You Can Reverse Pre-Diabetes!
What’s the biggest epidemic in America? It’s pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome. Pre-diabetes is a result of our largely inactive lifestyle and the way most of us eat. And if we don’t do something about it, we’re likely to develop full-blown diabetes, with all its associated health problems. Research has shown, however, there is much you can do now to reverse pre-diabetes and ward off diabetes.
Most people with pre-diabetes do not have symptoms, but some do note subtle symptoms of fatigue and brain fog. Normal blood sugar levels are 70-100 mg/dl after a fasting glucose test. With pre-diabetes, the level is 100-125 mg/dl. (Above 125 mg/dl is considered diabetic.) Sometimes, people with pre-diabetes have normal blood sugar levels but high insulin levels, at least initially. So, in addition to having your fasting blood sugar levels, it’s a good idea to have your insulin levels checked, especially if you’ve had apparent episodes of low blood sugar.
Pre-diabetes is a reversible condition. But to get it under control, you need to work on it from several fronts. Here are the three best things you can do if you’ve had blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range. You should see results in three months or less.
1. Exercise. Sustained low-to-moderate aerobic exercise is best. Find things you can work up to doing for about 45 minutes, six days a week, at 40-55% of your maximum target heart rate. Walking, swimming and biking are good choices. Exercise actually reduces insulin resistance in muscle cells and lowers blood sugar levels. Plus, it will help you to lose weight and keep it off.
2. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates. Most people do better sticking with an anti-inflammatory, Mediterranean-type diet. That means reasonable-size portions, lots of vegetables, salads, and fresh, broiled fish, fruit for dessert, and olive oil as your main fat. Whole grains like oats and barley, with occasional al dente pasta, are OK, too.
3. Take supplements that have been clinically proven to help balance blood sugar.
- Chromium: This essential mineral can significantly improve glucose tolerance and even increase the number of insulin receptors on cells. Most people don’t get enough. Take 400-1,000 mcg of chromium a day. Chromium picolinate is the most active form. Most multivitamins don’t have enough chromium to reverse pre-diabetes.
- Magnesium: In one study, people who got the most magnesium (most took supplements) cut their risk for pre-diabetes by about 30%. Magnesium may directly regulate cellular glucose metabolism through its role as a cofactor for a number of relevant enzymes and through its influence on calcium levels. High intake of magnesium is also associated with lower blood pressure and triglycerides, smaller waist circumference, and higher HDL cholesterol. Most people don’t get nearly enough. Take at least 400 mg of supplemental magnesium a day.
- Vitamin D: Low blood levels of vitamin D interfere with the proper function of insulin-producing cells. Low vitamin D levels also result in an increase in the risk of insulin resistance, even in otherwise healthy individuals. Studies also suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency in early life and the later onset of type 1 diabetes. Many people don’t get enough D. We recommend at least 1,000-2,000 IU, but you may need more, much more, if you are really low. Your doctor can check your blood levels, and we think that is well worth it.
- Fish oil: Take 1,400-2,800 mg of fish oil a day to improve insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides.
- Biotin: This B vitamin also enhances insulin sensitivity. Take biotin as part of a high-B complex or multivitamin. We recommend 300 mcg a day.
- Cinnamon extract: This spice seems to stimulate insulin receptors on cells the same way that insulin does, lowering blood sugar by as much as 30%. While some cinnamon daily is safe, it’s better to take a water-soluble extract, which has all toxins removed and is fully absorbed.
- Curcumin: This component of the spice, turmeric, has been known to improve insulin resistance and regulate spikes in blood glucose levels. To get the high amounts of curcumin needed, we recommend a standardized extract containing at least 95% curcuminoids.
- Gymnema: An extract of this plant boosts insulin production and reduces blood sugar levels. It even seems to reduce sugar cravings. We recommend 800 mg a day of gymnema for people with pre-diabetes.
- Madeglucyl: This patented extract is derived from the seeds of the Syzgium cumini plant, which has long been used around the world to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. Madeglucyl helps to reduce blood sugar levels by stimulating release of insulin.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Think of prediabetes as an early warning signal. You still have time to reverse the condition and avoid having to take drugs. Exercise, dietary changes and nutritional supplements can all help you keep your blood sugar normal.
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Article updated on: November 11th, 2009