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Reverse Diabetes By Understanding The Causes Of Insulin Resistance

Feb 4, 2008
Think diabetes is irreversible?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Despite what the medical establishment tells you, you can reverse diabetes -- without insulin or medication.

Today, I'd like to tell you about a new way of viewing -- and treating -- diabetes.

First, though, you need to understand why diabetes is such a problem.

A Growing Epidemic

The disease has reached epidemic proportions: Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult onset diabetes) now affects nearly 100 million people worldwide, 20 million of which are Americans.

And it's on the rise -- especially in kids. One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.

That's because the path to diabetes starts very early.

The culprit is insulin.

When you eat a lot of sugar and other refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes, your body eventually becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. It requires more and more insulin to keep your blood sugar balanced. High insulin levels increase your appetite -- and your belly fat.

High levels of insulin can occur decades before you're diagnosed with diabetes. They are warning signs of this condition.

So are the other symptoms of insulin resistance, like belly fat, sugar cravings, feeling tired after meals, high blood pressure and triglycerides, and inflammation.

A family history of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even dementia can increase your chances of developing insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.

And pre-diabetes is just as bad as full-blown diabetes. It, too, can cause heart attacks, strokes, dementia, cancer, and impotence.

So why is diabetes on the rise?

The answer is as close as the food on your plate.

Our bodies were meant to consume a diet that's high in nutrients, fiber, and omega-3 fats and low in sugar. So when we eat unhealthy foods -- like sugar, trans fats, white flour, and processed foods -- we activate genes that promote diabetes.

Yet type 2 diabetes is almost totally preventable. In fact, in one major study, Harvard researchers found that lifestyle and diet changes could prevent more than 90 percent of all type 2 diabetes cases.

Early Diagnosis is Key

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes early is crucial to its management and reversal.

Because damage to the body can occur with even small changes in insulin and blood sugar, doctors should diagnose pre-diabetes as soon as possible.

The proof is in the research. One recent study found that people whose fasting blood sugar was higher than 87 were at increased risk of diabetes.

Yet most doctors don't worry until the blood sugar is over 110 -- or worse, over 126, which is diabetes.

Instead, I recommend early testing with anyone who has a family history of type 2 diabetes, belly fat, or abnormal cholesterol -- regardless of your blood sugar level.

Ask your doctor for these tests:

1.Insulin glucose challenge test with 2-hour glucose challenge, 75 grams measuring fasting, 1 and 2 hour blood sugar AND insulin.

Your blood sugar should be less than 80 fasting and never rise above 110 or 120 after one to two hours. Your insulin should be less than 5 fasting and should never rise above 30 after one to two hours.

I recommend this test for everyone over 50, and for anyone with any risk of insulin resistance, even children.

2.The hemoglobin A1C is an important measure of glycated hemoglobin, which can be an early indicator of sugar problems. It should ideally be less than 5.5. Anything over 6 is considered diabetes.

3.Lipid profiles are important. An HDL under 40 and a triglyceride level over 150 usually means diabetes.

4.An NMR lipid profile identifies the size of your cholesterol particles.

5.High sensitivity C-reactive protein is a measure of inflammation, which is both a cause and result of insulin resistance and diabetes. It should be less than 1.

6.Homocysteine is often abnormal in people with diabetes. It should be between 6 and 8.

7.Fibrinogen measures your risk of clotting and is associated with insulin resistance and diabetes. It should be less than 300.

8.Ferritin is a nonspecific marker of inflammation associated with diabetes. It should be less than 150.

9.Uric acid should be less than 6. Higher levels indicate problems with insulin resistance.

10.Elevated liver function tests result from insulin resistance.

These are tests any doctor can perform and are covered by insurance. If you're at risk for diabetes, I urge you to get tested.
About the Author
Mark Hyman, MD is a pioneer in functional medicine, practicing physician and best-selling author. A sneak preview of his book "The UltraSimple Diet" is available. See The UltraWellness Blog for more on Testing for Insulin Resistance"
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