Type 2 diabetes is incredibly common, affecting about 20 million people in America. This condition occurs in individuals whose bodies either don’t create enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or cells are immune to the effects of insulin.Our bodies naturally require glucose in order to power cells, and insulin – in a healthy person – allows glucose into the cells. With type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood rather than entering the cells, leading to a lack of energy, which can eventually result in nerve, vision, heart, or kidney damage if left untreated. Without adequate control over the condition, it can also result in hypertension, stroke, loss of limbs, coma, and blindness.
Symptoms are mild in the beginning, which is why many people (30 percent of diabetics) cease to recognize they have the disease until it worsens. Many people are able to live normally if they catch their condition early on and treat it properly.
Much of the ability to treat type 2 diabetes naturally has to do with diet and exercise. Though diabetics are used to treating themselves at home regardless by measuring their blood’s glucose levels continually, there are ways to rely less on medication and reduce your costs. Those who are seeking a natural treatment in addition to regular diabetes management should first consult their doctor. There are herbal remedies as well as lifestyle choices you can make in order to improve your condition.
How to Treat Diabetes at Home
One of the best ways to create balance in your blood, as well as your total self, is to exercise regularly. When you’re being active, your muscles and bones become stronger, your breathing is improved, your bad cholesterol is reduced, and your energy increases. By taking a daily walk or incorporating any other activity into your regular life, people with diabetes can especially benefit from the way it gives your body more capacity to use insulin and regulate glucose correctly.
Eating on the Clock
Getting on a consistent schedule will help your body know what to do with incoming glucose. The stress on your body from irregular food intake, whether going too long without or eating too much at once, will be reduced immensely.
North American ginseng has been the subject of multiple studies of ginseng and diabetes, and has shown consistently promising results. Panax ginseng can potentially improve blood glucose control and levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, which monitors blood sugar levels. Several studies have shown that blood sugar levels can be lowered by consuming ginseng (the studies used 3 g doses) daily. Capsules, elixirs, and teas are available to help you accomplish this, though it should not be considered a substitute for regular treatment.
Research has shown that cinnamon can improve blood glucose regulation in diabetics on multiple occasions. It can be taken as an elixir, capsule, or tea. Of course, you can also eat powdered cinnamon. One study showed that those who took 1, 3, or 6 g cinnamon capsules experienced a noticeable reduction in fasting blood glucose levels, overall cholesterol (including LDL), and triglycerides after 40 days compared to the placebo group. Other evidence leans toward supporting cinnamon as a natural regulator of blood sugar, though more clinical trials need to take place in order to medically confirm the benefits.
Primarily known for its skin-healing qualities, the aloe plant can also benefit diabetics. Aloe vera gel has been suggested as a way to reduce a diabetic’s levels of blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in one study, whose results favored the aloe. Due to the active phytosterol compounds found in the gel, those who were studied saw an improvement in their body’s ability to use glucose.
A naturally occurring mineral found in whole grains, nuts, leafy greens and seeds, magnesium is required by the body for over 300 different biochemical reactions. The body requires magnesium to help control blood glucose levels, and the mineral could potentially help reduce insulin resistance. Magnesium is also a contributor to regular immune function, blood pressure, heart rate, and other important systems, especially to diabetics. With a high dose comes various uncomfortable side effects, and it can also interact negatively with some medications – notably those for osteoporosis and hypertension, but also certain antibiotics, diuretics and muscle relaxants.
According to several studies, olive oil may help lower blood glucose levels. Switching to olive oil when cooking or dressing your salad may contribute to reduction of blood sugar. Be warned, however, that if you are overweight, the high caloric content of olive oil may be detrimental to your weight management. Just make sure you use small amounts. You can achieve this by spraying on your oil when cooking, or using a folded paper towel lightly dipped in oil and rubbing it onto the pan.
Another essential mineral, chromium helps our bodies metabolize fat and carbohydrates, and also contributes to insulin normalcy. Studies confirm that people with diabetes have less chromium in their blood, and taken as a supplement it may be beneficial. The studies have not completely proven that taking chromium makes a difference. It can be taken in capsules, usually dosed at 500 to 1,000 mcg daily in the studies.
1. Discovery Health. Natural Home Remedies for Diabetes.
2. About.com Alternative Medicine. Natural treatments for Type 2 Diabetes.
3. Image: thelocalrose.com