Evidence linking hepatic insulin sensitivity to intraorgan triglyceride content has been steadily accumulating. In insulin-treated type 2 diabetes, insulin dose correlates with the extent of fatty liver (35), and in turn, this is associated with insulin sensitivity to suppression of hepatic glucose production (36). Decreasing the fat content of liver is associated with improvement in insulin suppression of glucose production and, thereby, with improvement in fasting plasma glucose (20,23).
During this 8-week study, β-cell function was tested by a gold standard method that used a stepped glucose infusion with subsequent arginine bolus (21). In type 2 diabetes, the glucose-induced initial rapid peak of insulin secretion (the first phase insulin response) typically is absent. This was confirmed at baseline in the study, but the first phase response increased gradually over 8 weeks of a very-low-calorie diet to become indistinguishable from that of age- and weight-matched nondiabetic control subjects. The maximum insulin response, as elicited by arginine bolus during hyperglycemia, also normalized. Pancreas fat content decreased gradually during the study period to become the same as that in the control group, a time course matching that of the increase in both first phase and total insulin secretion (Fig. 3). Fat content in the islets was not directly measured, although it is known that islets take up fat avidly (24) and that islet fat content closely reflects total pancreatic fat content in animal models (25). Although a cause-and-effect relationship between raised intraorgan fat levels and metabolic effect has not yet been proven, the time course data following the dietary intervention study are highly suggestive of a causal link (21).
Magnesium deficiency is not uncommon in people with diabetes, and it can worsen high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Some studies suggest that supplementing with magnesium may improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels, but other studies have shown no benefit. Have your doctor check you for deficiency before supplementing with magnesium. These are signs that you’re not getting enough magnesium.
Exercise– Even the mainstream medical community recognizes the advantage of exercise, as it increases the muscles ability to use insulin and over time can help fix insulin resistance. All exercise isn’t created equal though and fortunately, smaller amounts of high intensity exercise have been shown to have a better effect on insulin levels (and weight loss) than an hour of daily moderate cardio. According to the Healthy Skeptic: “A pair of studies done at McMaster University found that “6-minutes of pure, hard exercise once a week could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate activity“, according to the June 6, 2005 CNN article reporting on the study.” I recommend high intensity exercise anyway for its various health advantages, and it is great for diabetes control. too.
In 2003, ephedrine -- also known as ma huang -- became the first herbal stimulant ever banned by the FDA. It was a popular component of over-the-counter weight loss drugs. Ephedrine had some benefits, but it could cause far more harm, especially in high doses: insomnia (difficulty falling and staying asleep), high blood pressure, glaucoma, and urinary retention. This herbal supplement has also been associated with numerous cases of stroke.
Genetic factors do play a role in any disease, but I put this factor last for a reason. Genetic predisposition to a given disease will increase the chances of getting the disease, but not in a vacuum. People with a strong predisposition to liver disease manage to avoid it, and some with a family history of heart disease remain heart-attack free. Even studies among identical twins show that in most cases, twins will get the same diseases, even in different environments, but sometimes they don’t. This means there are other factors involved (see above).
Cinnamon contains a bioactive compound that can help to fight and prevent diabetes. Cinnamon is known to stimulate the insulin activity and thus regulate the blood sugar level. As excess of anything is bad, likewise cinnamon if taken in excess can increase the risk of liver damage due to a compound called coumarin present in it. The true cinnamon, not the one buy from shops (Cassia cinnamon) is safer to have.
“The degree of carbohydrate restriction that we recommend to establish and then maintain nutritional ketosis depends upon individual factors such degree of insulin resistance (metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes?) and physical activity. These starting levels of carb restriction typically vary between 30 and 60 grams per day of total carbs. The best way to determine one’s carbohydrate tolerance is to directly measure blood ketones with a finger-stick glucometer that also accommodates ketone testing.
Khodneva, Y., Shalev, A., Frank, S. J., Carson, A. P., & Safford, M. M. (2016, May). Calcium channel blocker use is associated with lower fasting serum glucose among adults with diabetes from the REGARDS study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 115, 115-121. Retrieved from http://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(16)00070-X/abstract
Gymnema Sylvestre is a vine native to Central & South India. Used in traditional Indian medicine since the 6th century BC, the leaves of this plant contain ‘gymnemic acids’ that have the amazing ability to slow down the transport of glucose from the intestines to the bloodstream. Some scientists even believe that Gymnema Sylvestre extract can help repair and regenerate pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin!
Cinnamon’s effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes has not been established. A prescription drug as ineffective as cinnamon likely wouldn’t pass FDA muster. Existing drug treatments for diabetes, on the other hand, are cheap, effective, and generally well tolerated. Compared to drug therapy, we don’t know if cinnamon can reduce the risk of mortality due to diabetes, or the progression to any of the other serious outcomes of diabetes. For my patients that insist on trying cinnamon, I’d caution them of the risks, and reinforce that cinnamon is no alternative for lifestyle changes and medication if necessary. It may be natural, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s either safe or effective.
Drugs that increase insulin production by the pancreas or its blood levels and/or reduce sugar production from the liver, including alogliptin (Nesina), dulaglutide (Trulicity), linagliptin (Tradjenta), exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), lixisenatide (Adlyxin), saxagliptin (Onglyza), sitagliptin (Januvia), and semaglutide (Ozempic)
For people with either type of diabetes, exercise can lower the chance of having a heart attack or stroke and can improve circulation. It may offer stress relief, as well. People with type 2 diabetes who need to lose weight can benefit from moderate exercise. Most people with diabetes are encouraged to get at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, like walking. Strength training is often recommended at least twice a week. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is right for you.
The men took a six-hour educational course on diabetes and intermittent fasting prior to fasting. For the experiment, one man fasted for 24 hours three days per week, and the other two alternated their fasting days throughout the week. On fast days, they ate one low-calorie meal in the evening, and drank low-cal beverages, such as water, coffee, tea, and broth. The authors encouraged participants to opt for low-carb on the eating days.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas no longer makes the insulin your body needs to use blood sugar for energy. You will need insulin in the form of injections or through use of a continuous pump. Learning to give injections to yourself or to your infant or child may at first seem the most daunting part of managing diabetes, but it is much easier that you think.
Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.