Functional Nutrition Approach for Reversing Diabetes

March 16, 2022
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5
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Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a group of diseases that is categorised by issues in insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity or both, leading to high blood sugar levels in the person. Diabetes is one of the major NCD (non communicable disease) affecting individuals worldwide. 

Diabetes is further divided into 2 or 3 types. Those individuals who cannot produce insulin hormone (which is required for the entry of glucose into the cell) suffer from Type 1 diabetes. In these individuals, the immune system of the body attacks the cells of the Pancreas which produce insulin, thus, insulin is not produced in this individual causing high blood sugar levels1.   

While those individuals who are insulin resistant (wherein the cells of the body are not able to recognise the insulin and the uptake of glucose is hampered) suffer from Type 2 diabetes. There could be various reasons due to which a person can become type 2 diabetic, such as obesity, the food which the person eats,and their lifestyle. 2

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time this type of diabetes goes away once the child is born. However, if one develops gestational diabetes, there is a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes. It is seen that during pregnancy, the fetus produces certain hormones, which lead the cells to become insulin resistant. The Pancreas tries its best to produce the insulin hormone but, the pancreas may not be able to keep up resulting in the woman being affected by gestational diabetes2.


There could be various reasons which can lead to development of diabetes in an individual. These include cushing's syndrome, PCOS, and Pancreatitis 3.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms which an Individual observes are 

  • Individuals who suffer from diabetes generally suffer from Fatigue, which affects their day to day tasks.
  • Along with this these individuals also suffer from frequent urination. 
  • Now, due to frequent urination, they also experience a constant thirst sensation. 
  • Similarly, these Individuals also suffer from hyperglycemia (excessive levels of blood sugar levels). 
  • Those who have diabetes have Ketones in their urine (the cause for the fruiting smell of the urine)2
  • Along with this, some Individuals also observe a drastic weight reduction in their body2 

This might give rise to a question : Are there any natural remedies, foods or treatments which can help in treatment of diabetes? And the answer to this question is a “Big Yes"

Let us see the foods, natural remedies and treatment which can help. 

Food for Diabetes

Now it should be taken into consideration that those individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes can reverse this condition with the right food and supplementation of nutrients that the body might be lacking. Thus, a proper blood chemistry analysis needs to be done to understand what is happening inside the body. 

Some of the general changes you can make to your diet are :

The first thing one needs to add to their diet is Fibre. Fibres are a little hard to break in the human body and they will slowly release glucose into the body, which won’t cause a spike of blood sugar in the person4

On the same line one also needs to cut down on consuming processed foods as they are highly processed and they cause a spike in blood sugar levels rapidly in the blood. 

Similarly, the addition of nutrients such as Magnesium5, Chromium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamin A6 and Selenium7 has been shown to improve glucose utilisation, which leads to better blood sugar level control. Also, these minerals play a key role in processes/reactions which take place at the cellular level. 

Natural Remedies for Diabetes

Moving on to the natural remedies which one can incorporate in diabetes includes addition of herbs such as GABA, Berberine8, Fenugreek seeds9, Petrocarpus Marsupium (Vijaysar)10, Ocimum Basillicum (Tulsi)11, Vinca Rosea (Sadabahar)12 , Salacia Chinensis (Saptrangi)13, Aegel Marmelos (Bilwa)14, Bilberry Extract (Vaccinium Myrtillus)15, and Syzygium Cumini (Jamun)16. These ingredients have shown to be as effective as the medicine which is given to individuals who suffer from diabetes. Thus, with proper guidance from a nutrition coach one can easily add these herbs in their diet. 

Along with these, consuming a diet with the correct form of carbohydrates which won’t spike the blood glucose of the individual rapidly can help a lot. Again, a nutrition coach can help in controlled carbohydrate intake in the affected individual. Protein intake of 1g per body weight can help individuals suffering from diabetes. Similarly, a balanced intake of fats would help in prevention of other comorbidities such as obesity, heart diseases and more. 

Along the same line, one would think that skipping a meal may help them to reduce their blood sugar level. However, it should be taken into consideration that skipping meals would lead to excessive hunger, which in turn would lead to excessive food intake, further leading to a higher spike in blood glucose levels. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid skipping meals and have meals in regular intervals which is again a well balanced diet. 

Treatment

Moving on the best treatment which one can suggest for diabetes is as follows. First the person needs to understand which form of diabetes he or she is suffering from. Whether it's type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. 

Once you know which type of diabetes you suffer from, treatment which is specific for the condition can be applied.

In case of Type 1 diabetes: Here, the pancreas of the person cannot make sufficient insulin and thus, individuals are dependent on external administration of insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels. Thus, collaborating with a doctor and nutrition coach,  the exact amount of carbohydrates which the person would require can be met. Along with this the herbs which we have mentioned in the above paragraphs would help. 

In case of Type 2 diabetes: Here lifestyle changes such as addition of physical activity for at-least 1 hour daily really helps individuals. Similarly, consuming a whole food diet which is minimally processed does help individuals. 

Prevention

It is always said prevention is better than cure. The same ideology can also apply in case of diabetes. Since Diabetes is a NCD (non-communicable disease), one can easily reverse this disease or even prevent it from ever occurring in their life. 

Let us see the possible things which we can do to prevent this disease:

  • Physical activity: Physical activity helps in proper utilisation of energy by our body; Thus, keeping the blood sugar levels stable4 . Exercises such as Squats and Deadlift have shown to improve the glucose utilisation by the body. 
  • Avoiding seeds oils: Studies have shown that those individuals who do not use seeds do not develop diabetes, as the PUFA which is present in the seeds oil affects the way the cells utilize the sugar. 
  • Proper sleep: Rest is one of the most important factor and is often neglected the most. Sleep plays a key role in proper functioning as well as proper healing of the system. 
  • Proper stress management: Stress is another important factor which plays a major role in development of any diseases. Individuals need to find ways in which they can manage stress and live a stress free life

Similarly, if an individual follows the above mentioned tips it can also act as an added boost in curing diabetes of a person. 

References 




Krishna Mesta
Functional Nutritionist- R & D division

Krishna has a Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics with a specialisation in Nutrigenomics. He believes that Research is like a solving puzzle by finding the missing pieces and arranging them together in such a way that it makes easy for others to understand.

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