Optimal Nutrition helps prevent Insulin Resistance (IR) and Diabetes
When speaking about health and nutrition, we often find it hard to believe that a serious disease like diabetes can be positively influenced by our inner nutrient balance.
Nutrients are now known to play key roles in the prevention, and the minimisation of symptoms and side effects of diabetes and insulin resistance include but not limited to; Chromium, Fibre, Omega 3 Fish Oils, Vitamin C and E, Vitamin B3, B6 and Biotin, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Potassium and Protein/Exercise . Recently studies have shown optimising Vitamin D is also important.
Also, several herbs and contingent nutrients have been used effectively over the years to improve insulin’s action and sensitivity while at the same time reducing the damage to nerves, skin and kidneys so often seen in progressed diabetes. Some of these include Mulberry extract, Flavonoid-rich extracts from fruits and vegetables, Alpha Lipoic Acid (an antioxidant) and a herb used for over 3000 years in China called Touchi extract.
Recent research has shown curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) to be very helpfully for inflammation (common in insulin resistance and diabetes) and other chronic health issues macular degeneration and others.
You can make a food preparation yourself with fresh turmeric and black pepper (helps increase gut absorption of the curcumin) and maybe some coconut oil, or use a high-quality supplement that contains a defined amount of curcumin.
All the above nutrients and extracts are beneficial for Type 2 diabetes, and some can significantly help attenuate Type 1 diabetes symptoms and collateral damage.
Chromium as a nutrient
When speaking about health and nutrition, we often find it hard to believe that a serious disease like diabetes can be positively influenced by our inner nutrient balance. To make this a little clearer let’s look at CHROMIUM as an example.
Proper blood glucose control and the action of our hormone, insulin, is progressively diminished in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. Chromium works closely with insulin to facilitate the proper uptake of glucose into cells. Without adequate chromium, insulin’s action is effectively BLOCKED, and glucose levels become elevated.
It has been estimated that more than 50% of people have a marginal chromium deficiency. Chromium’s availability from foods seems to fluctuate widely, and it can be challenging to get the recommended daily intake from a common diet.
Numerous clinical trials have shown that chromium supplementation was able to decrease fasting glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels (a good thing in the early stages of type 2 diabetes), decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL-cholesterol levels. It appears that about 200 micrograms of chromium are required per day.
Note that supplementation of nutrients is USELESS unless nutrient deficiency, excessive nutrient loss or inborn errors of metabolism are present. The existence of nutrient depletion needs to be first established in a comprehensive assessment that combines standard medical protocols like history, physical exam and blood tests with an in-depth metabolic, nutrition and dietary investigation.
Vitamin C and Diabetes
Another star performer in the essential nutrient team that combats diabetes is called Vitamin C. In progressed diabetes, insulin levels start to decline. Insulin is required for the shuttling of Vit C into cells. Hence, even though a person may be getting lots of dietary Vit C, they can still have a relative deficiency and therefore need to take extra of this nutrient.
While Vit C is famous as an antioxidant, it is also essential for proper immune system function and connective tissue, cartilage and tendon building in the body. It is also CRUCIAL for wound repair, healthy gums, and prevention of easy bruising. Chronic Vit C deficiency in the diabetic also leads to increased capillary permeability and elevations in cholesterol levels.
Off course well regulated and optimised meals along with exercise/movement, both aerobic and weight bearing, are also important in preventing and managing IR/Type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, there are other factors that can precipitate or accentuate IR or poor glucose control. These include daily low-dose chemical exposures, medications and lifestyle choices.
The good news is that most of them we can do something about. These will be discussed in the series on Insulin Resistance coming soon. This series will also provide evidence from the literature and current clinical practice about optimal nutrient/diet support and preemptive laboratory testing for IR.