If you are diabetic and fail to control your blood glucose levels, you will most likely end up with several debilitating health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, diabetic neuropathy, digestive problems, blindness, or a variety of infections.
Many of these conditions can be fatal.
So taking drugs to manage your diabetes would seem like a smart thing to do.
Not so… for several very good reasons.
Survival rates using diabetes medications
According to a research paper Benefits of Diabetes Drugs Dubious, published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in December 2014, no doctor-prescribed diabetes drug has been shown to save the life of a diabetic. There is no proof that they prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness or other diabetes complications such as the need for amputations.
High blood glucose levels are not the same as diabetes. They are signs of diabetes but they are not the disease itself. The problem is: diabetes drugs target blood sugar levels… they do not treat diabetes. But very few people die of high levels of glucose in their blood.
However they do die of the damage caused by diabetes: heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and raging infections… and diabetes drugs do nothing for them.
A peer-reviewed meta-study Comparison of Clinical Outcomes and Adverse Events Associated with Glucose-lowering Drugs in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016, showed that there was no increase in survival rates among type 2 diabetics who took diabetes medications.
The drugs failed to prevent heart attacks and strokes. They also failed to reduce all-cause mortality for these patients.
The study examined nine classes of diabetes drugs, including insulin, comparing the drugs to a placebo. The researchers reviewed more than 300 randomized clinical trials covering nearly 120,000 patients before reaching their conclusions.
Dangers of diabetes drugs
Drugs for diabetes are dangerous.
Their side effects include cardiovascular reactions, flu-like symptoms and dizziness. They have been linked to muscle and stomach pain, diarrhoea and anaemia. In addition, if diabetics are not careful, these drugs can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels.
The sad thing is that many patients take two or even three of these drugs at the same time, all prescribed by their local doctor or diabetes clinic.
But, instead of reducing deaths, this multi-drug regime increases death rates.
A research paper Effects of Intensive Glucose Lowering in Type 2 Diabetes, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, concluded that intense efforts to lower blood glucose with drugs resulted in a 22% higher rate of death from all causes. The same study showed that deaths from heart disease went up by 35%.
So what to do?
The fact is that there is no need, unless your diabetes is far advanced, to use these drugs at all. You can reverse your diabetes using diet alone, perhaps with a little extra exercise thrown in.
There is no cure for diabetes, ie once you have it you will always have it. So when I say you can reverse your diabetes, I mean you can beat the nasty consequences the disease brings such as the cardiovascular problems, strokes, kidney disease and so on.
The beating-diabetes diet is simple. It requires but a little discipline.
You can reverse type 2 diabetes by eating foods that are (1) low in sugar, (2) low in fat, (3) low in salt, (4) high in fibre and that (5) are digested slowly. The easiest way to do this is by concentrating on natural, unprocessed foods that are mostly plants. You also need to avoid all dairy products and eggs, and to drink plenty of water.
The fundamental cause of type 2 diabetes is fat blocking the receptors in your muscle cells, leaving glucose (produced by the digestive process) and insulin (produced by the pancreas) swirling around in your bloodstream. This condition is called insulin resistance.
The diet works because it minimises your intake of fat so that, after a month or so, the fat blocking the receptors in your muscle cells will have disappeared.
Unblocking the receptors ensures that the insulin can do its job of opening those receptors to get the glucose out of your bloodstream and into cells, thus ‘reversing’ your diabetes.
As well as following the beating-diabetes diet, you should also take up some mild exercise, such as walking, gardening, swimming, dancing and so on. This will help stimulate your muscle cells to use the energy (glucose) floating around in your blood stream.
In addition, you can give the beating-diabetes diet a boost in several ways:
Low levels of vitamin D3 have been linked to both pre-diabetes and full-blown diabetes. Sadly, most people have a vitamin D deficiency.
A research paper entitled Lipoprotein lipase links vitamin D, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional epidemiological study, undertaken by Chinese researchers and published in January 2013 in Cardiovascular Diabetology, showed that even a minor deficiency in vitamin D3 can increase the risk of diabetes by more than 90%.
So how do you up your intake of vitamin D3?
You can get sufficient vitamin D3 by standing around for just 10 minutes or so a day in the midday sun… provided you only wear bathing togs (even in winter) and the sun is actually shining (a rarity where I live).
You could also get plenty of vitamin D by eating oily fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon), free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, liver and dairy products. But these foods contain copious amounts of fats which you need to avoid if you are to reverse your diabetes.
For diabetics, therefore, the best way to get sufficient vitamin D3 is to take a supplement. The recommended dosage is 8,000IUs (international units) a day.
The leaves, stems and flesh (but not the skins) of the tropical guava fruit block the digestion of carbohydrates which reduces spikes in blood glucose. Consuming pealed guava also makes the development of insulin resistance less likely and helps improve the blood sugar levels of diabetics.
If fresh guava is available in your locality you should eat it daily. If not, you can get guava tea made from dried leaves at your local health food store or online. A cup a day (or more) is highly recommended.
Vanadium is a trace mineral that mimics the action of insulin.
Vanadium reduces spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels by helping to move blood glucose into muscle cells and by inhibiting the absorption of glucose from the gut.
In a study described in Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures, a book published in 1994, diabetics took daily supplements of vanadium… their average blood glucose levels dropped by 10% in only three weeks.
You can use vanadium by taking it as a supplement… 500mcg three times a day… but:
Caution: do not exceed 10mg a day.
Berberine is a plant nutrient found in the roots, rhizomes, stems and bark of medicinal herbs such as barberry, tree turmeric, Oregon grape, goldenseal, yellowroot, Chinese goldthread, prickly poppy, and Californian poppy.
In the 1980s, Chinese doctors discovered that berberine can normalize blood glucose levels. It does so by decreasing insulin resistance, by decreasing the production of sugar in the liver, and by increasing the ability to breakdown glucose inside cells.
To lower the levels of sugar in your blood, you should take a supplement… one 500mg capsule with meals two or three times a day.
Caveat: the writer of this article is not a medical doctor and his strong advice is that you consult your doctor or a staff member of the diabetes clinic you attend before you stop taking your prescribed diabetes medications.
Paul D Kennedy is a type 2 diabetic. He used his skills as an international consultant and researcher to find a way to control his diabetes using diet alone and, about seven years ago, he stopped taking medications to control his blood glucose levels.