Diabetes and Alternative Treatments
To begin with, there is no safe way to come off insulin. If you are on insulin, look at ways to improve your sugars to allow yourself to lower your doses gradually over time.
In a pinch, look at ways to minimize the amount you have to increase your insulin. But anyone claiming that alternative treatment X will allow your diabetic body to live without your insulin flunked Endocrinology 101.
That said, it is possible to help patients avoid needing to go onto insulin. One aspect of that would be limiting dietary sugars. While dietitians still recommend a minimum number of carbohydrates per meal. Diets like the Atkins’ diet have called that recommendation into question. It is possible to exist without carbohydrates at every meal. (study here)
While every patient is different and must be treated individually, I have been asked by several to go through my thoughts on diabetes management.
First, eating often is frequently essential. Patients develop hypoglycemia as often as high blood sugars. The roller-coaster effect just leads to increased cellular resistance to blood sugar.
Second, eating right before bed -particularly something with protein and fat- seems to help nightly blood sugars and helps moderate the low created by sleeping.
What should you eat?
The patient that came in to see me and created this routine crossed her arms and told me this: “I’m going blind and I don’t want to take any of your medicines. What have you got for me?” Most M.D.s faced with such a patient would throw up their hands in horror. I told her that if she wanted to save her sight, she needed to eat only meat and salads. She returned in six months, having improved greatly, but having fallen off the wagon. I then allowed her to have carbohydrates every third day. The last I saw of her, she could still look me in the eye.
Since then, I have modified my recommendation to each individual patient. But the basic idea of limiting carbohydrates for several days and then allowing yourself a break seems to be catching on in diet circles. The issue with diabetes (adult) is the resistance of the body’s cells to blood sugar. Lower the blood sugar by any means (drug or diet) and you will at least slow the resistance.
What about supplements?
I think of supplements as, well, supplemental. If you get your food through your car window, don’t expect any supplement to resolve your issues. That holds for drugs as well, and I get very grumpy when I see diabetics on pumps also getting fast food. It’s like spraying gasoline on a fire you’re trying to put out.
Of the supplements out there, I have seen the most dramatic effect from chromium picolinate, which seems to balance blood sugars.
Things like cinnamon, turmeric, etc., should be added to the diet. If you hate the taste of a spice, I have an issue with putting it into a capsule and forcing it down. Dietary addition will provide far more of the spice and benefit.
In terms of drugs, I will quote one N.D. who specializes in Diabetes. “Metformin, we like. The others, not so much.”
There are so many complexities that can arise from diabetes it makes the most sense to find a good diabetes doctor first and foremost. A bad doctor can really limit your length and quality of life. Take the time to research and learn from other diabetics who the best doctors are.
I hope this is helpful. It is the tip of the iceberg when treating diabetes. We haven’t touched on the emotional or spiritual aspects, and most diabetes have other illnesses that add to the need to individualize treatment.