Naturopathic medicine can be helpful for a wide range of conditions, including blood sugar dysregulation such as diabetes.
Sugar in your Blood?
Believe it or not sugar belongs in our blood. Our blood transports sugar, which is a crucial nutrient throughout our body. Without blood sugar, we would have major issues. Sugar serves as a form of energy for every cell in our body.
Naturally, too little or too much sugar in our blood can cause major health complications. Our goal is to understand how blood sugar is regulated and controlled these factors to ensure health complications are minimized.
Basic Blood Sugar Metabolism
The image below depicts what happens in a basic sense.
- We eat sugar. Sugar comes in the forms of carbohydrates, of which there are good and bad carbs. The sugar ends up in the blood.
- The pancreas makes a hormones called Insulin. The job of Insulin is to help the sugar to go from the blood into the cell. The cells which use sugar are plentiful – including the brain, muscles, liver and many more!
- The insulin will basically knock on the door of the cell. Hopefully the door opens, and the sugar goes into the cell.
Here’s how everything looks in motion.
Where Things Can Go Wrong
As I mentioned above, blood sugar needs to be tightly regulated, it must not be too high nor too low. As you can imagine, there are many conditions in which blood sugar metabolism can go wrong.
Looking back at the image and video above, things can go wrong at each stage of the process:
- The food we eat. The types of carbohydrates and sugars we eat make a huge impact on all this. The type, the amount, the timing – all of that can contribute to major blood sugar regulation issues.
- The Pancreas and Insulin. The pancreas makes insulin, and there are conditions whereby the pancreas isn’t working properly, such as Type 1 Diabetes. Insulin is a hormone, and sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. In fact, all hormones in our body interact with one another, so sometimes, when hormones in another aspect of the body aren’t functioning as expected, insulin can be affected.
- The cell response. The cell responds to insulin knocking on the door. If insulin is there and the cell doesn’t open the door, that will lead to elevated blood sugar. This is what happens in Type 2 Diabetes.
Insulin Resistance aka Diabetes
Insulin resistance is seen in type 2 diabetes. This occurs when the cell becomes resistant to the insulin knocking on the door. In other words, sugar enters the blood, the pancreas responds appropriately but the cell ignores the knocking on the door. The result: elevated blood sugar. This is a hallmark finding in diabetes.
Here’s how insulin resistance looks.
How Does Naturopathic Medicine Help Manage Blood Sugar?
Naturopaths can help with all facets of blood sugar metabolism.
We can focus on the foods we eat, hormone metabolism and cellular response to insulin. Believe it or not Type 2 diabetes is considered a lifestyle-based disease; meaning the things we do day-to-day can cause diabetes and changes to our lifestyle can improve the long-term outcomes.
Your naturopath can help with many aspects of blood sugar regulation.
- Diet: What foods are good and bad for diabetes? Which carbs are good versus bad? What about Fat – is dietary fat okay? All of these are discussions to be had with your naturopath.
- Hormones: as mentioned above, insulin is one of many hormones. Naturopaths can test your hormones and use various natural compounds to help manage hormones, including insulin.
- Cell response: there are various nutrients and natural compounds with clinical data proving their role in insulin responsiveness by our body’s tissues. We want to do things that keep our body sensitive to insulins, rather than resistant to it.
- Co-management: most people diagnosed with diabetes take medications. Some of these medications can cause side effects, and certain nutrients can be taken to offset those findings. Furthermore, we can combine a lot of lifestyle changes to reduce the progression of diabetes and reduce the reliance on those pharmaceutical drugs.
Curious to Learn More? Book in today at Body Co Toronto with Our Naturopath.
Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Toronto. His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.
Johann joined Body Co. in 2019, with enthusiasm and desire to joint a forward thinking, integrity driven and results-based multi-disciplinary clinic. Having worked alongside physiotherapists, massage therapists, osteopaths and other health care providers, he is confident he will complement the current providers and help maximize new and existing patients’ overall care.
His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.