Managing Type 2 Diabetes: A Naturopathic Medicine Perspective

Written By: Jennifer MacDonald ND

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a decrease in insulin sensitivity. This means your cells are not recognizing insulin. Why does this matter? It matters because your cells use insulin in order to take up an important fuel source: glucose. Improving insulin sensitivity is a very important step towards avoiding the long term complications of diabetes. Long term complications of diabetes occur when blood glucose levels are not properly controlled. Excess glucose in the blood gets into the linings of both small and large blood vessels and damages them. This leads to damaged heart, kidneys, retina, and nerves (leading to reduced sensation in the hands and feet).

Treatment

Naturopathic management of type 2 diabetes utilizes a multi faceted approach, taking into consideration your current lifestyle, dietary habits, and stress levels. Management depends on what symptoms you have, how long you have had diabetes, and whether or not you are on any medication. Specific vitamins and minerals are recommended based on your needs and to prevent diabetic complications.

Nutritional counseling is a primary treatment method of naturopathic medicine and is vital to managing diabetes. No single dietary approach is appropriate for all individuals; instead dietary modifications are individualized. A good place to start is to avoid processed food, instead incorporating whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables (preferably organic).

Studies have shown exercise and weight loss are excellent ways to manage type 2 diabetes. This is because it improves insulin sensitivity and decreases blood glucose levels. If you do have type 2 diabetes, exercise and weight loss are important steps towards a healthier life. Don’t start an extreme exercise regimen, especially if you are not in shape. If you are not sure where to begin, Acutoronto is having a Healthy and Fit promotion this month.