by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac

Diabetes is the result of a metabolic disorder in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are above normal. A fasting blood sugar test measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood after you fast for eight hours. Your fasting blood sugar is normal if it’s 70 mg/dL to 100 mg/dL.

If your fasting blood sugar is 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL, you may have pre-diabetes.

A fasting blood sugar value by itself doesn’t help distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But a fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dL or higher is consistent with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes when accompanied by classic symptoms of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst or hunger, frequent urination, weight loss or blurred vision. Your doctor may repeat this and other tests on a different day to confirm their diagnosis. Complications from diabetes include serious heart complications, loss of limb, kidney failure and blindness.

Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) is an inherited disorder of metabolism that comes in two distinct forms: type I (juvenile-onset) and type II (adult-onset).

Type I (juvenile-onset) begins in childhood or adolescence, is more severe, requires regular injections of insulin to prevent death, and is an autoimmune disorder. The goal of juvenile-onset diabetics should be to reduce their insulin requirement to a minimum while maintaining the best possible health, especially of the cardiovascular system, through attention to diet, exercise, and stress reduction.

Type II (adult-onset) older adults, is less severe, not autoimmune in origin, and often can be controlled by maintaining normal weight and eating sensibly or by taking oral medication. The goal of adult-onset diabetics should be to avoid insulin shots and other prescribed medication altogether, keeping the disease in control by adhering to a healthy lifestyle.

Insulin-dependent diabetics are not as likely to be able to get off insulin completely and should never attempt to do so on their own, although they may be able to reduce their insulin requirement through natural therapies and lifestyle modification.

Insulin is produced in the Islets of Langerhans (in the pancreas) and is a polypeptide hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Apart from being the primary effector in carbohydrate homeostasis, it has effects on fat metabolism. It can change the liver’s ability to release fat stores. Insulin’s concentration (more or less, presence or absence) has extremely widespread effects throughout the body.

Insulin is used medically in some forms of diabetes mellitus. Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus depend on exogenous insulin (commonly injected subcutaneously) for their survival because of an absolute deficiency of the hormone. Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have either relatively low insulin production or insulin resistance or both, and a small fraction of type 2 diabetics eventually require insulin when other medications become inadequate in controlling blood glucose levels.

Herbal Assists for Diabetics

Ampalaya (Momordica charantia), also known as bitter melon is an herb that has long been known in as one of the best anti-hyperglycemic herbs and has proven itself beyond doubt as effective against diabetes. Ampalaya has a potent mix of flavonoids and alkaloids that are believed to make the pancreas either produce more insulin, make the body more sensitive to insulin already produced, and/or generate new beta cell populations at the Islets of Langerhans.

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa), is now gaining momentum and widespread acceptance, even in the western medical circles. Medical research and clinical trials performed on this miraculous herb show that Banaba possesses the powerful compound corosolic acid that lends itself to the treatment of diabetes.

Billberries are rich in flavonoids, the pigment that gives plants their color and is very beneficial for treating diabetes. Billberries are help retinopathy and micro vascular abnormalities. It strengthens capillaries in the body and protect them from damage. Since complications of long-term diabetes include damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys, and tips of the toes and fingers, bilberry is often recommended.

Cinnamon is commonly known remedy for improve blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. A study from China found that supplementation with 500 mg of water-extract of cinnamon for two months reduced fasting insulin, glucose, total cholesterol, and LDL levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity in men and women with elevated blood sugar levels. Steep 3 pieces of cinnamon bark in hot water and drink as a tea, 3 times a day. Particularly after a meal.

Fenugreek Seed has been shown to reduce glucose levels in type 2 diabetes and may help do so in type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes. Modern research indicates that fenugreek seeds not only lower blood glucose, but also reduce insulin levels, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Fenugreek seeds contain 50 percent fiber, which serves to slow down the rate at which food is emptied from the stomach. This delays absorption of glucose by the small intestine, resulting in lower blood sugar.

Ginkgo Biloba extract protects the vascular lining and improves blood flow to the extremities. Beneficial to treat and prevent neuropathy and foot ulcers.

Ginseng (Panax, Korean, American) has been shown to moderate levels of blood sugar (glucose). Ginseng improves the ability of insulin to properly regulate in our system. Because it is an adaptogen, this allows ginseng to help the body cope with all sorts of adverse conditions.

Grapeseed extract is a systemic antioxidant that can help guard against retinopathy and high blood pressure.

Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) This Ayurvedic remedy is one of the most common herbs used in the treatment of both Types 1 and 2 diabetes. Gymnema appears to stimulate the pancreas, prompting it to produce more insulin. Gymnemic acid, a constituent of the herb, acts directly on the tongue receptors (taste buds), blocking their ability to sense sweetness.

Hawthorne Berry are flavonoids rich and help retinopathy and micro vascular abnormalities. They are used in maintaining good heart health and stabilizing blood pressure.

Stevia is a South American shrub whose leaves have been used by native people in Paraguay and Brazil to sweeten their stimulant beverages. Stevioside, the main ingredient in stevia, has no calories but has actions similar to several currently used medications. It stimulates the release of insulin and normalizes the response to glucose, especially in type 2 diabetes.

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