Are you ready to get real about diabetes?
Ninety million people have type 2 diabetes in the US. The CDC estimates people diagnosed with diabetes incur $16,750 annually in medical expenses. Not to mention all the diseases and higher mortality caused by type 2 diabetes. I’d love for us to get real about diabetes, and I’m here to tell you how.
How do you know if you have type 2 diabetes?
The first way to get real about diabetes is to know your glucose and insulin numbers. Most doctors run a test called the hemoglobin A1C test to see if you have diabetes. According to the CDC, a normal A1C level is below 5.7%. A level of 5.7% to 6.4% indicates pre-diabetes and a level of 6.5% or more indicates diabetes.
The Problems With Medical Tests for Type 2 Diabetes
There are 3 big problems with testing your A1C levels in a doctor’s office to find out if you have diabetes.
1. They are a lagging indicator.
A1C tests show your levels of blood glucose over the past 3 months. Meanwhile, insulin and omega 3 levels are the real markers for health problems related to type 2 diabetes. But most of the medical community doesn’t use these tests to address the problem before it becomes a disease.
2. Some medications and health conditions affect the results.
Another problem with these readings is they can be affected by medications or other health conditions.
For example, statins taken for high blood pressure can artificially raise your A1C levels. The same is true for low thyroid issues and anemia.
That’s why I always say you must be your own best advocate. You need to know your numbers.Be your own best advocate Click To Tweet
3. Medical test results go on your medical record.
Even though we know we can reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, once you have that diagnosis on your medical record, good luck getting rid of it! Once you have a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, it can affect medical, life and other insurance rates.
4. Blood glucose is a symptom, not a disease.
Unfortunately, once you have high blood glucose levels, your physician will start a protocol of medications. And that’s about it. That’s because they are treating the blood glucose levels instead of the insulin problem we have. And blood glucose is a symptom, not a disease.High blood glucose is a symptom, not a disease. Click To Tweet
When doctor’s only treat blood glucose levels, they are leaving the real culprit untreated – insulin resistance. And that leads to the same increase in cardiovascular disease that you see in people with type 2 diabetes. When we treat insulin resistance vs blood glucose levels, we can also reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
And that’s how we get real about diabetes. By treating the disease vs just the symptom.
Insulin Resistance Produces Real Issues
Want a list of health issues you might experience due to insulin resistance?
- cardiovascular disease
- faster aging
- high blood pressure
- chronic inflammation
There are so many more, but the items listed above are certainly less than living with optimal healh.
Here’s why you Should get Your own Blood Work
First, as we mentioned earlier, most doctor’s aren’t testing the leading indicators of type 2 diabetes. So, you’re late to the game if you wait for an A1C test.
Besides, why have a diagnosis on your medical records if you can take steps to move your results to optimal numbers before they become a problem.
So, where do you start with blood work?
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor
We like monitoring blood glucose at home. One test result should not dictate whether you need to take action or not.
Try a continuous glucose monitor. We love these to help us know how foods, lifestyle, and exercise affect our results. However, these can get pricey. So, if you’re on a budget, you can still do at-home blood glucose tests every morning. Fasting results can tell you a lot about your health.
If you’re monitoring your blood glucose, you want to see between 80 – 85 fasting blood glucose daily. If you have greater than 126 for 2 consecutive readings, you’ll want to see a professional for help.
Sometimes it’s tough to get an insulin test. Especially from your doctor. If you’re in the Chattanooga, TN, area, stop by Nutrition World to get the blood work you want from our partners at Bwell4ever.
You can still share your blood test results with your physician if you’d like!
For insulin test results, you want results of 2 and under to be in your optimal health range. This study of non-diabetic Korean adults indicates anything over 10 µU/mL indicates metabolic syndrome.
My Personal Plan to Get Real About Diabetes
If you’ve been coming to our educational materials for long, you know we are not trying to treat disease. What we’re trying to do is to help you stay well! Our goal = you reach your optimal health goals.
And because type 2 diabetes is rampant in our society, I go ahead and adjust my lifestyle as if I’m pre-diabetic. Now all of my blood tests indicate that I do NOT have a glucose or insulin issue. And yet, I’m determined to keep it that way.
In order to keep my insulin and blood glucose tests at the optimal levels, I follow the protocols below.
It all starts with a healthy nutrition routine. And for that, I like to use the bulletproof diet roadmap. It color categorizes foods into green, orange and red. I do my best to stick with the green foods because they are low glycemic, toxic free, reduce inflammation, and give me plenty of phytochemicals, which help prevent chronic diseases, including cancer.
Limit Grain Intake
Grains are about one-third of everyone’s diet in the US today. And that’s a problem. Especially when it comes to ultra-processed foods like bagels, croissants, and pasta. These foods make it easy to down a load of carbs (AND CALORIES!), which can quickly spike our blood glucose levels. That’s why I like to limit the number of carbs I eat each day.
Start Each day With a Morning Drink
I’ve long been of the opinion that the way I start my day ends up affecting my body’s sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, breakfast is the most important meal of my day! And that’s why I always start my day with a morning drink.
Because I’ve been doing this for years, people always ask me for my morning drink recipe. You don’t have to follow it exactly, but you should include protein, fiber, phytochemicals, and fat.
My morning drink sets my body’s chemistry right each morning with anti-inflammatory properties. Getting insulin right at the beginning of the day is key to keeping it right throughout the day.
Consume Fats With Every Meal
And speaking of fats…I consume fats with every. single. meal. I usually use MCT oil in the mornings and a cold pressed organic olive oil with lunch and dinner. You only need a single serving to make a big difference in your health and weight management.
I’ve become a huge proponent of intermittent fasting. I’ve found many benefits of incorporating this practice in my life, including maintaining a healthy weight.
One more recent benefit includes allowing my pancreas to rest. Your pancreas creates the hormone insulin. And yet, it seems to do a better job of insulin and blood glucose regulation depending on the time of day. The best time of day for our pancreas seems to be ruled by our circadian rhythm.
Most of us only give our digestive system a break for a few hours at night while we sleep…if we sleep. But the truth is, our organs need periods of rest. Even our hearts rest between beats.
A 2021 study found that intermittent fasting helps regulate our insulin levels through a mechanism of supporting beta cell health in our pancreas. I’ve sometimes wondered if the increasing rate of pancreatic cancer might be due to not allowing our pancreas to rest.
Take my Core 4 Supplements (Plus a few BONUSES just for insulin regulation)
There are 4 supplements I truly believe everyone can take to optimize their health. And I call these the Core 4 supplements. No matter who you are, these 4 supplements can help you optimize your health.
- omega 3s: I make sure to get 2,000 mg EPA/DHA each day.
- green drink: This is where I get all my phytochemicals AND fiber to naturally reduce inflammation and help my cells repair themselves.
- probiotics: Our guts produce a ton of brain chemicals (e.g. our guts produce 95% of our body’s serotonin). So, I keep my gut healthy by regularly taking probiotics.
- multi-vitamin: There’s no way we can get all the micronutrients our bodies need from food alone. And that’s why I always supplement with a good multi-vitamin.
On top of these core 4 supplements, I specifically take a few supplements to keep my blood sugar and blood insulin at optimal levels.
Almost everyone has less vitamin D than they need. In the latest National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, only 35% of Americans had sufficient levels of vitamin D. And the results were based on “normal ranges” vs “optimal” vitamin D ranges. When we have optimal vitamin D ranges, it acts as a hormone in our bodies. And that leads to optimal health.
In order to maintain optimal vitamin D levels, I take 5,000 units of Vitamin D daily.
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 functions in the body. One of which is balancing blood sugar.
World Health Organization statistics show that 75% of the US population doesn’t get enough magnesium through their diets. If you want a full breakdown on how I measure and supplement with magnesium, read our guide on using magnesium to unlock your optimal health.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid has many benefits. Tim Ferris in his 4-hour Body book notes he takes ALA for weight loss. If you’re wondering about the mechanism in ALA for weight loss, Tim cites it allows your body to store carbs in your muscles rather than storing them as fat. That means carbs are ready for use.
I think Tim Ferris is a pretty solid researcher when it comes to health. But I prefer to find out if there are scientific studies with more than an n of 1 backing up these claims. The British Pharmacological Society published this study noting the positive affects of ALA on managing your blood glucose levels. As a result, I take 200 mg of ALA every morning and night.
This bark extract from a shrubby tree in Mexico and central America could lower blood glucose levels. In this study, published in the National Library of Medicine, noted decreased HbA1c values with no side effects. That means, no hypoglycemia like some people report when taking Berberine.
Take a look at our hintonia supplements here.
Get Good Sleep!
I really struggle with getting good sleep. But there’s so many benefits to getting good sleep. As a result, I have some tried and true methods for helping me getting better sleep. And I share my sleep tips with you here.
Conclusion – It’s Time we all Get Real About Diabetes
Nature is full of remedies for whatever ails us. I’m always shocked by how much I benefit from a good night’s sleep.
I think the same is true when preventing the increasingly ubiquitous type 2 diabetes. First, it’s our responsibility to be our own health advocates. We need to understand how far we are from optimal health levels by testing ourselves. And advocate for yourself if your doctor isn’t testing what you want to know.
Second, we can get proactive to get and stay healthy. Through a nutritious diet, good sleep, and some key supplements, we can join the group of people who save their health and their pocketbook from type 2 diabetes.
Listen to the holistic navigator full episode on Diabetes and Blood Sugar Regulation Through Nutrition and Supplementation here.