Obesity is a disease, not something created by lack of character. It is a hormonal disease. There are many hormones involved, and one of the main ones is a hormone called insulin. The vast majority of obese individuals are resistant to insulin and that causes a lot of trouble. So, what does being insulin-resistant mean? Insulin resistance is essentially ‘pre-pre-type 2 diabetes.’ Insulin’s job is to drive glucose or blood sugar into cells where it can be used. In a nutshell, when someone has insulin resistance, they are having trouble getting glucose where it needs to go, into the cells. It can’t all hang out in the blood after we eat, or we would all have a diabetic crisis after every meal. When there is resistance to insulin, our bodies will just make more of it. The insulin levels rise and rise and for a while, years usually, this will keep up and blood sugar will stay normal. However, eventually it can’t keep up, and even elevate insulin levels are not enough to keep blood sugar normal, and blood sugar rises. And that is diabetes.
As of 2010, an estimated of 285 million people have type 2 diabetes globally, making up about 90% of all the diabetes cases. There is an alarming rise in the prevalence of diabetes in every part of the world, thanks to the eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. And, as opposed to the misconception that eating sweets can result in diabetes, stress and genes can also play a major role in this. As of today, number of diabetics is far more than anytime in the past. Now, even younger generation is not spared by this disease. Generally, diabetes is more common in people who are overweight or obese. Generally, fasting blood sugar levels per 100 ml of blood should be between 80 to 120 mg, which can go up to 160 mg/100 ml of blood after meals. Anything that is constantly above 160 mg/100 ml indicates diabetes. Usually, older and obese people are at increased risk of diabetes because of their inability to produce insulin and lifestyle.
“Decreasing caloric intake for any reason brings with it a rapid improvement in glucose control,” said Dr. Robert Lash, the chairman of the Endocrine Society’s clinical affairs committee and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. “What’s exciting here is that the improvements in glucose control persisted when the participants went back to eating a diet with a normal number of calories.”
Although chromium does have an effect on insulin and on glucose metabolism, there is no evidence that taking chromium supplements can help in the treatment of diabetes. But chromium is found in many healthy foods, such as green vegetables, nuts, and grains. Studies have suggested that biotin, also called vitamin H, when used with chromium, may improve glucose metabolism in people with diabetes. But no studies have shown that biotin by itself is helpful.
Other research conducted at the same institute studied possible regeneration of the islets of langerhans in rats that were made diabetic for the study and then given gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. The diabetic rats were able to double the number of their islets and beta cell numbers. Researchers felt that the herbal therapy was able to bring blood sugar stability by repairing the pancreas and increasing insulin secretion.
Note that these medications used to treat type 2 diabetes are typically not used in pregnant or breastfeeding women. At present the only recommended way of controlling diabetes in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding is by diet, exercise, and insulin therapy. You should speak with your health-care professional if you are taking these medications, are considering becoming pregnant, or if you have become pregnant while taking these medications.
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