Optimizing Your Diabetic Health
Guest Post by Julie George, ND
Do you want to achieve better health? Being diagnosed with diabetes can be life changing. As you know, it is important to maintain regular eye appointments along with laboratory and medication management with your provider. But what else is there? As a naturopath, I treat the whole person. Even if you think you have an incurable disease, it is important to be proactive in your health. People with an autoimmune disease are at an increased risk of developing another one. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, then depending on how advanced it is, you could experience significant improvement.
Having a healthy diet is required for proper diabetes management. Diabetes is an inflammatory disease process, therefore it is important to reduce inflammatory foods in the diet. This is unique to each individual. Food sensitivity testing, along with other advanced testing, can help you figure out which foods could be promoting overall inflammation. In general, eating a lower carbohydrate diet, colorful vegetables, quality proteins, and good fats is essential. Fruits should be kept to 1-2 servings per day, and be lower glycemic, like blueberries. Discontinuing chemical sugar substitutes is ideal. Improving gut health is important for your overall immune system.
If you have diabetes, then you may be deficient in vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to diabetes. Medications are notorious for depleting vitamins and nutrients within the body. Metformin has been linked to Vitamin B12 deficiency. Testing your Vitamin D3 level is important to do each year. Advanced testing can determine your vitamin and nutrient levels. Maintaining proper nutrition is key to optimizing your health. Antioxidants have been shown to be beneficial in patients with diabetes. There are several herbs that, when taken properly, can help balance blood sugar. Don’t guess on which supplements you should take – seek expert advice from a licensed professional.
We all know that exercise is important. Make yourself a priority by scheduling your workouts. Start doing something that you can do and will enjoy, such as chair yoga, power walks, fitness classes, and/or free workouts on YouTube.
Do you know that mental and physical stress can cause your glucose to rise or fall depending on if you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes? This happens when your stress hormones are released, which triggers the release of glucose. When the stress hormone, cortisol, is out of balance, it can make it more difficult to control your diabetes. I recommend an advanced cortisol test which takes four samples four times throughout the day. There are many tools that can help reduce your stress such as deep breathing, moderate exercise, meditation practice, spiritual practice, laughter, gratitude journals, etc. Pick something that brings joy and make it a priority.
Did you know that toxins have been linked to diabetes? Arsenic has been associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. Arsenic is often found in high amounts in well water, copper smelters, and among glass workers. However, apple orchards used to spray a pesticide that contained arsenic to combat pests, thus the soils in and near old orchards could be high in arsenic. This could be a problem for us in Washington, since apple trees are all around us.
High levels of PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) have been associated with diabetes. PCBs were banned in the United States since 1978. However, you can still be exposed to PCBs. PCBs were used in electrical devices and carbonless copy paper. PCBs have become a problem with our food supply and are often high in fish and dairy. These toxins store in your fat and cause health problems.
There are numerous chemicals that interfere with your health. Advanced testing can determine your level of arsenic and PCBs. Patients can undergo detoxification plans that are specific to the toxins that are stored within the body.
In addition to conventional medicine, there are other options to help promote wellness. Anti-inflammatory diets, proper nutrient levels, exercise, stress reduction, and reducing your toxic burden will help you achieve optimal health.
Julie George, ND is the founder of Rivercreek Wellness in Spokane Valley, WA. She focuses on treating patients with chronic diseases through functional laboratory testing, environmental medicine, and other natural medicines.