Did you know that the standard medical recommendations for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes are terrible in my opinion? Drugs, drugs, and more drugs – to try to lower that blood sugar. The real problem is not a lack of those medications. The real issue is abnormal HORMONE levels – yes hormones – are causing the problem. And some of those hormones are directly related to what and when you eat.
We all know that our hormone levels can decline with age. Not having basic hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in adequate levels sets up a metabolic imbalance (see our web page about the importance of bioidentical hormones for men and women). Then there is thyroid hormone, of course. Some people gain weight from low thyroid, and weight gain is associated with risk of Type 2 Diabetes. But just doing a TSH screening test is not enough to assess full thyroid status (see my blog on thyroid testing). Often the addition of T3 is necessary to jump start your metabolism and normalize your thyroid. However, adequate thyroid hormones are necessary, but not sufficient to address this problem.
The real culprits in Type 2 Diabetes are two additional hormones - INSULIN and LEPTIN. Most doctors don’t even check these hormones. Insulin’s main jobs are to lower blood sugar, and to store extra energy as fat. When insulin is chronically high, your body eventually becomes insensitive to it, belly fat develops, and blood sugars rise despite insulin being high. Leptin also interacts with insulin and gets higher as the fat stores in the body get higher, causing an increase in appetite and weight loss resistance. It’s a vicious cycle, and once it starts, it is hard to break.
The most important way to interrupt this vicious cycle is to eat a very low carb diet – such as the ketogenic diet (see my blog on the ketogenic diet) to lower the insulin levels and start the fat burning process, and to then add intermittent fasting (see my blog on intermittent fasting) to further help lower the leptin and insulin. Eating too much carbohydrate or too much protein can interrupt weight loss. Getting educated on what and how to eat is very important. At Optimal Health Spectrums, we help our patients get on the right diet.
When a person is insulin resistant, they often have mitochondrial dysfunction as well – which means they have low energy. The mitochondria are the power stations of each cell. If your mitochondria are producing energy at a lower rate, it makes people more fatigues and it is hard to exercise, further worsening the problem of Type 2 Diabetes. Sitting all day at work or at home is very bad for health, and just moving around and walking throughout the day is helpful. In the long run, doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises and weight-lifting or strength training exercises help improve your blood sugar status and overall health.
Certain supplements, such as Berberine can help increase insulin sensitivity in the cells and can function similarly to Metformin (a drug for diabetes), but naturally. Supplements such as methyl B12, Nicotinamide Riboside, CoQ10, and Carnitine, can help your mitochondria produce more energy so you feel more like moving.
The true solution to Type 2 Diabetes is not to take more drugs, but to fix the underlying metabolic problem through eating the right foods at the right times, taking the right supplements and bioidentical hormones to enhance health, and to move your body more when you feel up to it. While it is obviously easier to just take a diabetes pill or injection than to change your diet and lifestyle, that is just a band aid, and is not a good long-term solution.