I cringe every time a patient tells me their doctor fell into this common trap: As soon as a patient’s blood test comes back with elevated glucose numbers, they put them on an oral diabetes medication, end of story. I say, not so fast.
The reality is, many of these medications contribute to weight gain, elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and heart disease—side-effects many physicians fail to warn their patients about.
I advocate a natural approach to treating elevated blood sugar levels. In all my years of practicing medicine, I’ve had great success helping my patients get their glucose numbers into a healthy range.
Here’s my 4-step plan to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, naturally:
1. Take targeted nutritional supplements. To guard against complications of the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys, take a potent, antioxidant-rich daily multivitamin to replace the nutrients that are inevitably lost as a result of the diabetic condition. To lower blood sugar, take vanadyl sulfate 100 mg, alpha lipoic acid 200 mg, chromium 200 mcg, cinnamon 500–1,000 mg, and Gymnema sylvestre 400 mg daily. These supplements may be taken individually or in combination formulas.
2. Fill up on protein and only eat healthy fats. Protein-rich foods stimulate the release of glucagon, a hormone that mobilizes fat stores into energy. It’s important to get moderate amounts of lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, eggs) at every meal. When it comes to fats, focus on the healthy ones such as extra-virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and freshly ground flaxseed.
3. Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Refined carbohydrates and sugars are rapidly broken down into glucose driving up blood sugar levels and placing an increased burden on normal metabolic processes. On the other hand, vegetables, legumes, and most fruits cause a slow, sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream—promoting healthy blood sugar control.
4. Exercise at least four times a week. When you exercise, your muscles’ energy requirements increase dramatically. That’s because they need ready access to glucose, which fuels the hungry muscle cells. To some degree, exercise appears to actually bypass the normal requirements for insulin. It increases the transport of glucose into the cells, not only while you are exercising, but for hours afterward. Thus it lowers blood glucose levels and also improves overall insulin sensitivity.
Warning: If you are currently taking an oral hypoglycemic drug, don’t stop taking it. You must work with your doctor to gradually discontinue any medication.
Now it’s your turn: Have you implemented any of these lifestyle changes to improve your blood sugar numbers?
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