diabetes is a leading cause of foot wounds and ulcers, which frequently lead to foot and leg amputations
  • Damage to Autonomic Nervous System. Damage to the nerves in the autonomic nervous system can lead to paralysis of the stomach, chronic diarrhea, and an inability to control heart rate and blood pressure during postural changes.
  • Sexual Dysfunction. Diabetes causes significant loss of healthy erectile function.
  • Damage to Cardio Vascular System. Diabetes predisposes people to high blood pressure and poor circulation.
  • Impaired Immune System. Many infections are associated with diabetes, and infections are frequently more dangerous in someone with diabetes because the body's normal ability to fight infections is impaired
  • Diminished Mental Capacity. As glucose is the sole source of fuel for brain cells, there is growing and logical evidence that Dementia and Alzheimers may be cuased by Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.
  • Skin Infections. People with Diabetes are more likely to get skin infections caused by fungus and bacteria. This is because some fungus and bacteria feed off glucose. Also, high blood glucose levels make the body's natural defenses less effective.
  • A Quick Look at the Role of Glucose in Metabolism

    As Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects your body's ability to use glucose, let's look at why glucose is important and how your body controls it. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy to all of the cells in your body. With Insulin as the transport from the blood to the cells, the cells take in glucose from the blood and break it down for energy. Some cells, like brain cells and red blood cells, rely solely on glucose for fuel. The glucose in your blood comes from the food that you eat. See Natural Food Sources of Glucose

    Your body tries to keep a constant supply of glucose for your cells by maintaining a constant glucose concentration in your blood. When you have an oversupply of glucose, your body stores the excess in the liver and muscles by making glycogen. When glucose is in short supply, your body mobilizes glucose from stored glycogen and/or stimulates you to eat food. Insulin is important to maintain a constant healthy blood-glucose level.

    When your cells do not get the full amount of glucose they need for energy, cells become impaired or die, and as a result, organs work less effectively.

    Metabolic Danger of High-Fructose Corn Syrup

    Some medical experts consider high-fructose corn syrup, a common additive in soft drinks, salad dressings, cakes and cookies, breakfast cereals and brand-name breads, a slow poison. High-fructose corn syrup silently increases our risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

    While regular table sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, high-fructose corn syrup can contain up to 80% fructose and 20% glucose. Fructose is metabolized differently from glucose. Metabolism of glucose is how our cells get energy. The high flux of fructose to the liver, the main organ capable of metabolizing fructose, disturbs glucose metabolism and leads to metabolic disturbances like diabetes.

    Athletes are very focused on maintaining a healthy and optimum state of glucose metabolism for peak performance. It might be short sighted for athletes to train using 'sports drinks' and 'sports bars' high in high-fructose corn syrup. These high-fructose corn syrup products processed do not have the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in complex and natural carbohydrates. High-fructose corn syrup may instead impair peak performance and have long term negative metabolic effects.

    Lifestyle Changes and Natural Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Type 2 Diabetes

    The good news is that most of us can prevent Type 2 Diabetes and many can help treat Type 2 Diabetes by making lifestyle changes without the need to take medications!

    Here are some lifestyle changes we can make to prevent or treat Type 2 Diabetes:

    1. Sunshine. Vitamin D Deficiency has been linked to pre-diabetes. People with low vitamin D status tend to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, impaired glucose tolerance, higher rates of metabolic syndrome and a higher incidence of pre-diabetes. Maintaining sufficient Vitamin D levels may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. The sun is the best source for Vitamin D! See Vitamin D Health Benefits, Vitamin D Synthesis and Food Sources, Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency, and Photoprotection

    2. Exercise. Aerobic exercise alone or combined with resistance training improves glycemic control, blood pressure, triglycerides levels and waiste circumference.

    3. Nutrition. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining good health and preventing Pre-Diabetes conditions that eventually may lead to Type 2 Diabetes.


  • REFINED SUGARS (especially high fructose corn syrup) as found in candy, sweetened coffee drinks, ice cream, cookies, cake, some highly processed breakfast cereals, sodas and 'fruit drinks'. It is best to snack on nonfat or lowfat milk, plain yogurt, raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • TRANS FATS AND HYDROGENATED FATS from many processed foods like snacks (crackers and chips) and baked goods (muffins, cookies and cakes) with hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, margarine and shortening.

  • The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates which break down into glucose and naturally occurring sugars, rather than processed or refined sugars, which do not have the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in complex and natural carbohydrates. Refined sugars are called "empty calories" because they have little to no nutritional value. Recent studies find that a dietary high in fiber can help prevent and manage Type 2 Diabetes.

    4. Weight Control. Maintaining an average or lean weight over the long term is the most significant lifestyle objective we can seek to lower Type 2 Diabetes risks. People that are overweight or obese have a significantly high chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. A large Waiste Circumference is also a risk factor. Exercising portion control - eating smaller portions - is helpful in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. As we age, it is recommended we reduce food portions as activity level and metabolism levels slow. See Food Portion Control and Longevity. See also Weight Loss Passive Habits for Slow but Steady Natural Weight Control

    5. Quit Smoking. Smoking has been strongly linked to increased risks of Type 2 Diabetes. See Natural Ways to Quit Smoking

    6. Infant Breast Feeding. Breast feeding for more less than one month increases the risk of the mother developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life. As breast feeding decreases maternal belly fat, breast feeding for longer than one month (several months recommended) reduces mothers' risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Resting Heart Rate. Researches have found a relationship between resting heart rate and diabetes. People with a higher resting heart rate in middle age are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes after age 65. Checking your resting pulse rate takes 1 minute and is easy to do. It's a good idea to check your resting pulse rate once a week. See Resting Heart Rate as a Measurment of Health, Fitness and Lifespan

    8. No Antidepressants. Antidepressants have numerous detrimental side effects including some disruption of normal metabolism which results in weight gain, sometimes significant weight gain. Overweight and obesity is a main indicator of Diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and antidepressants disrupt a person's normal metabolism. Furthermore, many studies now show an antidressants ineffective in dealing with depression, except in severe cases of depression. See Natural Tips to Help Prevent and Beat Depression

    9. Discipline - Develop a Plan, Maintain a Log. Show resolve! Develop a lifestyle plan and routine which includes (i) regular daily aerobic exercise, (ii) a weekly self check of your resting heart rate, (iii) a diet of natural foods that excludes refined sugars, hydrogenated fats and heavily processed foods, and (iv) if you are overweight, a healthy weight goal to achieve over the course of a year. People that maintain a Log are more likely to stick with their plan. 1Vigor has a free Log to track exercise and wellness, including weight and resting heart rate.

    More about Ralph Teller. See Ralph's 1Vigor Log Calendar.

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    Articles on Diabetes

    PublicationFood Sources of Glucose, by Racha Husseini at Livestrong

    PublicationMetabolic Danger of High-Fructose Corn Syrup, by Dana Flavin, MS, MD, PHD, Life Extension Magazine

    PublicationFat and Diabetes, American Diabetes Association

    PublicationEffects of Exercise on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes, A. Chudyk, Medscape

    PublicationType 2 Diabetes, Mayo Clinic, by Mayo Clinic Staff

    PublicationBreast-Feeding for Less than 1 Month Linked to Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Laurie Barclay, MD, Medscape

    PublicationDiabetes,Robert J Ferry, Jr, MD, emedicinehealth

    PublicationResting Heart Rate in Middle Age and Diabetes Development in Older Age, MR Carnathan, Department of Preventative Medicine, Northwestern University School of Medicine

    PublicationType 2 Diabetes Overview, Diabetes Health Center, WebMD

    PublicationSupport Grows for Diabetes - Dementia Link, Megan Brooks, Medscape

    PublicationWaiste Circumference Linked to All-Cause Mortality in Older Adults, Robert E. Post, MD, MS, MD, Medscape

    PublicationDietary Fiber for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Laurie Barclay, MD, Medscape


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