Anti-diabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Baskaran%20K%20et%20al.%20Antidiabetic%20effect%20of%20a%20leaf%20extract%20from%20gymnema%20sylvestre%20in%20non-insulin-dependent%20diabetes%20mellitus%20patients Possible regeneration of the islets of langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874190901064 Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA1c, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2 - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2362.2006.01629.x/full Effectiveness of Cinnamon for Lowering Hemoglobin A1C in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled Trial - http://www.jabfm.org/content/22/5/507.short Cloves protect the heart, liver and lens of diabetic rats - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814610003870 Cloves improve glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus - http://www.fasebj.org/content/20/5/A990.3.short Effects of rosemary on lipid profile in diabetic rats - http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380120780_Aljamal%20et%20al.pdf Inhibition of Advanced Glycation End-Product Formation by Origanum majorana L. In Vitro and in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447365/ Evaluation of clonal herbs of Lamiaceae species for management of diabetes and hypertension - http://apjcn.org/update%5Cpdf%5C2006%5C1%5C107%5C107.pdf Metformin-like effect of Salvia officinalis (common sage): is it useful in diabetes prevention? - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16923227 Antidiabetic effect of garlic (Allium sativum L.) in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711305002175 Antiglycation Properties of Aged Garlic Extract: Possible Role in Prevention of Diabetic Complications - http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/3/796S.full#fn-1 Effect of ethanolic extract of Zingiber officinale on dyslipidaemia in diabetic rats - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104005732 Effect of Ginger Extract Consumption on levels of blood Glucose, Lipid Profile and Kidney Functions in Alloxan Induced-Diabetic Rats - http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/35273868/17.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1484639718&Signature=Zb4rY42u7WJrbngfV6pCQzu61e0%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DEffect_of_Ginger_Extract_Consumption_on.pdf Efficacy of turmeric on blood sugar and polyol pathway in diabetic albino rats - http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1013106527829 Hypolipidemic action of curcumin, the active principle of turmeric (Curcuma longa) in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats - http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1006819605211 A REVIEW ON ROLE OF MURRAYA KOENIGII (CURRY LEAF) IN (DIABETES MELLITUS – TYPE II) PRAMEHA - http://www.journalijdr.com/sites/default/files/4740.pdf Capsaicin and glucose absorption and utilization in healthy human subjects - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16612838 Inhibition of Advanced Glycation End-Product Formation by Origanum majorana L. In Vitro and in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23008741 Use of Fenuqreek seed powder in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0271531796001418 Ginseng and Diabetes: The Evidences from In Vitro, Animal and Human Studies - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.797.4558&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Anyone with diagnosed Diabetes should consult a physician before making any changes to a diabetes regimen, and especially before changing medication dosages. That being said, improving your diet and eating the foods to help your body heal is your prerogative and your right. For the 65% of America that is overweight, including the 37% that are clinically obese, there is a good chance that many are operating in a pre-diabetic state, or may even have undiagnosed diabetes. Even those without any signs of disease can figure out their insulin levels by at home glucose testing.
Given the consequences of diabetes, self-management is something I want to encourage, not discourage. Without a commitment from the patient to take an active role in managing their diabetes, any treatment plan is doomed to fail. So is self-treatment with supplements a wise idea? There’s an array available, and patients regularly ask about the latest treatment “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about”. That treatment used to be chromium. Ginseng was popular for a time, too. Fenugreek and bitter melon are used as well. The treatment that seems most popular now is cinnamon. Like any other herbal remedy, most sources will tell you that it’s been used for “thousands of years” as a medicinal herb. As a treatment for diabetes, I have my doubts. While reports of diabetes go back to 1552 BCE, the ability to effectively measure any diabetes treatment only goes back a few decades. Interest in cinnamon as a treatment seems to have started with in vitro tests but gained some plausibility in 2003, when a study from Alam Khan suggested several grams of cassia cinnamon per day could lower fasting blood glucose. Khan randomized Type 2 diabetes to 1g, 3g, or 6g of cinnamon for 40 days. All three groups improved their fasting blood glucose, and blood lipid levels, but there was no effect on A1C.
If a drug treatment’s efficacy is questionable, the adverse event and safety profile is even more important. As a popular food additive, cinnamon seems safe when consumed at doses of a few grams per day. (1 teaspoon of the powder is about 4.75 grams). While the trials have been small and short in duration, no significant adverse events have been reported. It is Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS), as a seasoning and flavoring. However, reversible liver damage has been reported with therapeutic use, due to coumarin, a chemical also present in Cassia cinnamon. Those with liver impairment or dysfunction may be at greater risk of harm. There are no published long-term studies with cinnamon that inform us whether chronic consumption of high doses is safe.
Magnesium deficiency is common in diabetic patients, as magnesium can be lost in the urine with hyperglycemia. A study in Diabetes Care reported that low magnesium status is common in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and showed that when low-magnesium Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus patients were given an oral dose of magnesium daily for sixteen weeks, the mineral reduced insulin resistance, fasting glucose, and A1C levels.
There has been a slew of studies done on the topic of alternative and naturopathic treatments and natural remedies for diabetes, and many of them exhibit long-lasting, beneficial results. While conventional medicine tends to treat only the symptoms of disease, alternative medicine focuses on both the underlying causes of the ailment, as well as the symptoms, evaluating the body as an interconnected whole.
A study published in 2014 by the Second University of Naples showed that a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet was able to achieve significant rates of remission in people with type 2 diabetes. After one year of following the diet, 15% of participants achieved remission and, after six years, 5% had achieved remission on the diet – a stunning achievement.
Together with evidence of normalization of insulin secretion after bariatric surgery (84), insights into the behavior of the liver and pancreas during hypocaloric dieting lead to a hypothesis of the etiology and pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (Fig. 6): The accumulation of fat in liver and secondarily in the pancreas will lead to self-reinforcing cycles that interact to bring about type 2 diabetes. Fatty liver leads to impaired fasting glucose metabolism and increases export of VLDL triacylglycerol (85), which increases fat delivery to all tissues, including the islets. The liver and pancreas cycles drive onward after diagnosis with steadily decreasing β-cell function. However, of note, observations of the reversal of type 2 diabetes confirm that if the primary influence of positive calorie balance is removed, then the processes are reversible (21).
One of my patients, aged 58, had an initial hemoglobin A1c of 7.2%. She was taking oral hypoglycemic agents, statins, and proton pump inhibitors—the basic treatment for every diabetes diagnosis. The patient was 28 lbs overweight and worked long hours. She didn’t exercise, mostly ate a processed food diet, and was sleep deprived. The patient had a family history of diabetes, and ultimately her lifestyle expressed her genetic tendencies.
Ordinary calorie restriction through any diet can lead to weight loss and make it easier to manage blood sugar. Intermittent fasting is thought to go a step further by lowering serum insulin, which triggers the body to burn stored sugar, called glycogen, along with fat, in the absence of glucose from food, Dr. Fung says. These processes (called glycogenolysis and lipolysis, respectively) can temporarily lower blood sugar and cause weight loss.
Currently, one goal for diabetics is to avoid or minimize chronic diabetic complications, as well as to avoid acute problems of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Adequate control of diabetes leads to lower risk of complications associated with unmonitored diabetes including kidney failure (requiring dialysis or transplant), blindness, heart disease and limb amputation. The most prevalent form of medication is hypoglycemic treatment through either oral hypoglycemics and/or insulin therapy. There is emerging evidence that full-blown diabetes mellitus type 2 can be evaded in those with only mildly impaired glucose tolerance.
Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by making healthy food choices and being more physically active. Many people with type 2 diabetes need diabetes medicines as well. These medicines may include diabetes pills or medicines you inject under your skin, such as insulin. In time, you may need more than one diabetes medicine to control your blood glucose. Even if you do not take insulin, you may need it at special times, such as during pregnancy or if you are in the hospital.
Storage of liver fat can only occur when daily calorie intake exceeds expenditure. Sucrose overfeeding for 3 weeks has been shown to cause a 30% increase in liver fat content (37). The associated metabolic stress on hepatocytes was reflected by a simultaneous 30% rise in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, and both liver fat and serum ALT returned to normal levels during a subsequent hypocaloric diet. Superimposed upon a positive calorie balance, the extent of portal vein hyperinsulinemia determines how rapidly conversion of excess sugars to fatty acid occurs in the liver. In groups of both obese and nonobese subjects, it was found that those with higher plasma insulin levels have markedly increased rates of hepatic de novo lipogenesis (2,38,39). Conversely, in type 1 diabetes the relatively low insulin concentration in the portal vein (as a consequence of insulin injection into subcutaneous tissue) is associated with subnormal liver fat content (40). Initiation of subcutaneous insulin therapy in type 2 diabetes brings about a decrease in portal insulin delivery by suppression of pancreatic insulin secretion and, hence, a decrease in liver fat (41). Hypocaloric diet (42), physical activity (43), or thiazolidinedione use (23,44) each reduces insulin secretion and decreases liver fat content. Newly synthesized triacylglycerol in the liver will be either oxidized, exported, or stored as hepatic triacylglycerol. Because transport of fatty acid into mitochondria for oxidation is inhibited by the malonyl-CoA produced during de novo lipogenesis, newly synthesized triacylglycerol is preferentially directed toward storage or export. Hence, hepatic fat content and plasma VLDL triacylglycerol levels are increased.
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.
You also might hear about alternative treatments for diabetes, such as herbal remedies and vitamin or mineral supplements. These practices can be risky, especially when people stop following the treatment plan their doctor has given them. So get the facts by talking to your diabetes health care team. They keep track of the latest research developments, and will introduce new products as they become available.
Cyrus Khambatta earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his senior year of college at Stanford University in 2002. He is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach for people living with type 1, type 1.5, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and has helped hundreds of people around the world achieve exceptional insulin sensitivity by adopting low-fat, plant-based whole foods nutrition.
Pramlintide (Symlin) was the first in a class of injectable, anti-hyperglycemic medications for use in addition to insulin for type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Pramlintide is a synthetic analog of human amylin, a naturally occurring hormone made by the pancreas to help control glucose after meals. Similar to insulin, amylin is absent or deficient in person with diabetes.