Diabetes Clinic Toronto - Naturopathic Medicine for Diabetes
A Naturopathic Approach to Improving Your Diabetic Condition
Diabetes is a common condition our Naturopathic Doctors see at the clinic. It is now estimated that over 11 million Canadians have the condition - and numbers are on the rise.
Type 2 Diabetes, the result of years of insulin resistance, is by far the most common type of diabetes. However, many patients also struggle with autoimmune forms of diabetes such as Type 1 Diabetes and LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults).
As Naturopathic Doctors we provide individual support to diabetic patients with actionable dietary and lifestyle changes, supplementation, and botanical medicines based on the latest research in lifestyle medicine and nutrition.
Benefits of Naturopathic Medicine for Diabetes
Diabetes is a complex condition, requiring lifelong management. Naturopathic medicine allows for longer duration visits, allowing your practitioner more time to understand your case and unique lifestyle factors. Since diabetes often affects multiple areas of health, seeing a naturopath can bring things together, allowing for a greater understanding of what is happening in a “big picture” sense.
For example, patients with diabetes commonly experience digestive concerns/IBS, fatty liver disease, reduced kidney function, circulatory problems, sleep problems, concerns with cognitive health/memory, and peripheral neuropathy.
Our approach is always to support blood sugar management and treat the underlying causes while providing supplemental support and/or protection for specific problematic areas such as the nerves, liver or gut.
Understanding Diabetes and Its Causes
The cause of type 2 Diabetes is a combination of genetic factors and nutritional factors. In Type 2 Diabetes, underlying insulin resistance causes the pancreatic beta cell to lose the ability to produce insulin. Prior to this, the patient is often exposed to exceptionally high levels of insulin for many years - resulting in excess fat deposition in the abdomen, around the organs and within the liver. Type 2 Diabetes is associated with chronic low grade inflammation and has multiple effects on health.
Gestational Diabetes is common in PCOS and is a “warning sign” that a patient may develop Type 2 Diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes should have their blood sugar and insulin levels monitored regularly.
The good news is that before it gets to a severe state, Type 2 Diabetes can often be reversed with changes in nutrition and lifestyle along with medical or naturopathic support.
Type 1 Diabetes and LADA are not reversible. They are autoimmune processes where the immune system makes antibodies against the pancreas, resulting in the eventual loss of insulin production. In these cases, the goal is to support nutrition, gut/immune health, lifestyle and micronutrient status, and to prevent negative long term consequences of diabetes.
What Is A Holistic Approach To Diabetes?
Naturopathic medicine is an excellent example of a holistic way to approach diabetes. Viewing each patient as an individual is central to naturopathic care. We meet each patient where they are, offering the support and nutritional changes they can best integrate into their existing lifestyle. Effects of stress, diet, emotional health, digestion, sleep, exercise are well documented factors that affect diabetes. We educate our patients on the factors are most important to focus on and help them build a holistic treatment plan that will help move them towards their best health.
Can Diabetes Be Corrected Naturally?
Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed in many patients - we have seen many patients at the clinic achieve major improvements in their A1C levels. Diabetes takes time to develop and the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome. Autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes and LADA are unfortunately irreversible, although patients can still experience a major reduction in long term complications and an improved quality of life, energy and wellbeing.
Is There A Natural Substitute For Insulin?
Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the pancreas, it is natural itself, and therefore there is no natural substitute for it. When insulin production has stopped, an exogenous form of insulin must be given in order to keep blood glucose under control. However, when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, most patients do not require insulin as in most cases there is an excess of insulin, rather than a deficiency. The body has become insulin resistant - meaning that the cells do not respond to this hormone any longer. There are many natural options including nutrition, supplements and herbal medicines that can improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the effects of diabetes.
Blood Sugar and How Naturopaths Can Help Control It
At our clinic, we have a great deal of experience with insulin resistance and which types of nutritional approaches work best. We provide individualized nutritional suggestions, and educate our patients on the effects of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fats on blood sugar levels. Our goal is always to provide stable blood sugar levels for patients while improving satiety (fullness), and minimizing “spikes” in blood sugar whenever possible. We also help patients monitor their sugars and to understand how food, lifestyle and other factors impact their glycemic control. In addition, we offer an array of evidence-based supplements and botanical medicines to support insulin sensitivity and protect cells in diabetic health conditions.
What Happens On Your First Appointment With Us
During your first visit for diabetes support, your naturopathic doctor with spend up to 90 minutes gathering information about your case, lifestyle and individual preferences. This approach allows your naturopath to understand your needs and goals exceptionally well.
A thorough review is completed of diabetic health concerns including a thorough review of blood sugar control, liver function, gut health, nervous system, kidney function, and eye health. Your Naturopathic doctor will also want to learn about hormones, stress, sleep, and family history so they can understand your health in a holistic way.
After gathering all relevant information, your naturopathic doctor will create an individual written treatment plan for you including natural treatment options for diabetes, and lab testing suggestions.
Followup naturopathic visits are booked as often as needed. With diabetes, each patient is unique and may be at a different level of glycemic control. We support each patient as needed to help them learn to manage their diabetes for life!
Most of our diabetic patients return year-after-year to work with our NDs as their health needs change or when new conditions arise!
Is Turmeric Good for diabetes?
Turmeric is a common spice that is popular for diabetes due to its antiinflammatory effects and therefore this is a common question that we receive at the clinic. However, when consumed in its raw form, the active components of turmeric are poorly absorbed. There are specific extracts that are well-absorbed, and there are also other botanical medicines that may be better indicated for patients with diabetes. Our naturopathic doctors have knowledge on the most absorbable types of supplements for diabetes as well as the most absorbable forms of supplements in nutraceutical medicine.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Lower Blood Sugar Immediately?
Apple cider vinegar is also a popular home remedy for diabetes. A recent systematic review looked at A total of six studies, including 317 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Although it wasn’t an immediate effect, the meta-analysis showed significantly better fasting blood glucose and haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level in type 2 diabetics with the consumption of vinegar. As naturopathic doctors we often include easy to implement, evidence-based lifestyle tips to help support our main treatment plans for diabetes!