Dr. Janet McKenzie
The objectives of treatment for all forms of diabetes are the same: to improve the uptake of glucose at a cellular level and to maintain blood glucose levels within a tight spectrum
The objectives of treatment for all forms of diabetes are the same: to improve the uptake of glucose at a cellular level and to maintain blood glucose levels within a tight spectrum. Vitamin, mineral and botanical supplementation can be effective in achieving these objectives.
Our bodies make Vitamin D when they are exposed to sufficient quantities of sunlight. Because we live in a northern climate, Canadians are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency, especially during the winter. Recent studies have shown a link between decreased levels of Vitamin D and susceptibility to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Food sources of Vitamin D include cod, salmon, sardines, milk and eggs. Consult your MD or naturopathic doctor if you are concerned about being deficient.
Chromium is a component of a molecule known as glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which helps cell receptors respond to insulin to stabilize blood glucose levels. Studies show that chromium can enhance impaired glucose metabolism.
Good food sources of chromium include romaine lettuce, tomatoes and onions. While chromium is found in many foods, it tends to be there in very small amounts. As a result, it is often necessary to take chromium as a supplement if a therapeutic level of the nutrient is needed.
Vanadium is another mineral that has been shown to help normalize blood glucose levels, possibly through an insulin-like effect on cells. Food sources of vanadium include seafood, mushrooms and culinary herbs such as black pepper, dill and parsley.
Bitter melon, also known as Momordica charantia, is a gourd-like fruit that grows in South America, Asia and Africa. It has been used by practitioners of folk medicine in those areas to control the symptoms of diabetes for centuries, and has been shown in research to have a sugar-lowering impact.
Gymnema sylvestre is an herb commonly used in India to reduce the desire to eat sugary foods. It has been shown in research to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and improve blood markers of the condition, such as glycated hemoglobin.
Type 2 diabetes is considered to be preventable because an appropriate diet and exercise regimen can forestall the development of the disease. But irrespective of the “face” diabetes is presenting; diet, lifestyle factors and targeted supplementation can make significant improvements in the signs and symptoms of the condition. If you think you might be at risk for diabetes, consider discussing your situation with a naturopathic doctor—a natural treatment just might make all the difference.