However, there are good natural approaches to managing or even curing some forms of diabetes.
The FDA recently posted a warning that three drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes—canagliflozin (brand name: Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance)—may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that can lead to diabetic coma and even death. The signs and symptoms of DKA include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and unusual fatigue or sleepiness.
Normally, those with type 1 diabetes are at risk for DKA, whereas it is a rare condition for those with type 2 diabetes.
The three drugs the FDA includes in the warning are called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, which are designed to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. From March 2013 to June 2014, the FDA reported twenty cases of DKA. Every case required hospitalization. FDA also found that the median time to onset was two weeks after starting the drugs.
This is another in a long line of examples of the harm Big Pharma’s drugs can cause. When it comes to the development of new ways to treat diseases, the current system drives the creation of more and more exorbitantly priced drugs that, as we’ve seen above and especially in last week’s testimonial, cause more harm than good.
As we’ve noted before, it is possible for many diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels close to a truly normal range with an integrative approach. Here are some natural ways to control or even reverse diabetes—though please remember that any significant changes to your diet, supplement regime, testing, or lifestyle should be made only after consultation with your healthcare professional:
- Diet. A diet loaded with leafy greens and other low-starch veggies, high-quality fats, and clean sources of protein is helpful in controlling blood sugar. Be sure to look for a nutritional advisor who is independent, however! Organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Nutrition receive major funding from corporate food interests, including junk food companies. In stark contrast, the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists is not similarly compromised.
- Botanicals. Jonathan Wright, MD, notes that several studies show that berberine, an alkaloid found in the herb goldenseal, can lower blood glucose as effectively as the drug metformin at similar doses (500 mg 3x/day). Indian kino gum resin (Pterocarpus marsupium) has been found to regenerate the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas. This finding validates its long use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes. Other herbs or food ingredients researched for control of blood sugar include cinnamon, bitter melon, and the fruit Garcinia cambogia to enhance insulin sensitivity.
- Supplement wisely. According to Dr. Julian Whitaker, the water-soluble antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against damage may be lost in the excessive urination that accompanies diabetes. For this or other reasons, people with diabetes are more prone to develop kidney disease. All vitamin, mineral, and amino acid levels should be checked, monitored, and kept in normal range with supplements if necessary, along with checking blood glucose, insulin, and A1c, a longer-term marker for blood sugar. Dr. Whitaker particularly recommends supplementing with magnesium and chromium, and alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine for peripheral neuropathy.
- Exercise at least thirty minutes every day. This will also control blood pressure.
- Take care with prescription drugs. Besides the above warnings, the FDA has launched a safety review of the diabetes drug Actos in light of new data suggesting that the drug may increase risk of bladder cancer. And a combination of two common drugs—one an antidepressant, the other a statin used to lower blood cholesterol—may put people at risk for developing diabetes. This finding is especially important because so little is known about how drugs interact with each other, and so many people are prescribed multiple drugs together. The good news is that it is often possible to control diabetes without the use of any drugs.