Nutritional Program for Diabetes

When patients come to me for advice about specific medical problems, they usually have been told that they need medication or surgery, and they are seeking ways to avoid those treatments. Sometimes they have already tried medications, which have produced significant side effects.

Usually, they have many treatment alternatives but they have no information about their choices. One example of effective alternatives is the reduction in blood pressure that meditation produces. Others are the dietary changes and exercise programs that lead to lowered cholesterol. Since the medical treatments for these two conditions are often more dangerous than the problems, it is worth seeking safer alternatives.

Dr. Dean Ornish has shown that patients with heart disease can often avoid surgery and reverse their heart disease with a combination of a low-fat diet, meditation, and exercise. Norman Cousins healed his ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis of the spine) with laughter and high doses of vitamin C. He wrote about his experience in the New England Journal of Medicine, and followed this article with a book, The Anatomy of an Illness. Many patients have cured their digestive disturbances simply by avoiding certain foods.

Over and over, we are seeing the results of lifestyle changes in health care. A recent scientific medical conference put on by the American College for Advancement in Medicine was entitled: Lifestyle Medicine—Medicine for the Nineties. Researchers and physicians both attended and taught at this scientific meeting. Much of it related to the role of dietary supplements in medical therapy.

Dietary supplements are among the safest and most effective choices in health care. They are almost free of side effects, they are easy to take, they are relatively inexpensive, and they usually enhance many life functions besides the specific condition for which they are being given. Following is an example of how nutritionally oriented physicians might use supplements as part of the treatment for a specific health problem. This is a suggestion that is supported in the medical literature and in the experience of many physicians.

Remember this is an example, not a prescription for you, and the supplement list is in addition to many other health practices. Other supplements may be helpful, and you may not need all of these to get results. For more information on any one supplement, look for its description in Dietary Supplements. No one program is appropriate for everybody, but these suggestions are good starting points from which individual programs can be modified.

Diabetes Treatment Programs

Diabetes mellitus (sometimes called “sugar diabetes”) is a failure to properly metabolize sugar, specifically blood glucose. It results from either the reduced function of the pancreas, which produces insulin, or more commonly from inability of the cells to respond to insulin, called insulin resistance. Insulin is essential to move sugar out of the bloodstream into the muscles, where it can be burned for energy.

There are many causes of diabetes, the most common form of which is adult onset, which is almost always the result of poor health habits and being overweight. The symptoms of diabetes are excessive thirst and hunger and frequent urination. Most of the time, adult-onset diabetes does not require insulin or the oral medications that are used to control blood sugar, and most people can be taken off medication if they follow the right diet (high fiber, high complex carbohydrate, low fat) and if they exercise.

In addition to lifestyle changes, there are specific supplements that help diabetics to control their blood sugar and to prevent complications, such as eye and vascular disorders. Even Type I diabetics (juvenile type, or insulin dependent) can reduce their insulin doses with a complete approach to blood sugar management. Nonetheless, medical supervision of diabetes is usually essential, and I do not recommend trying to manage diabetes yourself. The following nutrients may contribute to sugar control and prevention or management of diabetic complications:

Basic Multiple Formula 3 3
Vitamin C 1000 mg 3 3
Bioflavonoid mix 1000 mg 1 1
Quercetin 400 mg 1 1
Magnesium aspartate 200 mg 1 1
GLA 240 mg (from borage oil) 1
Vitamin E 400 IU natural mixed 1 1
Coenzyme Q10 200 mg 1
Ginkgo biloba extract 60 mg 1 1
Bilberry 100 mg 1 1
Chromium 200 mcg 2 2
Proanthocyanidins 50 mg mixed 1 1
Silymarin 150 mg (80% standardized) 1 1

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Written by Michael Janson MD

Explore Wellness in 2021