According to the CDC, as of 2017, over 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
It is one of the most common diagnoses in people over 55, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hypertension. It is also a diagnosis that does not have to be life altering, if the right steps are taken.
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your doctor has probably already discussed with you the most important steps that need to be taken in order to manage your blood sugar levels.
You may already be taking a prescription medication to make you more sensitive to the insulin you produce.
Here are 5 additional steps you can consider to help increase insulin sensitivity, decrease fasting blood sugar levels, and manage your diabetes.
Some studies demonstrate that berberine can be AS EFFECTIVE as prescribed oral medications in managing both fasting blood glucose and post eating glucose levels.
This is huge if you’re someone who feels that you’ve done everything you can to manage your blood sugar and it still remains high.
Supplementation of berberine is considered safe, the recommended dosage is 500mg three times a day before you eat, and side effects are typically gastrointestinal- bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
If you tend to have a sensitive GI tract you may want to consider starting slow with this supplement and building up to the recommended dose.
Hopefully you’re already incorporating some exercise in to your life. That being said, no matter where you are, you may want to consider adding some resistance training in at least two days a week.
Not only does strength training help you keep a healthy metabolism, helps prevent falls, and protects your joints- it can also make a huge impact on your blood sugar levels!
Up until the last decade most of the research done in regards to exercise and diabetes was done specifically on Aerobic exercise, and for good reason.
Aerobic exercise uses glucose as it’s fuel source, and when we perform this type of exercise our bodies bypass the insulin transportation system and use a different transportation system altogether to get the glucose into our cells- which means when you exercise your blood glucose levels will naturally drop.
However, recently researches began to examine the effects of strength training on blood glucose. They found it to be AS EFFECTIVE and sometimes even MORE SO in dropping blood sugar levels and keeping them lower.
The added benefits of regular resistance training make me argue that if you have to choose between types of exercise- I say hit the weights. You can always make it cardio by going a little faster!
This one is probably getting a lot of eye rolls from my readers. It cracks me up the responses I get from my clients and friends when I suggest meditation as a form of treatment for all kinds of things- sleep issues, stress, chronic pain.
The thing is, meditation is a impactful in three different ways: it teaches you how to focus and control your mind, it lowers your immediate stress levels AND has a long term lasting effect, and it makes you come back to the present moment- which we all have a hard time with.
I think this is why I get so much resistance from people when I suggest meditation. It’s a lot of work to make yourself “deal” with yourself for 10 to 15 minutes, especially when there are a million other things you’d rather be doing.
But here’s the thing- stress causes cortisol levels to be up, which then raises blood sugar. If you’ve tried everything else and are still having low success managing your blood sugar- why not give meditation a try?
It can’t hurt, and you might be BLOWN AWAY by all of the positive effects it could have on your life!
I think by now just about everyone is familiar with this supplement in one form or another. Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant found in grapes, cherries, blueberries, and dark chocolate.
Its often touted as a “cure all” from it’s anti-aging effects to its positive impact on heart health. Wine companies use it to advertise why you should be drinking one glass of red wine a day.
This is probably one of the only supplements I advocate for consuming in supplement form over natural if you have chronically high blood sugar. And I only suggest this for the mere fact that this supplement has been shown to be very effective in lowering blood sugar, yet it can be a slippery slope if one tries to consume it in its natural form.
Dark chocolate can have a lot of sugar in it, I won’t advocate for alcohol consumption- it’s a toxin regardless of its purported “health benefits”, and grapes have one of the highest sugar contents in the fruit family.
The recommended dosage to see positive effects on blood sugar is over 100 mg per day.
Eliminate Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
And last but not least- one of the most hated topics of all to a diabetic. The Non-Nutritive Sweeter. AKA Splenda, Truvia, Sweet N Low, Equal…
I would like to say “I get it”- but I actually don’t. I do have a sweet tooth, but every time I eat something with splenda or aspartame in it, its BEYOND sweet. It’s like almost inedible sweet (in my opinion- sorry guys).
And I can’t do it, I can’t eat it- even if I wasn’t worried the whole time about putting those nasty chemicals in my body. But that’s not why YOU should consider eliminating all the fake sweeteners from your life.
You should consider it because more and more research is showing it does in fact impact blood glucose. Which is not as crazy as it sounds.
See, we begin the digestion of carbohydrates (where we get glucose from) in our mouths.
As soon as you put something with a carb onto your utensil and slip it between your teeth, you have special enzymes in your saliva that begin to break the food down.
This is especially useful say if you were “starving” and your blood sugar was super low- your body can start to get your sugar levels back up even before your food has entered your stomach.
But the problem is is that your brain has a hard time differentiating between real carbs and “fake” carbs (think diet soda).
So when you drink your soda or put Truvia in your tea, your brain thinks its getting real energy, and begins a hormone cascade that primes your body to receive carbs and start making glucose.
But you haven’t actually EATEN anything with carbs in it. So now you have a hormonal response without any food. If you can’t regulate your blood sugar- those little blue packets could be to blame.
The OTHER problem with all the fake sweeteners is what it might be doing to your microbiome– the bacteria in your gut that do a million different things including maintaining a healthy immune system, keeping your brain happy, and helping you digest your food.
One study suggests that fake sweeteners alter your gut bacteria which “induces glucose intolerance”. We are only just starting to understand the impact the microbiome plays in our health, but we now know that it produces up to 95% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine- two neurotransmitters directly related to depression.
So kick the habit. I know it might be hard- but if you REALLY want to find a stable blood sugar and prevent the consequences of chronically high glucose levels, you will give it a go!
The treatment and prevention of Type 2 diabetes is near and dear to my heart. I have a ton of family who have it, and I’ve watched what happens when it goes untreated and/or unmanaged. Based on heredity I will end up with it if I’m not careful.
This is why one of my missions in life is to learn all I can about it and share what I’ve learned to help people manage or even potentially reverse the disease. It’s about personal responsibility, grit, and resiliency, but you can do it! You get this one body, this one chance. Take care of it well!
Do you live in San Diego? Do you need help managing your diabetes?
Starting September 10th Crossfit Humanity is launching a 12 Week Health Transformation Program. Here you will join in Crossfit Classes, have weekly private and group health coaching sessions, and receive a road map to the best health of your life! Lose weight, get in shape, lower your blood sugar levels, and feel amazing!
Want to know more? Check it out here!