Recently we looked at type 1 diabetes – what it is, and naturopathic solutions to help manage it.
But, as the name suggests, it’s not the only type of diabetes.
Today we’ll take a closer look at type 2 diabetes, and its symptoms and causes.
In addition, we’ll discuss natural solutions to help manage this disease.
If you want further advice or help in managing your type 2 diabetes, consider booking a naturopathic consultation for more advice and help to keep your diabetes under control.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use the insulin it creates properly.
It affects the metabolism of sugar, preventing it from moving into cells where it is needed to create energy, and instead causes sugar to remain in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar.
As the disease progresses, the body may lose its ability to produce enough insulin.
What’s The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes , the body does not produce insulin, which requires people with it to replace insulin either using an insulin pump or injections.
Type 2 diabetes means the body still produces insulin, but is unable to use it properly.
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Some symptoms which can indicate the presences of type 2 diabetes early on include:
- Feeling hungry all the time
- Blurred vision
- Low energy
- Itchy skin
- Feeling tired
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Constant urination
Symptoms which can develop over a long period of time are:
- Numbness and tingling, especially in the hands and feet
- Frequent yeast infections
- Pain in the feet
- Cuts and sores taking a long time to heal
- Dark patches of the skin
Potential Complications From Type 2 Diabetes
Left unmanaged, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications, which have the potential to affect all organs.
Some of these complications include:
- Cardiovascular diseases, including angina, heart attack, and stroke
- Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin
- Loss of hearing
- Nerve damage
- Retinal damage resulting in glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness
If an individual with diabetes is pregnant, they will need to monitor their condition carefully to avoid complications such as:
- Harming the baby’s organs as they develop
- Overweight baby
- Complications during pregnancy, labour, and delivery
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
It can be difficult to pinpoint the precise cause of type 2 diabetes, however, there are a number of contributing risk factors which can make someone more likely to develop it.
Some of these factors are as follows:
- Darkened skin around the neck and armpits, which can indicate insulin resistance
- Being overweight
- Storing fat in the abdominal area
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Inactive lifestyle
- Prediabetes – a condition where blood sugar is higher than average
- Age – risk increases as you get older
- Sex – women are more prone to diabetes.
- Ethnicity – individuals of certain ethnicities, including Black, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indigenous people are at higher risk
- Socioeconomic status – a 2017 paper found a connection between lower socioeconomic status and diabetes.
Naturopathic Treatments For Type 2 Diabetes
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there a number of natural solutions you can use to help manage it, and keep your blood sugar under control.
Keep reading to learn more about some of these.
Fenugreek is a seed which can help slow digestion of sugar and carbohydrates, resulting in lower blood sugar levels.
A 2017 study in the journal Ayu, found that eating fenugreek seeds, along with other measures such as controlling diet and exercise, had significant impacts on blood glucose levels compared to the control group.
It may also help to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and lower cholesterol levels.
Ginger has been used by practitioners of traditional medicine for thousands of years, typically for digestive issues.
One 2015 study looked at the effect of using ginger as a way to provide treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The study showed ginger aided in lowering blood sugar levels, but not insulin levels.
This suggests that ginger may help lower insulin resistance, but more research is needed on the exact mechanism of how this works.
3. Gymnema Sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre is an herb from India which may help curb sugar cravings and lower blood sugar levels.
A review in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes displayed signs of improvement when taking Gymnema sylvestre.
4. Aloe Vera
You may think of aloe vera as a plant which can be used to help sooth sore skin and sunburns, however it has other uses as well.
One review found aloe vera may repair and protect the cells of the pancreas which produce insulin in rats.
If taking aloe, it’s important to get aloe products specifically meant for ingestion, and not to eat or drink products meant to be applied topically to the skin.
Typically thought of as a way to add flavour to baked goods, or your morning latte, cinnamon may also have a role to play in managing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
One review in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology found cinnamon to have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight.
Factors which can affect the type of cinnamon include the dosage, type of cinnamon being used, and how an individual responds to it.
Additionally, more research needs to be done on the effects of using cinnamon on humans.
Eating A Type 2 Diabetes Diet
If you have type 2 diabetes, consider adapting a diet which can help manage this disease.
A type 2 diabetes diet includes foods which will not cause blood sugar to spike, such as complex carbohydrates including whole wheat, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, and lentils.
Additionally, including healthy fats and proteins in your diet can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates and help you feel full after eating.
Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic
Are you dealing with a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, and need help navigating the best ways to keep this disease from getting out of control?
Do you want some guidance on which of the natural solutions mentioned in this article would be best suited for you, or help to create a diet plan which you can stick to?
Or perhaps you are at high risk of developing diabetes and want to take action to prevent a future diagnosis.
Annex Naturopathic is here to help.
We will work with you to create a plan to help you manage your diet and other risk factors, or get your existing condition under control.
Contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND