We’ve all heard the expression, “sugar high,” but for those with diabetes, the words take on new meaning. If your body is resistant to insulin (the substance that manages blood sugar levels) it can no longer produce an adequate insulin supply and this “sugar high” can have serious consequences.
Because I see many diabetic patients I have spent many hours researching the affects of high blood sugar levels. The valuable information provided below might be very help for you or someone you know who should consider controlling blood sugars with more natural options.
Insulin: The Key to Blood Sugar Control
When we eat, the sugar in processed foods, sweets and refined carbohydrates is converted to glucose, a form of blood sugar. This stimulates rapid insulin production, which causes blood sugar levels to plummet. In turn, the adrenal glands send a message to the liver to release its stored supply of glucose. Thus, the bloodstream is again flooded with sugar, and the cycle continues.
In people with diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin, making it difficult to balance blood sugar. Sometimes insulin production is halted and must be obtained from an outside source.
The goal of treatment for diabetes is to supply the correct amount of insulin that will keep blood sugar levels in balance. If you have diabetes, you are certainly working in concert with your doctor on a course of treatment. However, there are many natural options for balancing blood sugar that you can explore with your doctor’s guidance. In the course of my research, I have evaluated studies suggesting the benefits of these natural remedies.
Finding a Balance
Here is a list of natural substances showing great promise for balancing blood sugar in people with diabetes. Talk to your doctor about exploring these alternative treatments.
1) Alpha-lipoic acid – Studies show this antioxidant speedily flushes glucose from the bloodstream to help prevent kidney damage. It has also been used effectively to ease symptoms of nerve damage in diabetes patients, such as burning, itching, tingling and numbness. As an antioxidant, it fights free radical damage to the cells, and may be taken in supplement form.
2) Chromium – This trace mineral shows great promise in diabetes treatment. A February 2008 study in the journal, Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, showed that it can help the body metabolize glucose at a steady rate, improving blood sugar control. It is most effective, say the study authors, when paired with biotin, the B vitamin.
3) Fenugreek – This herb appears to slow carbohydrate absorption and glucose transport in the body. It also increases the number of insulin receptors in red blood cells—an excellent benefit if you suffer from insulin resistance.
4) Cinnamon – This spice has been used medicinally for over 4,000 years. A 2008 study published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society showed that it can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. It is important to use a water-based cinnamon extract for maximum effect, as opposed to powdered cooking cinnamon.
5) Vanadium – According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a recent study showed that this compound, found in plants and animals, may regulate blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity, so that diabetes patients may potentially decrease their insulin dosage.
I hope this information has introduced you to the possibility of managing your blood sugar levels in a more natural way. New studies of these and other natural remedies are being undertaken to improve diabetes care and make patients less reliant on harsh treatments. With the help of your doctor, you will be able to find a plan that works for you and your personal health needs.