Many people consume a diet high in refined grains, sugar, alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks. Most fruits are also eaten without the seeds, all of which leads to poor blood glucose control, unstable mood swings, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Various factors are at play when considering blood glucose regulation. Let’s look at the function of insulin. Insulin is a polypeptide amino acid molecule which facilitates transport of glucose and amino acids into the cells. It stimulates glycogen formation in the liver and skeletal muscles, glucose conversion into triglycerides, nucleic acid synthesis, promoting growth and differentiation and protein synthesis. And is therefore an anabolic hormone and it’s role is to reduce blood glucose levels. If blood glucose levels are high, high levels of insulin need to be excreted to bring the blood glucose down. It is therefore no suprise that when blood glucose levels are continuiously high, that the infinitely wise cell down regulates the insulin receptors on the cell walls as a means to prevent too much glucose being transported into the cells. Isn’t that just such an amazing thing, that the cells are able to upregulate or downregulate receptors on the cell walls as a means to either absorb more into the cell, or reduce absorption. Cells are able to do this for various other hormones too.
There are other factors which come into play with blood glucose regulation such as autoimmune attack on the pancreatic beta cells as seen in Type 1 diabetes which has genetic links as well as environmental triggers. Metabolic Syndrome is associated with type-2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, hypertension, and abdominal obesity with an inability to lose weight, high triglycerides, High LDL/ low HDL cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease with associated atherosclerosis. Untreated or poorly managed Metabolic Syndrome drastically accelerates the ageing process. Depression has been linked to a 63 percent increased risk of developing diabetes one study reveals where 11,615 non-diabetic adults were tracked and it was found that “depressive symptoms predicted incident Type 2 diabetes”. (Golden SH, Williams JE & Ford DE et al. 2004) Another study which tracked 1,680 diabetics compared to non-diabetics found that 84 percent of those with diabetes were treated for depression previously. (Nichols G, 2000) Chronic stress due to endocrine excretion of catecholamines, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and steroid hormones, especially from the adrenal glands causes raised blood glucose levels and can trigger a diabetic physiology. Mineralocorticoids affect the RAAS system which increases Aldosterone secretion and sodium retention with resultant hypertension. Metabolic Syndrome with abdominal obesity regularly presents with high insulin and high leptin. Leptin resistance decreases as sensitivity to insulin is regained and through weigh loss. Hyperinsulinanaemia is associated with diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyslipidemia, hypertension, cardiovascvular disease, sleep apnea, certain hormone sensitive cancers, and obesity.
Our natural ways to regulate blood sugar:
- Diet is absolutely crucial, so one should avoid/limit processed, packaged and refined foods and instead consume greens, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, plant oils, wholegrains such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet. Meat should be limited. Coffee, alcohol, sugar and dairy should also be limited. It is more beneficial to consume 6 smaller meals a day that 3 large ones.
- The mineral chromium forms an essential part of glucose tolerance factor, and helps to reduce serum cholesterol, triglycerides and apoprotein and increases HDL cholesterol. Good sources of chromium are found in cinnamon, asparagus, apples and nuts.
- Omega 3 fatty acids have a protecting role against type 1 diabetes studies show. They are also anti-inflammatory, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Good sources are fish such as salmon, chia seeds and flax seeds.
- Sutherlandia frutescens, an ethno medical plant from South Africa has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels and helps with blood glucose regulation. It also boosts immune function, is anti-inflammatory and is an anti-oxidant. Be aware though that Sutherlandia is not a tonic herb, and therefore should not be used continuously.
- Hoodia, a cactus-like succulent from South Africa, was used by the San Bushman to stave off hunger during long hunting trips hunting. The active ingredient in Hoodia is the appetite-suppressing molecule, P57. It is theorized that P57 acts on the brain in a manner similar to glucose and reduces interest in food and delays the time before hunger sets in. It appears to work at the level of the hypothalamus to inhibit hunger signals. It is therefore an helpful additive for overweight people with Type 2 diabetes. Note: Drug interactions do exist with people already on blood sugar medications, heart medications and blood thinning medications, so do not self medicate. Consult a registered health care provider.
- Spirulina contains gamma linolenic acid which is an essential omega 3 fatty acid, is highly bioavailable, contains more beta carotene than any other food as well as trace minerals, and other essential nutrients and is a complete source of protein.
- A high intake of foods containing potassium and magnesium is also crucial. Potassium deficiency has been found to to increase insulin resistance at post receptor sites. Potassium deficiency is also associated with sodium excess and hypertension. Magnesium deficiency is regularly observed in diabetic people. Foods high in potassium and magnesium are chlorophyll rich foods such as greens, almonds, molasses, kelp, seeds, wholegrains, cashews, barley, raw cacao, vegetables, apricots, avocados, bananas, parsley, raisins, sardines and sunflower seeds.
- Indian Kino Tree, Pterocarpus Marsupium, has been used in India for thousands of years to help support those with blood sugar concerns. And modern science has finally broken it down, so we now know exactly how it helps you. Locked inside the “heart wood” of this nutrient-rich plant is a treasure trove of blood sugar support, including 5 natural compounds noted to: support healthy cholesterol levels… slow post-meal sugar rise…support the pancreas cells that promote healthy insulin levels…
- Aloe Vera, this cactus like succulent is a wonder food, it has anti-inflammatory properties, immune system stimulation especially enhancement of bacterial phagocytosis, infections and tumours. Relieves asthma and arthritis, improves resistance to viral infections, accelerates healing with increased collagen production and proteoglycan synthesis. It also enhances cellular communication due to glyconutrients/mucopolysaccharides, which means that the cells can effectively communicate with one another. It mproves digestion due to increased digestive enzymes and improves bowel flora with less putrefaction. AND it improves glucose balance therefore good for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- And last, but not least, it’s absolutely crucial to exercise regularly, to spend time in natural sunlight, and to breathe deeply!
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