This year Diabetes week is from the 14th-20th June. In this blog we’ll be referring to type 2 diabetes mellitus which is a metabolic disorder associated with abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood due to inadequate production of insulin or inadequate sensitivity of cells to insulin (insulin resistance). Diabetes has become a significant global health problem. There are many complications linked to prolonged high blood glucose levels including nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiomyopathy. The primary approach to controlling diabetes involves diet and lifestyle modification combined with medications. However, treatment remains insufficient especially as most available drugs incur side effects.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. Here we’ll look at diet, lifestyle and supplements that may help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.
What to Eat
There is much debate as to what the best diet is for those wishing to prevent or reverse diabetes. Here’s what some of the research has found:
The Low Carbohydrate Diet
Research shows that eating a Low Carbohydrate Diet, (130g a day of carbohydrates without other restrictions) for six months may lead to remission of diabetes. However, there is still debate around what constitutes remission of diabetes, as well as the safety, efficacy and dietary satisfaction of following a Low Carb Diet in the longer term (1). Another study found that Low Carbohydrate Diets may be useful for those who cannot adhere to a Calorie Restricted Diet (2).
Low Carb vs Low Fat
One review found that the majority of studies find there to be no significant differences in glycemic control, weight and lipids for the majority of Low Carbohydrate Diets compared to Low Fat Diets.
Vegan, Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets
Other evidence supports the view that vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean dietary patterns are recommended to control glycemic markers in individuals with type 2 diabetes (3).
In short, there may be several dietary patterns that could prevent or treat diabetes. For most people avoiding sugar and processed foods and eating a diet of whole foods cooked from scratch is a good place to start.
Exercise is an essential component of all diabetes and obesity prevention and treatment programmes. Both aerobic and resistance training or a combination, facilitate improved glucose regulation. High-intensity interval training is also effective and has the added benefit of being time-efficient (4).
Supplements may help prevent and/or manage diabetes mellitus and its complications (5). Cardiovascular disorders are one of the leading causes of death in patients with type 2 diabetes so here we’ll look at how supplements could help you manage or prevent diabetes as well as improving cardiovascular health.
Tom Oliver’s B Complex
The B vitamins including B1, B3, B6, B7, B9 and B12 have notable beneficial effects on diabetes and its related complications (5). Research findings suggest that supplementation with vitamin B6, in particular, prevents diabetic complications (6).
Tom Oliver’s Vitamin C
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory, vasodilator and antioxidant effects. Supplementation with vitamin C reduces hyperglycemia and lowers blood pressure meaning it is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes and hypertension (7).
Tom Oliver’s Vitamin D with K2
Vitamin D supplementation reduces the incidence and complications of diabetes (8).
Tom Oliver’s Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve many aspects of cardiovascular health (9).
Tom Oliver’s Zinc Picolinate
Zinc may have a protective role against type 2 diabetes (10). Low-dose zinc supplementation (less than 25mg per day), taken for a long-duration can reduce the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease including improving insulin resistance, triglycerides, cholesterol and blood glucose levels (11).
Tom Oliver’s Omega 3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish may benefit cardiovascular health. Evidence suggests that increasing omega 3 fats reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and reduces serum triglycerides (12).
Tom Oliver’s Whey Protein
Whey protein taken around meal times reduces postprandial glycaemia, slows gastric emptying and suppresses the appetite due to its effects on the gut-brain axis. Whey protein is a rich source of amino acids which directly stimulate the secretion of insulin, which contributes to the reduction in postprandial glycaemia (13,14).
Tom Oliver’s Curcumin Complete
There is growing evidence for the use of medicinal plants for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Among these is curcumin, a bioactive molecule present in turmeric. Curcumin has antioxidant, cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, liver-protective, immunomodulatory and hypoglycaemic properties. In animal models, curcumin extract delays diabetes development, improves pancreatic function and decreases insulin resistance (15),
Tom Oliver’s Probiotics with Inulin
Tom Oliver’s probiotics contain the prebiotic fibre inulin. Type 2 diabetes is closely correlated with chronic low-grade inflammation and gut dysbiosis. Inulin significantly reduces fasting blood glucose, body weight and blood lipids. It also suppresses inflammation and modulates gut microbiota all of which may be helpful in alleviating type 2 diabetes (16),