Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Effective holistic treatments for Type 2 Diabetes/So young and so many pills

I hope all is well. Many people probably ate too much during the holiday season and snow-in days. So let’s talk about holistic treatments of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (we will symbolize it as DM for the rest of the letter) which is 90% of the Diabetic patients.

Type 2 DM occurred in 1 out of 10 Americans now, and we have been seeing more and more children and teens with this life style disorder- eating wrong food, lack of exercise and overweight. Most people don’t know that Type 2 DM has very effective natural treatments and medication is rarely needed to control the sugar level.

No one can deny the most effective treatment for type 2 DM is weight control. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance which causes type 2 DM. Like every health problem, the treatment is always starting with eating right food. Patients should eat low carb diet, avoid the carb from refined grains or Gluten if Gluten sensitive. So carb from vegetables and not-sweet fruits, and small amount of brown rice, quinoa, millets or buckwheat is enough for most patients. Refine sugars, especially artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all cost.

Sufficient high quality protein contain all variety of amino acids is essential. Vegans need to get them from many kinds of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds because one single plant does not have all essential amino acids we need. But if do it right, vegetarian is still the healthiest diet for human.

Sufficient amount of good fat is also important with omega 3, 6, 9 and saturated fats and unsaturated fats balanced. Most people missed omega 3 from fish and saturated fat like coconuts oil. Fat taken at the right way is good for you, but fat-substitutes made from vegetable oils like margarines are bad. Just don’t take artificial substitutes of anything.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to control DM by making tissue sensitive to insulin again and losing weight. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week can do wonder to our sugar levels. Vitamins and mineral supplements are also important, especially Chromium, Vitamin D, B complex and alpha-lipoic acid. Certain herbs like Gymnema Sylvestre and cinnamon were found to be very helpful as well.

My clinical experience has shown a close connection between hormone imbalance and DM. I have found most DM patients have adrenal and thyroid hormones imbalance. Many of my DM patients see their sugar level improved with easier weight loss after bioidentical hormone replacement.

Diabetic medication has many side effects and can be avoided for most patients with the above program. An article in the Wall Street Journal (12.28.10) was titled, “So Young and So Many Pills.” This article pointed out that more than 25% of kids and teens in the U.S. take prescription drugs on a regular basis. Of those drugs, 424,000 prescriptions were given to non-insulin Diabetes at 2009, 5,224,000 prescriptions were for hypertension, and 94,000 were Statins for high cholesterol.

From the time I started my pediatric practice 25 years ago and the following ten years, I rarely seen any kids with those conditions. Now the children are getting those traditional adult onset chronic conditions their parents got at their 40th and their grand parents got at 60th. Within the past 10-15 years, three generations of our population developed those life style diseases around the same time, not the same age. These children will most likely take those drugs for the rest of their life and add more as they grow.

We have to really think what this will do to all of us, our health care system and our future. We need to stop this quick fix with a pill mentality and work hard to remove the problems from the roots. The problem is so profound now that it is not enough just to take care of ourselves; we need to help our families, friends and coworkers. We also need to do something at our legislation and government level. If not, we will have to pay it with our tax dollars, our retirement funds or even with our jobs - an unhealthy health care system like this can cripple our whole economy.

Let’s all work hard for a happier and healthier 2011.

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