Diabetes is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism characterized by fasting elevations of blood glucose levels, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, renal disease and neuropathy. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or if the cells in the body become resistant to insulin, so the blood glucose cannot get into the cells, which can lead to serious complications. The classic symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst and appetite. Diabetes is divided into two major categories, type 1 and type 2, or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, which occurs in children and teenagers.
Type 1 diabetes is associated with complete destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, that manufactures the hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetes can also result from a defect in tissue regenerating capacity. Type 1 diabetes appears to have an autoimmune component, due to the antibodies of the beta cells being present. It is probable that the antibodies in the beta cells develop in response to cell destruction due to other mechanisms, including chemical or free radical damage, viral infection and food allergies. Those with type 1 diabetes will require insulin for life, to help control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, usually has an onset after 40 years of age and is often referred to as adult onset diabetes.
In Diabetes type 2, insulin levels are typically elevated, indicating a loss of sensitivity to insulin by the cells of the body. As type 2 diabetes progresses insulin levels can drop and insulin deficiency can magnify further the effects of insulin resistance. Obesity is a major contributing factor to the loss of insulin insensitivity. Achieving ideal body weight, in patients who are obese, may help restore normal blood glucose levels in many cases.
Other types of diabetes include secondary diabetes, a form of diabetes that is secondary to certain conditions and syndromes, including pancreatic disease, hormone disturbances and drugs.
Gestational diabetes a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, is a form of glucose intolerance.
Prediabetes or impaired glucose tolerance occurs when blood glucose levels are higher then usual, but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Syndrome X describes a cluster of abnormalities, due to a high intake of refined carbohydrates, especially in those who are genetically predisposed.
The features of syndrome X include, mild to moderately impaired glucose intolerance, elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance, high blood cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure and upper body obesity, around the waist. Other terms to describe Syndrome X are metabolic syndrome, Reaven syndrome and atherothrombogenic syndrome.
Dietary and Nutritional support for Diabetes
Studies have shown diabetes is strongly linked to inadequate dietary fibre intake. The type of fibre that has the most beneficial effect on blood sugar regulation is the water soluble form of fibre. Water soluble fibres are capable in slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thus preventing rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
Water soluble fibres are also associated with increasing the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and improving the uptake of glucose by the muscles, liver and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar levels. Good sources of water soluble fibre include, psyllium husks, oat bran, nuts, seeds and legumes.
Chromium is vital to proper blood glucose control, chromium works closely with insulin in assisting the uptake of glucose into the cells, without chromium, insulins action is blocked and glucose levels are elevated.
Vitamin C transportation into the cells, is enhanced by insulin, many people with diabetes may have a deficiency in vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency may lead to a number of problems in diabetes, including capillary permeability, poor wound healing and high cholesterol levels.
Vitamin E functions primarily as an antioxidant in protecting against damage to the cell membranes, without Vitamin E, the cells of the body would be susceptible to damage.
Niacin and Niacinamide plays an important role in energy production, fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Niacin like chromium is an essential component of the glucose tolerance factor.
Zinc is involved in virtually all aspects of insulin metabolism, synthesis, secretion and utilization. Zinc also has a protective effect against beta cell destruction. Diabetics typically excrete too much zinc in the urine and require 30mg of Zinc supplementation.
Magnesium is also involved in glucose metabolism, adequate levels of Magnesium may prevent some of the complications of diabetes, like retinopathy and neuropathy.
Mormordica (Bitter melon) has been traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes. Mormordica is composed of several compounds, with confirmed blood glucose lowering properties, the properties include mixed steroids.
If you would like to make an appointment to see a Nutritional therapist or Medical herbalist, for guidance and support for Diabetes, please contact the Health Zone Clinic.
Call on 0208 944 1133 Ext: 26
Health Zone Shop and Clinic
30 Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon. SW19 7PA
0208 944 1133 Ext: 26