Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.
If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
In diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body can’t respond normally to the insulin that is made (type 2 diabetes). This causes glucose levels in the blood to rise, leading to symptoms such as increased urination, extreme thirst, and unexplained weight loss.
The two types of diabetes have different causes. Type one diabetes, previously known as early-onset diabetes, is primarily genetic, although environmental factors like exposure to some viruses and chemical anti-biotics have been implicated. Type one diabetes is currently thought to be unpreventable, but it can be treated successfully.
Type two diabetes, responsible for 90% of reported cases, has been commonly referred to as a “lifestyle disease”, due to the strong links with poor exercise and diet.
- Family history
- Weight (the single best predictor of diabetes is the amount of fatty tissue in the body)
- Ethnicity (People of African, Asian, and Indigenous descent are at higher risk)
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood
- Fruit consumption
- Consumption of sugary soft-drinks
- Diet rich in sugar and fat
- Alcohol consumption
Some types of diabetes have no symptoms, and can go undiagnosed for a long time, but some common symptoms can include:
- being more thirsty than usual
- passing more urine
- feeling tired and lethargic
- slow-healing wounds
- itching and skin infections, particularly around the genitals
- blurred vision
- nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- mood swings.
Diet and Lifestyle Considerations for Diabetes
- Staying active can help to ameliorate symptoms
- Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet
- Avoid full-cream dairy, cheeses, and butter
- Limit processed or fatty meats
- Eat more cold-water fish, like salmon, sardines, and tuna
- Increase your consumption of ‘good fats’ like in avocado or olive oil
- Try to cut out processed sugar as much as you can.
- Try to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.
- Increase your consumption of high-fibre, high-protein foods like nuts, legumes, and kale.
Integrative Treatments Overview
In order to obtain optimal results, the patient might consider a holistic approach that integrates several treatments to address biochemical, physiological, energetic, emotional and/or spiritual imbalances. These treatments can include Allopathic Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Biomedicine, Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, Energy Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Ayurvedic, muscular-skeletal support, Psychology and more. It’s important that treatments are overseen by experienced and certified practitioners who are able to work in teams (see below for where to find one).
For Treatment options see Treatments menu at mindd.org
Nutritional & Environmental Medicine Overview
Nutritional & Environmental practitioners focus on cellular health by optimising nutrient uptake while minimising toxic exposure. Biomedicine, Functional Medicine and Orthomolecular Medicine are all subsets. The overall goal is to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which are key drivers in chronic modern disease (e.g. asthma is inflammation of the lungs, arthritis is inflammation of the joints, eczema is inflammation of the skin, IBS involves inflammation of the gut and ADHD and Autism include inflammation of the brain). A combined approach of diet, lifestyle and natural therapies supports the body’s innate ability to heal and prevent disease by maintaining homeostasis (balance).
It is recommended that a patient consult a certified practitioner to assess their symptoms and case history and explore their individual need to:
- Screen for food sensitivities and allergies
- Implement dietary intervention geared to the individual (e.g. GAPS, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, FodMAPS, Evolutionary, low oxalate/salicylate, Ketogenic)
- Supplement with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics
- Improve gastro-intestinal health to support the vagus nerve and brain and immune function
- Support neurotransmitter function
- Supply fat soluble nutrients for brain structure and function
- Reduce toxicity and heavy metal accumulation
- Minimise infections (e.g. bacteria, yeast, virus, parasites) to reduce immune response and nutritional deficiencies that can impact on mental and physical health
- Regulate blood glucose and establish healthy eating habits
- Use energy healing (acupuncture, homeopathy, kinesiology, Emotional Freedom Technique)
Where can I find a certified practitioner?Finding a well-trained Integrative and/or Functional practitioner requires research but is a vital step in treating complex and chronic illness.
Below are links to lists of practitioners worldwide. We recommend you research the scope, expertise and experience of any practitioners you are considering.
U.S. & GlobalInstitute of Functional Medicine
Integrative Medicine for Mental Health
Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs (MAPS)
Australia & New ZealandMindd Foundation
The Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM)
UKThe British Society for Ecological Medicine
Disclaimer: Mindd Foundation does not endorse any specific individuals listed and makes no representations, warranties, nor guarantees and assumes no responsibility for any services provided. Mindd Foundation expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind as a result of using any products or services provided by those listed.