The role of insulin
Insulin is the enzyme carrier that transports glucose, which the body uses for energy, across the cell membrane into the cell. Without insulin, each cell would not be able to survive, they would starve for lack of energy. Diabetes is not, at the onset, a pancreas problem nor is it a problem with insulin.
In the beginning the pancreas makes plenty of insulin. The real problem begins with a rigid cell wall that, for some reason will not allow insulin to do it’s job. Insulin links up with the glucose, but the receptors on the cell wall will not allow the insulin to attach and pull the glucose into the cell. This phenomenon is called insulin resistance. The bodies response to this is to make more insulin. The body sees the high glucose level in the blood and thinks it has not made enough insulin. In reality there is plenty of insulin. The problem is that the insulin is not able to do it’s job. This results in higher and higher levels of insulin in the blood yet glucose continues to have a harder and harder time getting into the cell.
The medical systems answer is just to give the patient more insulin. The theory is that if there is enough insulin in the body, eventually it will take down the sugar levels.
At first this usually works, but over time many people find their insulin shots less and less effective. Some people have a difficult time getting the insulin shot to work.
Unless changes occur in the body the cells can become more and more insulin resistant.
Many people living in America do not have diabetes, but they do have insulin resistance. This is because, even though the cells do not regularly accept insulin and it is hindered from doing it’s job, the pancreas is healthy and is able to pump out the increased volume to correct the tendency towards a higher blood sugar.
As insulin resistance increases the pancreas is forced to pump out more and more insulin. The body, instead of having a fasting insulin level of 40, now may have a fasting level of 80 or 90. Oddly, a person with a healthy pancreas may have this high insulin resistance and be totally unaware that there is any problem. Even though maintaining proper blood sugar levels is difficult, with the increased insulin levels, for a while at least, the body is able to maintain.
Unfortunately, this insulin resistance and subsequent high levels of insulin in the blood set a person up for heart disease, stroke, and all kinds of problems.
Unfortunately most people are totally unaware there in anything wrong until there pancreases are no longer able to produce enough insulin to keep the blood sugar levels within the “normal range.” It has been shown that almost everybody in America has at least some degree of insulin resistance even though it is not until the pancreas can no longer keep up, that the person is “diagnosed” as being diabetic.
Hypoglycemia occurs first. It is a step in the progression on insulin resistance on the way to becoming diabetic. Silently, the problem had been brewing for many years. For Type II diabetes, diet appears to be totally to blame. The following are books and products specifically helpful for those struggling with diabetes.
Other websites of interest
Be as wise as a cow: Chew on the hay, but spit out the sticks. I agree with lots of what is on these site, but not everything. I have found that everybody has areas where they are short sided. And nobody has every piece to the puzzle.
- Dr. Bass’ interview on Insulin Resistance with Dr. Ron Rosedale.
- Dr. Joseph Mercola’s four-part article discussingInsulin and It’s Metabolic Effects, an annotated discussion of the transcript of a lecture by Dr.Rosedale.
- If you are a person that has found lots of help with the Eat Right 4 Your Type diet, read what theLife Enthusiasts Newsletter has to say about the diet and insulin resistance.
- The Reversal of Heart Disease and Other Complications
…another article by Dr. Rosedale (published on a Heart Support website) which covers heart disease and its relationship to insulin resistance.
- Dr. Gerald M. Reaven (Professor of Medicine, Stanford University) informative, comprehensive examination of Syndrome X
- Another pearl from Dr. Mercola, entitled “Lower Your Carbs and Lower Your Insulin levels”, prepared for a seminar on Preventative Environmental Medicine: Effective Non-Drug, Non-Surgical Solutions for Chronic Illnesses.
- Insulin Resistance Syndrome, by Dr. Goutham Rao, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, appearing on the The American Academy of Family Physicians website, which also maintains an extensive collection of basic information and documented studies.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Syndrome X is a strong proponent of using Alpha Lipoic acid for diabetes. So are many others. Research shows significant evidence that it is effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and is useful in treating some other aspects of diabetes. It helps to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and appears to be protective of arteriosclerosis and chemical toxins.
There is also some evidence to show that it has anti aging properties, especially in the area of slowing the aging of the brain. Alpha-Lipoic acid is a chelator of heavy metals, is a strong sulfur containing anti oxidant and works synergetically with antioxidant vitamins C & E and glutathione.
Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to handle and eliminate toxins, aids in the metabolisms of the cell, and appears to increase glucose up take into the cells..
The PDR for Nutritional Supplements says that alpha lipoic acid is a cofactor in vital energy-producing reactions in the body and it is a potent biological antioxidant. There is a lot of research showing the effects it has on pain (especially diabetic neuropathy), glucose uptake, and chelation of metals, arteriosclerosis, the production of energy and its use by the body as an antioxidant.
A friend of mine, who lives in Canada, continued to have elevated liver enzymes every time she had them checked by her alternative doctor. They said that she had a toxic liver, and regardless of everything she did, the elevated enzymes did not come down. So, their treatment for this was to give her alpha lipoic acid by IV. After this treatment, her liver enzymes quickly became normal and they have stayed there ever since.
In Germany, Alpha-lipoic acid is approved as a drug for the treatment of polyneuropathies, such as diabetic and alcoholic polyneuropathies and liver disease.
Diabetics who take alpha-lipoic acid will need to watch their blood sugars. The problem all type II diabetics has is the uptake of glucose due to the problems with insulin binding to the cell membrane. Type II diabetics are not taking in insulin. The problems is that the insulin they have is not able to do its job. Well, the alpha-lipoic acid makes the insulin much more effective and better able to “do its job” and so diabetic will notice they will need less insulin and if they continue to take insulin as they have their glucose levels could get dangerously low.
It is especially interesting to note that alpha-lipoic acid effects the oxidation of proteins and LDL-cholesterol.
Most diabetics (80%) die from a heart attacks. Arteriosclerosis is a pre-cursor to a heart attack.. There is a strong link between the oxidation of fats, plaque formation in the arteries and Arteriosclerosis.
When there are anti-oxidants abounding in the body and the oxidation of fats and proteins are not taking place, plaque formation does not occur and the arteries are softer and more pliable.. The anti-oxidant role alpha-lipoic acid plays in the body helps to prevent plaque formation and arteriosclerosis.
At one time it was believed that alpha lipoic acid was an essential vitamin. Later it was discovered that the body could manufacture it, yet in some people (particularly diabetics) it does appear that diabetics is conditionally essential.
Alpha lipoic acid is found widely in plants and animals.
My personal opinion is that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with no processed food should contain enough alpha lipoic acid to maintain health. However, at first, when a person is diabetic and trying to turn their life around, this is a good supplement to consider. It is easy to maintain health once you are there, but if you are in a pit, sometimes you need help to get up out of the hole. Once you are “delivered” then you just need to be careful of those hole so you don’t fall into them.
Therefore, herbs and supplements like alpha-lipoic acid are there to help turn people around and “pull them out of their hole” but ideally a change in diet will help them to maintain their new found health.
Goat’s Rue is one of those herbs we experimented with. We gave this herb to people we knew with diabetes. We also gave them Ampalaya (bitter melon) and Banaba. Of the three, Goat’s Rue was the most effective at lowering blood sugar.
The recommended dosage is 2 capsules at each meal. Each individual will need to check their own blood sugar and alter their dosage accordingly. Some diabetics require more help than others and some foods cause more problems with sugar levels.
One thing is for sure, Goat’s Rue is effective at lowering a persons blood sugar..
The PDR for herbal medicines says it is galegin in the herbal part of Goat’s Rue that effects blood sugar levels.
Some research has shown that Goat’s Rue effects how quickly the glucose gets into the blood stream. Under normal conditions, any carbohydrates eaten ,whether simple or complex are turned into glucose and quickly absorbed into the blood stream. This creates a “sugar spike” in the blood which in a non-diabetic person would create a subsequent insulin spike to take care of the glucose and get it into the cells or storage. However, since a diabetic person can’t get the system to work properly, they have a high sugar level for a prolonged period of time. Well, if the glucose uptake is slowed down, for example if a person eats a fat or a protein along with a little carbohydrate, then the glucose does not rush into the blood stream, but rather it enters the blood stream much slower. This is easier for the body to handle.
The unit of measure for telling us how quickly a food will digest and get glucose into the blood stream is called a glycemic index. The higher the glycemic index and larger the sugar spike in the blood and the worse the foods are for a diabetic. Therefore, diabetics should concentrate on eating low glycemic index foods. These are mostly low carbohydrate foods, fats and proteins.
Apparently one of the ways in which Goat’s Rue works is by slowing the uptake of glucose into the system. In addition, goat’s rue seems to lower glucose levels, even if a person is not eating. Unfortunately, researchers do not know the mechanism by which this takes place.
To make a tea use 1-2 teaspoons per quart of boiling water. Just add the herb to the quart jar and pour in boiling water. Let steep 20 minutes and strain. You can drink this tea with meals or in-between if you are experiencing a high sugar level in your blood.
For capsules begin by taking 2 per meal and alter this according to your diet and specific needs.
Hyssop is another herb that we have been pleasantly surprised with. People find that if they make a cup of Hyssop tea as an after dinner drink, they will significantly lower their blood sugar. It is important to monitor a persons blood sugar.
With these herbs, both the hyssop and the goat’s rue can lower the blood sugar too low (even if you are no longer taking insulin).
In Psalms David writes: “Purge me with Hyssop and I will be white as snow.” It appears even in biblical time hyssop was used medicinally for cleansing.
The PDR for Herbal Medicines and other herbal references all state that Hyssop is anti-microbial, anti-viral and anhelmintic (anti parasitical). It is also mildly spasmolytic meaning that it increases contraction of smooth muscle tissues. This means that you will see an increase in peristalsis which will mean more frequent bowl movements, and stools that are softer and healthier.
Hyssop is used in diseases of the respiratory tract for things like colds and chest and lung ailments as well as intestinal problems and it stimulates circulation.
I believe it is important to cleanse the body, the rid the body of toxins, pathogens and the increase in movement through the bowls. But these things occur over months of drinking Hyssop tea, and not instantly. However, diabetics will notice right away a lowering of their blood sugar if they drink Hyssop tea. It tastes nice and it a wonderful beverage to have at meal times or during the day.
You will need to be careful that your blood sugars do not get too low, though. Hyssop is very effective at lowering blood sugar.
Choose Hyssop (cut) if you plan to make tea. Place 4 tablespoons of herb in a quart jar and pour in boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes, strain and drink. You may chill the tea if you prefer it cold. I would recommend you drink 1 to2 quarts of tea a day.
Cinnamon bark powder is another herb you may want to try. We now carry cinnamon bark powder in capsules, or you can make your own. Just purchase the powder and the empty capsules.
People take as little as 2 capsules (1/4 tsp) a day and as many as 1-2 capsules per meal. I do know some one who tested his own blood sugar using cinnamon and did experience significant results.
Stevia Leaf and Stevia Extract Powder
Stevia leaf/herb is green and naturally sweet. This is just the leaf cut or powdered. It is unprocessed and really best used with other herbs in teas, herb blends, and beverages. Many people who use the leaf (herb) actually make a tea first and then use the tea as an ingredient in their recipe.
Stevia white extract powder is a white powder extracted from the leaves and can be used in cooking, sweetening drinks, kefir, desserts etc. It is hundreds of times sweeter than white sugar so you only need a pinch, but you can add it directly to what ever you are making to sweeten it. We do this just by taste.
Green Foods Feast and Colon Cleansing:
Green Foods helps the body by getting natural minerals and vitamins along with a myriad of other nutrients into the body. Our green foods contains lots of wild plants and other ingredients that are nutrient dense. Most of the time people with diabetes do have been living a long time with a deficient diet and products like this greatly help the body to recover.
Colon cleansing is probably a must for most people with diabetes. As a matter of fact, I have received testimonials from people who recovered from insulin just from doing colon cleansing. By cleansing the colon the body’s toxins are greatly reduced and the digestion and assimilation of nutrients is enhanced.
You can also purchase herbs for cleansing or bentonite or psyllium seed husks by themselves in our bulk products section in the left hand column of this page.
Adding normal flora back into the digestive tract once you have cleansed it is almost essential.
Virgin Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil helps the body to eliminate micro organisms that are pathogenic to the body. It also helps to lower toxins and because it is such a stable oil is helps to keep oxidized fats from forming in the body. When you use coconut oil for cooking you are treating your body to the most stable oil, the easiest to digest oil, and the most anti microbial oil available. In addition, as your body creates new cells and new cell membranes it will be using this wonderful oil and make good membranes that are more stable, will not easily oxidize or become rigid and you will find over the months and years these new cells are not nearly as resistant to insulin. As your insulin resistance ebbs your diabetes (type II) will go away.
Where do you put your extra weight?
An apple may be good for you, but an apple figure with excess weight in the middle, isn’t. The risk for heart disease goes up two and a half times for men with diabetes and the apple figure, and rises eightfold for women with diabetes and this shape.
Besides inherited genes, controllable lifestyle factors have been shown to contribute to excess fat deposits in the middle. These include alcohol, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, and excess fat or simple sugars in the diet.
Why is the apple figure risky? Fat cells located in the abdomen release fat into the blood more easily than fat cells found elsewhere. Release of fat begins 3 to 4 hours after the last meal compared to many more hours for other fat cells. This easy release shows up as higher Triglyceride (TG) and free fatty acid levels. Free fatty acids themselves cause insulin resistance.
One out of every four people in the U.S., or 80 million Americans, have insulin resistance and they are more prone to heart disease, even though they never actually develop diabetes. Excess cardiac risks found with an apple figure include: higher Triglyceride levels, lower HDL (protective cholesterol), higher blood pressure, diabetes (Type 2), and kidney disease. Often there is a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or cholesterol problems.
Do You Have An Apple Figure?
To find out whether you have an apple figure, determine your waist-to-hip ratio. With a tape measure, measure around your waist an inch above the navel. Then measure your hips at their widest point. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
A ratio over 0.8 for women, or over 1.0 for men suggests an unhealthy accumulation of fat in the middle.