Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that usually is characterized by an abnormally high levels blood glucose and the subsequent excretion of that excess of glucose in the urine. Diabetes can result from an absolute or relative lack of insulin, which leads to the abnormalities in the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein. The word diabetes came from a Greek word which meant to “siphon or pass through”.
There are two different types of diabetes which are commonly diagnosed. In the first case, type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile onset diabetes, the body stops producing insulin or produces less than needed to regulate the level of blood glucose. In the second case which is called type 2 diabetes, the body is not able to use the insulin that is secreted by the pancreas. It is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes. There is actually a third type of diabetes called gestational diabetes that happens during the second half of pregnancy and disappears at the time of delivery.
For many people who suffer from type 2 diabetes they are able to help their bodies use insulin more appropriately by making simple changes to their lifestyle. Some of those changes include decreasing the amount of carbohydrates which are eaten and increase the amount of exercise each day. Exercise has a way of helping the cells absorb more insulin from the bloodstream and maintain a normal level of glucose.
Unfortunately because the pharmaceutical industry is so competitive sometimes medications and drugs slipped through the Federal Drug Administration the research process. In these cases some drugs can be released to the general public which can cause undue side effects or damage to other organs in the body. For this reason many people are willing to look at natural remedies for diabetes as a means of augmenting their medication schedule or attempting to withdraw from medication completely.
Today diabetes affects over 170 million people worldwide and that figure continues to grow each and every year. If it’s left untreated diabetes will lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and some joint problems. In other cases individuals will lose circulation to their peripheral tissues meaning their toes and fingers, which can lead to amputation.
Getting the disease under control can often mean just a matter of losing weight, exercising and improving your diet. Individuals with diabetes often find that by increasing the protein intake may help to repair the cell membranes more readily. Individuals should also reduce their intake of sugar and increase their intake of complex carbohydrates, but not simple carbohydrates.
Individuals may also find that using other natural remedies will help to control their blood sugar even further. Ginseng is one of those remedies. Although there are several different types of ginseng most of the promising studies have been using North American ginseng. Studies have shown that this may improve blood sugar control over long periods of time.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that plays an important part in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. In fact there been several studies which have shown that individuals with diabetes have low levels of chromium in their blood. At this time further study is needed to suggest that using chromium supplementation will be an effective way of controlling blood sugar for a diabetic.
In other studies, researchers have also found that effective chromium improves glycemic control in individuals who have insulin-dependent diabetes. So while the research may be varied it does point to the necessity of continuing to research the use of chromium in the treatment of diabetes.
Magnesium is another mineral that is found naturally in foods such as nuts, seeds and whole grains. Researchers have found that individuals need magnesium for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some studies suggest that low levels may worsen blood glucose control in individuals who have type 2 diabetes.
Several studies have also found that the use of cinnamon will improve blood glucose control. Unfortunately in these studies the improvements were slight but statistically significant.
While diabetes will make large changes in individuals lifestyle and potentially life span it is important for people who suffer from this disease not to ignore the consequences. It is very important to seek the care and advice of your healthcare practitioner when you consider treatment protocols for your diabetes.
American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Basics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Basics About Diabetes
Natural News: Eight Remedies to Treat Diabetes Naturally
Dr. Fuhrman: Diabetes
National Diabetes Education Program: 4 Steps to Control Your Diabetes