Type 2 Diabetes
Of all different diabetic types, Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is the most common, affecting 90-95% of diabetic patients.
The cause of Type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. What is insulin resistance? Well, we need to start with the pancreas first, a long, narrow organ that sits behind the stomach. The pancreas has two main functions: make digestive enzymes and make hormones.
Insulin is a hormone made in the beta cells in the islets of Langerhansin the pancreas. It is released into the blood and travels though-out the body, landing on insulin receptors on body cells. The cells that have the most amount of receptors are the fat cells, liver cells, and muscle cells. In a study of rat adipose cells, there were found to be 100,000 insulin receptors per each individual cell wall. We can suppose there are similar amounts on human cells as well.
Insulin does several things in our bodies: it increases the uptake and utilization of glucose, turns glucose into fat and glycogen, and prevents metabolism of that fat and glycogen. In other words, insulin is an energy storage hormone and helps the body make more fat, keep it stored and not metabolized.
When insulin is released from the pancreas, it goes to a cell’s receptor and stimulates the cell to absorb glucose from the blood. When the cell becomes “insulin resistant” it no longer responds to the “glucose absorption” signal insulin is trying to stimulate. As a result, the glucose is not absorbed into the cell, stays high in the blood and is noted by a medical practitioner in a lab test. When the glucose in the serum gets to a certain cut-off point, the person is diagnosed with diabetes.
There are many reasons a person becomes insulin resistant:
1. Over-eating: Eating too many calories is well known as causing a person to get fat.
2. Under-exercising: Not burning those calories off is a wonderful way to gain weight, and develop insulin resistance.
3. Gaining weight (especially abdominal fat): The end result usually of over-eating and under-exercising, abdominal fat is particularly irritating to the body and particularly associated with inducing insulin resistance.
4. Nutrient deficiencies: Poor diets may not contain all the vital nutrients a body needs and higher glucose levels may cause the loss of some minerals in the urine. Many nutrients are required to make, secrete and utilize zinc effectively, and help the cells absorb glucose. A few nutrients needed for those processes include zinc, chromium, omega-3 oils, magnesium, potassium, alpha lipoid acid, and vanadium.
5. Too many carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are a type of a food group, and consist of grains, fruits, vegetables, sugars. Not all carbs equally cause insulin resistance; for example, eating one or two cups of asparagus will not cause Type 2 diabetes, but, eating a lot of white, refined sugar and huge plates of pasta might! So, the idea here is eating a lot of refined sugar (obvious in so many foods, and hidden in more foods) is the trouble.
6. Hormonal imbalances: Low thyroid hormone, elevated cortisol or epinephrine, low testosterone (in men), and elevated testosterone pre-menopausally or given as a medicine to a post-menopausal woman can all be problems with either weight gain or actually initiating insulin resistance.
7. Gut Dysbiosis: Gut dysbiosis means that an intestine does not have a healthy collection of bacteria in it. Gut bacteria can promote systemic (body-wide) insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance. Problematic changes in the gut bacteria amounts and quality can help cause insulin resistance. These changes occur due to antibiotics, over the counter medications, prescription medications, poor diet, over-eating, low fiber and fermented food intake, and other reasons.
8. Environmental toxins: Toxins, which are chemicals or metals that cause damage to the human body, are shown to increase the risk of developing insulin resistance.
9. Genetics: Type 2 diabetes does run in families. However, that doesn’t mean any individual in the family has to develop it. Diabetes is one of the most easily preventable conditions. Dealing with all the etiological factors in this section can certainly significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes, even if your grand-parents, your parents, and your siblings have it.
10. Poor sleep: Not getting enough sleep or enough good sleep can increase your risk for developing obesity and insulin resistance.
11. Stress management: Feeling stressed out frequently can stimulate cortisol and epinephrine secretion. They are adrenal hormones that stimulate glucose release form the liver, which can then be absorbed into the abdominal fat and cause insulin resistance.
12. Inflammation: Abdominal fat and poor diets are very pro-inflammatory. That means the body forms inflammatory chemicals that promote insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is basically diagnosed when fasting glucose is >125 mg/dL, or post-prandial glucose (after eating) is >200 mg/dL. It is associated with “Metabolic Syndrome,” when a patient has abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
In conventional care, the average doctor visit lasts from 9-25 minutes, with the most common time being 13-16 minutes. Diabetes is treated with either prescription medications or bariatric surgery. The average person is put on a medication at diagnosis, a second one within 3 years, a third one without 5 years, and then insulin. Due to poor control the patient then develops diabetes complications.
None of that has to happen!
The LCDA believes that longer office visits are required to cover all the basics of The Eight Essentials™: diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, the microbiome, detoxification, supplementation and medications. In these way the etiological factors of insulin resistance can be fully addressed. This includes going over lab results, a diet diary and a glucose graph, and setting up a comprehensive integrative protocol. The LCDA believes in empowering people to become Victors over their diabetes instead of Victims to it.
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