Can I Prevent Type 2 Diabetes? - Blog # 48
Good morning! Welcome to another Friday blog. November is American Diabetes Month. The US ranks highest of all developed nations for diabetes prevalence at 30 million (11%) in ages 20-79. “Diabetes is sweeping through the Middle East, Caribbean, and Latin American regions, as well as the multiple nations making up the Pacific Islands.” India has 69 million and China has 110 million with diabetes. Today I wanted to take a closer look at this ever more prevalent chronic disease and what we can do to prevent and treat this problem. So, what is Type 2 Diabetes?
T2D (Type 2 Diabetes-adult onset) is characterized by insulin resistance, high blood sugar and relative lack of insulin produced. It is due to lack of exercise, obesity and poor quality of nutrition. In fact, prevalence of diabetes parallels rise in obesity, and is happening in younger people. When we eat a high carbohydrate diet, particularly high in simple sugars, we overwork the pancreas, whose job it is to make insulin. Our pancreas makes insulin to meet the high demand of sugar in the blood. Over time, the pancreas can become quite fatigued and produce less insulin from β-cells. Insulin binds to glucose, then binds to an insulin receptor on the cell to deliver glucose for energy. However, when this system is overworked and fatigued, the affinity (attraction) of the receptors to insulin declines. This is insulin resistance. Now, you have insulin and glucose circulating in the blood (like ships loaded with goods in the harbor) with no place to dock. Cell’s can’t get their glucose, so cell death occurs. When enough cells die from this, we start to have symptoms. Guess what? The number one cause of high blood pressure (HTN) is hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood). Why? Because insulin and glucose are toxic to our blood vessels, causing inflammation, resulting in calcium deposits and plaques in the blood vessels.
Symptoms can include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss (usually muscle mass), hunger, fatigue, slow-healing or non-healing sores. “Long-term complications from high blood sugar include heart disease, strokes, diabetic retinopathy which can result in blindness, kidney failure, and poor blood flow in the limbs which may lead to amputations.”
Let’s look at what insulin-resistance with subsequent insulin in the blood does:
- suppresses breakdown of adipose (fat) tissue = metabolic syndrome
- promotes synthesis of adipose (fat) tissue = NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), metabolic syndrome
- promotes glycogen and lipid (fat) synthesis in muscle
- suppresses glucagon production = hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- contributes to NAFLD = metabolic syndrome
- suppresses lipolysis (fat breakdown) and gluconeogenesis (glucose synthesis) from muscle amino acids
- increases inflammation in endothelium (lining blood vessels) = HTN
- acts in concert with growth hormone
- glucocorticoids promote muscle catabolism (breakdown) = muscle atrophy
- glucose uptake into muscles accounts for 60-70% of whole-body insulin-mediated uptake. WOW! 😳
- Suppresses protein catabolism (insulin deficiency promotes) = muscle atrophy
- promotes release of vasoconstrictor ‘endothelin’ = HTN
- inhibits NO (nitric oxide) production - a major factor in large arteries mediating endothelial-dependent relaxation = HTN
- enhances platelet aggregation, contributing to atherosclerosis = HTN
Understand that this affects every organ system in the body! So, higher levels of insulin makes us more fat, lose muscle mass, have high blood pressure, contributes to atherosclerosis, sets us up for heart attack or stroke, increases inflammation, is linked to Alzheimer’s, affects vision and causes neurological problems…WOW!!!!! This is very bad. We definitely do not want high insulin!
“There are a number of medications and other health problems that can predispose to diabetes. Some of the medications include: glucocorticoids, thiazides, beta blockers, atypical antipsychotics, and statins.” So, blood pressure and cholesterol meds can cause type 2 diabetes! Yep. Scary. You try to treat one thing and it causes another problem!
What can we do to prevent and reverse T2D and insulin-resistance? It makes sense that we need to control how much insulin is being dumped into the bloodstream. Think high good fat, good protein, very low sugar! Carbohydrates need to come primarily from veggies.
- Lower/eliminate foods that induce insulin spikes - simple carbohydrates, fried foods, potatoes, chips, crackers, high glycemic foods
- Eat low glycemic fruits and veggies - berries, olives, melons, avocados, citrus, peaches, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cruciferous, asparagus, onions, garlic
- Eat fatty wild-caught fish for those omega 3s - salmon, shrimp, oysters, trout, nuts, seeds, seaweed, algae - eat a variety to get ALA, DHA, EPA! DHA and EPA are super important and primarily found in fish, ALA is found in plants.
- Eat grass-fed beef - high in B vitamins, vitamins A, E, up to 6x higher in omega 3s than feedlot beef, antioxidants, iron, contains all amino acids needed by our body
- Exercise - improves function of insulin-binding receptors! Improves cellular uptake of insulin, decreasing blood sugar and blood insulin levels. Daily walking, moderate exercise, resistance exercise
- IF (intermittent fasting) - stimulates Autophagy - check out blog #41! - minimum is 16 hours, but you get a host of benefits to go longer, even up to 72 hours. It is a clean up and recycle process the body does to take care of misfolded or mutant proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules in order to maintain cellular homeostasis. It declines with age, contributing to a build up of harmful protein aggregates, damaged mitochondria (powers the cell) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Our bodies literally will take the ‘trash’ and recycle it to make antioxidants and new proteins and enzymes to aid in correcting all the mistakes and damage. - Guess what? EVOO stimulates autophagy!
- Vitamin D - “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a decreased insulin release, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in experimental and epidemiological studies. Animal studies show that 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) stimulates the pancreatic β-cell to secrete insulin. The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and insulin resistance could develop through inflammation, as vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammatory markers.” Guess what? MOST people are vitamin D deficient!!! Take a vitamin D3 to help. We don’t synthesize it from the sun as well when we get older. Also, the more melanin in your skin, the less vitamin D you synthesize.
- Potassium - “Studies show that people with low potassium levels release less insulin, have higher blood sugar levels, and are more likely to get type 2 diabetes than those with normal potassium levels.”
- Magnesium - “higher dietary magnesium intake is strongly associated with the attenuation of insulin resistance and is more beneficial for overweight and obese individuals in the general population and pre-menopausal women. Moreover, the inverse correlation between insulin resistance and dietary magnesium intake is stronger when adjusting for %BF than BMI.”
- Vitamin K2 - Removes calcium from blood vessels and prevents deposits on blood vessels. “Vitamin K2 supplementation for 4 weeks increased insulin sensitivity in healthy young men.” Vitamin K1 (in plants) is synthesized to the active version (K2) by our gut microbiota!!! So, if your gut microbes are out of balance, you may be low in this vitamin as well. You can also get this in grass-fed butter and beef. (I’m sure my brother was deficient as a child. He used to get under the bed with a whole stick of butter and eat it).
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) - acts directly to lower blood sugar, much like metformin. Take on an empty stomach before meals.
- Pre/Probiotics - Fix your gut microbes. Nearly everyone is out of whack due to glyphosate, pesticides, and additives to our food.
- Eat Fermented foods - replenishes good microbes and provides vitamins - sauerkraut, plain Greek yogurt, kefir, kimchi…
- EVOO - Oleic Acid acts directly on endothelium to improve vascular pliability, preventing platelet aggregation. The polyphenols in EVOO are powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer! In the blood vessels, oleuropein (just one of the many polyphenols) has anti-platelet aggregation, vasodilation, hypotensive, anti-rheumatic, antipyretic and diuretic effects. It exerts its ability to prevent free radicals by chelating metal ions, such as Cu and Fe that catalyze free radical generation, therefore preventing oxidation of LDLs (low-density lipoproteins). It inhibits oxidative stress and hyperglycemia (T2D).
A study published in 2019 in the journal Nature found that a high fat diet (HFD) using EVOO as the primary fat, reversed insulin resistance and restored function of β-cells in the pancreas in insulin-resistant mice. “HFD-EVOO diets significantly improved glycemia, insulinemia, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and insulin degradation. Moreover, EVOO diets reduced β-cell apoptosis (cell death), increased β-cell number and normalized islet glucose metabolism and glucose induced insulin secretion.” EVOO acts on the liver, which sends a communication to the brain that no glucose is needed in the circulation. This process shifts the fuel source to burning stored fat, allowing the pancreas to rest, while enhancing cellular uptake of glucose, stimulating autophagy and weight-loss.
Okay guys, now I need to share with you the absolute BEST tidbit of information I found in my research on ingesting EVOO with regard to weight-loss. It is 2 fold.
- DRINKING a large dose (approx 4T) of EVOO sends signals to the liver to open bile ducts.(Global Healing Center, Oct 2017) Whatever has been previously stuck can move out much easier. This sludge and bile is literally removed from your body via poop. And…everybody poops! LOL. Some people have reported liver and gallbladder stones released from their body. (If you suspect you have issues consult your MD)
- Oleic acid signals the hypothalamus (in the brain) that the body doesn’t need any more nutrients to be dumped into the circulation, providing a signal of “nutrient abundance”, producing an anorectic effect. Don’t worry! This just means it is telling your body it has plenty of nutrients it needs to carry on. To understand what it is doing, you can think of it like an on and off switch. On, means your body is in a mode of using carbohydrates (sugars) for fuel. The Off switch means your body switches to burning stored fat for fuel while curbing appetite. OMG!!!! Yes please!!! (diabetes.diabetesjournals.org)
A study looked at daily EVOO consumption in people with MetS (metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance) and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). They found that “consumption of high-OC (Oleocanthal) EVOO beneficially affected the anthropometric parameters evaluated, with a reduction in body weight, BMI and waist circumference. Furthermore, although subjects did not change their lifestyle or eating habits, 2 months of dietary intervention with olive oil were enough to significantly reduce those parameters.” Now, it took 2 months of daily EVOO to move the fat from the organs to subcutaneous (under the skin). This is the point where your body can access the fat to burn for fuel! So, EVOO will literally reverse NAFLD and insulin resistance, but it takes about 2 months, depending on where you are in the disease process!!
Okay guys! T2D can be prevented and reversed!!! Let FOOD be your medicine. You can eat deliciously and amazingly well on a low carbohydrate, high EVOO/good fat diet. Don’t think you can never have a cheat now and then, just be aware of what you are giving your body to work with. The right tools for the right job is crucial. Your body is no different. Learning how our body uses food is key so that we can make wise choices!!!! Your car probably won’t run on diesel fuel. Why would you put it in your tank? Same with your body. Be strategic!!
So, until next time my friends, drink, drizzle, digest high polyphenol EVOO, eat wild-caught fatty fish rich in Omega 3s, eat foods high in lutein for your eyes, drink lots of water, get a good pre/probiotic, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, get plenty of sleep and...turn off the light!! #EVOO