At his first visit, the naturopathic doctor told John he’d be “off medication and free of diabetes in three months.” John left the doctor’s office with instructions to eat a low-carb diet. He’d been on a low-fat diet for years because of heart problems, but while he’d cut the fat, his meals included many highly processed foods. His new diet included “a lot of salads and healthful, organic foods.” He was given several whole food supplements that he says were “simple to mix and tasted good.”
How does high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) feel? To maintain the right amount of blood sugar, the body needs insulin, a hormone that delivers this sugar to the cells. When insulin is lacking, blood sugar builds up. We describe symptoms of high blood sugar, including fatigue, weight loss, and frequent urination. Learn who is at risk and when to see a doctor here. Read now
Eight categories of diabetes medicine are available in pill form: metformin (a biguanide), sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, meglitinides, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and bile acid sequestrants. Each medicine has good points and bad points. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Herbal medicine has been an integral part of TCM for more than 2,000 years. Many herbal formulations have been developed and are used in the treatment of diabetes. The Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic), which dates from the Han Dynasty 206 B.C.–220 A.D., listed 13 herbal formulations, 9 of which were patent medicines including pills, powders, plasters, and tinctures.12 The sources of Chinese remedies are varied and include plants, minerals, and animal parts.3
With research funding, people managing this challenging disease have received tools that help them to live better lives. Every advancement or milestone has elevated our understanding of Type 1, achieved improved management and has gotten us one-step closer to an actual cure. That’s why donating to diabetes research is so important — it’s the only way we’ll eliminate this disease.
In Type 2 diabetes — which makes up 9 out of 10 diabetes cases and is generally associated with older people and weight gain — the cells reject the insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream even as cells are starved for energy. Type 2 is often treated with pills that tell the cells to let in the insulin. But in Type 2 diabetes, the body also often gradually loses the ability to produce insulin, requiring insulin injections.
In diabetes, either the pancreas makes insufficient levels of insulin so cells absorb glucose poorly or cells themselves become insulin resistant and thus unable to absorb glucose despite adequate insulin levels. Both types of change increase blood sugar levels above normal. Parsed this way, type I and type II diabetes overlap some but also differ.
One of the lesser known herbs that lower blood sugar, Marjoram, is high in polyphenols, which aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels. A 2012 study in the Journal of Evidence Based Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Marjoram reduced formation of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products. AGE is the smoking gun that researchers today say is responsible for a lot of the complications that diabetics face, like damage to arteries and eyes. Try sprinkling marjoram on your dinner every night to help add variety in flavor. It can often be used as a substitute for oregano in cooking and brings in a distinct flavor to dishes.
Eating meals at regular times generally makes this easier. Although eating on schedule may work well for younger kids, sticking to a routine can be a challenge for older kids and teens, whose school, sleep, and social schedules often vary. The diabetes health care team can help you work through any problems your child might have with scheduling meals and insulin injections.
A recent study of 46 patients with painful peripheral neuropathy evaluated acupuncture analgesia to determine its short- and long-term efficacy. Using TCM acupuncture points, 34 patients (77%) experienced significant improvement in their symptoms. After a follow-up period of 18–52 weeks, 67% were able to stop or significantly reduce their pain medications. Only 8 (24%) required additional acupuncture treatment; 7 (21%) stated that their symptoms had cleared completely.11

This seems hard to do, but really it’s not if you know one secret: Replace snacking with something far more satisfying — fat. That’s right, the government is wrong to recommend a low fat diet. Fat is what makes you feel full until your next meal. Take away the fat, take away the full. Don’t go to an extreme, but do lean strongly toward a high-fat low-carb diet.
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