Balance Your Blood Sugar

Balance Your Blood Sugar – Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

By Dr. Hyla Cass and Kathleen Barnes Authors of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health: A Take Charge Plan for Women

This article originally appeared on this website in June of 2013.

Have you been told your blood sugar level is “a little high?” Maybe you’ve even been diagnosed with diabetes.

If either is the case, you need to take action. Right now. It’s serious. Don’t wait till you have full-blown diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the Western world, primarily because are growing, quite literally, larger and larger and at a younger and younger age.

Once called “adult onset diabetes,” Type 2 diabetes is no longer a disease limited to middle-aged adults. Children as young as 10 are being diagnosed with it, condemning them to a short, painful life.

Whatever the patient’s age, most cases of Type 2 diabetes begin with a metabolic disorder referred to as insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

Here are the signs of metabolic syndrome:

  • Mental and physical sluggishness
  • Gain in weight that is hard to lose
  • Steady, slow escalation of blood pressure
  • Slowly rising cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Escalation of blood sugar

All of these symptoms are often written off as “part of the aging process,” but they don’t need to be. With the proper diet, exercise and supplements, these symptoms are fully reversible.

The underlying cause of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance, where your pancreas is doing its job in producing insulin to balance your blood sugar, but your body is unable to properly use the insulin, leaving an excess of sugar in your blood. Health writer Jack Challem, explains that insulin resistance is “a diet-caused hormonal logjam that interferes with your body’s ability to efficiently burn the food you eat.”

Poor diet is a major risk factor

This means that diet has everything to do with metabolic syndrome and your risk of developing diabetes. When you eat high-sugar foods, including white flour, candy, cookies, baked goods and fruit juices, your blood sugar levels rise considerably. It then creates a vicious cycle of blood sugar lows that leave you feeling weak, irritable and light-headed, prompting you to eat sugary foods to get your energy back up. The resulting sugar high is followed by another sugar crash and the desire for more sugary foods.

Diets high in sugar and processed foods are actually causing us to overdose on two elements, glucose and insulin. While they are essential to human life, in excess they are toxic.

Approximately 95% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, primarily because they eat these high-sugar foods.

Diabetes leads to other serious health risks

Not only are you risking diabetes with this type of diet, the excess glucose levels speed the aging process and set the stage for a host of serious health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even, cancer.

Those risks are in addition to the daunting side effects of Type 2 diabetes. While heart disease is the major cause of death in people with diabetes, they are also at high risk for kidney disease, macular degeneration that can lead to blindness, and circulation problems that lead to gangrene and limb amputations.

Diagnosing diabetes

Most people with diabetes are not aware they have the disease. This increases their risks for other diseases dramatically because they are continuing the unhealthy lifestyle that got them into trouble in the first place.

Here are the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing sores

An easy way to get an idea of your blood sugar status is to have a simple finger-prick blood test. If your fasting blood sugar is above 100 mg/dL, you most likely have impaired blood glucose tolerance. That’s pretty definitive unless you have an infection, recent surgery or other type of illness. If that’s the case, wait until you are well and repeat.

The definitive test for diabetes is the glucose tolerance test, where you are given a high-sugar drink, then blood is drawn at regular intervals over a period of hours to determine how well you are metabolizing the sugar.

Take action

If you have diabetes, you must take immediate action against this serious and life-threatening health problem. The good news is, you can manage and even reverse metabolic syndrome and diabetes naturally.

Your first step is obvious: Change your diet completely.

Avoid all sugary foods and products made with white flour, as well as a wide range of products you might not suspect. A known culprit in this new epidemic is high fructose corn syrup. The increasing use of this cheap, corn-based sugar parallels the rise in diabetes in America. You’ll even find HFCS in many so-called “health” foods, like Vitamin Water (drink your water straight!) so become a careful label reader.

Exercise is an essential element in your recovery program. Not only is exercise good for you in general, but when muscles are exercised, their ability to take in insulin and balance blood sugar is improved.

Finally, there are many supplements that can help you lower your blood sugar.

Among them:

  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • L-carnitine
  • Biotin
  • Chromium nicotinate
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • N-acetyl-L-cysteine
  • Bilberry
  • Cinnamon
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Milk thistle
  • Fenugreek

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