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Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a serious condition that is becoming increasingly common each passing day. For many people, it even goes undiagnosed for a number of years until it progresses into a more complicated stage, having no other option but to use insulin therapy.  

Still, before getting to that stage, there are things you can do to control your blood sugar levels. Modifying your diet, adding in exercise, and keeping a healthy weight are some of them. Pharmacological agents and insulin therapy should be your last instance. 

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Also called adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. Sugar, or glucose, is a normal byproduct of breaking down carbohydrates from your diet. Once it’s released into your blood, a hormone called insulin helps glucose get into your cells. 

The inability to produce enough insulin, or any at all, is called insulin resistance, and it’s the main symptom of developing diabetes. When insulin isn’t there to regulate your blood glucose levels, the sugar is left to wander around your blood, unable to get into the cells where it’s supposed to. This, in turn, can cause inflammation and a myriad of health problems down the line, such as insulin-dependent diabetes, digestive and kidney diseases, urinary tract infections, negative cardiovascular outcomes, and more.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is usually caused by obesity, not being physically active, and maintaining a very inflammatory diet. If you’re already predisposed due to family history and genetics, you need to pay even more attention to managing your weight, keeping a healthy, lower-carb diet, and getting enough exercise. Other risk factors include a history of heart disease, a history of gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus and Diagnosis

The most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Fatigue and chronic tiredness
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased urination and a presence of ketones in the urine
  • Being thirsty more than usual
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Irritability

 

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is usually diagnosed using the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test that measures your blood glucose levels. When glucose is present in the blood, it sticks (glycates) to hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The test indicates your levels for the past two to three months and the results can show one of the following:

  • Below 5.7%, which is considered normal
  • Between 5.7% and 6.4%, which can be diagnosed as prediabetes
  • 6.5% or higher on two separate tests, which is diagnosed as diabetes

If your AC1 tests aren’t consistent or show inaccurate measurements, your doctor may want to perform other tests such as random blood sugar tests, fasting blood glucose tests, continuous glucose monitoring, or even an oral glucose tolerance test that’s usually used in detecting gestational diabetes in pregnant women. A reading of over 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours is a strong indication of diabetes.

Controlling Your Diabetes Mellitus

Before your disease advances to a stage where insulin therapy and other oral diabetes medication are necessary, there are some actionable steps you can take to control your diabetes mellitus:

  • Keeping a healthy diet – Taking a rigorous look at your diet and changing it from the ground up is one of the most important pillars of diabetes management. Increasing your intake of vegetables and low glycemic fruit ensures you get high-quality vitamins and minerals your body is lacking. On the other hand, ingesting high-quality sources of protein and healthy fat is optimizing your entire system by building muscle and balancing out your hormones. The key is to stay away from heavily-processed foods and sugar, refined and bleached carbohydrates, as well as hydrolyzed saturated fats and trans fats. These foods increase inflammation in your body and not only prevent you from protecting yourself against disease but also cause the insulin response to malfunction, worsening your symptoms and leaving no other option but insulin therapy. 
  • Regular physical activity – lack of exercise and overly-sedentary lifestyles are some of the main culprits of today’s diabetes pandemic, and maintaining a good level of regular physical activity can definitely help control and manage your blood glucose levels, and with it, your diabetes mellitus diagnosis. Exercise helps use up glucose from your muscles, liver, and your bloodstream and converts it into energy, fueling your workouts and helping you keep inflammation at bay. 
  • Weight management – Keeping a healthy diet and implementing a regular exercise regimen are two main components of managing a healthy weight. When your body stays in its healthy range, it’s better adapted to deal with stress, inflammation, or any health threat that comes its way. Excessive weight gain and becoming obese are drastically decreasing your body’s immune response and leading up to insulin resistance. 
  • Monitoring your blood glucose levels – wearing a continuous glucose monitor is a great way to see your fasting blood glucose levels, how they change throughout the day, which foods impact your blood glucose concentrations, and how to make better choices around your lifestyle.

Treating Uncontrolled Diabetes Mellitus

Unfortunately, when your diabetes isn’t possible to control just with food, diet, and continuous glucose monitoring, a more serious approach needs to be implemented. 

Insulin Therapy

Probably the most commonly used treatment of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus is insulin therapy. There is a variety of different insulin types available (short-acting, rapid-acting, long-acting, and intermediate-acting) and it depends on your particular case which one, or a combination, will be the most effective for you. 

It’s usually administered through a syringe, an insulin pump, a wireless tubeless pump, or even by closed-loop insulin delivery with an artificial pancreas. Even this type of therapy comes with potential side effects and these include the risk of hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar levels, diabetic ketoacidosis, and high triglycerides

Oral Diabetes Medications

Oral medications are often prescribed before insulin therapy as a less invasive treatment option that may prevent, or at least delay the need of injecting insulin. Some of the most common oral diabetes medications stimulate the pancreas to produce and release more insulin. Other types inhibit the production and release of glucose from your liver, meaning less insulin is needed to transport sugar into your cells. 

Another type of diabetes medication blocks digestive enzymes from breaking down carbohydrates or making your tissues more sensitive to insulin, while a special class of diabetes medications prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. 

These are some of the most common diabetes medications:

  • Metformin – lowers glucose production in the liver and improves your body’s insulin sensitivity in order for it to use insulin more effectively.
  • Sulfonylureas and Glinides – help your body release more insulin.
  • Thiazolidinediones – improve insulin sensitivity.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors – help reduce blood glucose levels
  • SGLT2 inhibitors – inhibit the return of glucose to the bloodstream.

 

GLP-1 Receptor Agonists

These medications are injectables that help slow digestion and lower blood sugar levels. They often lead to weight loss, which can furthermore help with diabetes management, improving your body mass index numbers, lowering blood pressure, and helping manage glucose metabolism.

Weight-loss (Bariatric) Surgery

In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with excessive weight gain and obesity (body mass index of 35 or higher), there’s always the option of getting weight loss surgery. It’s an extremely invasive, but also an effective way of managing your diabetes symptoms. Still, it doesn’t work alone. You need a complete lifestyle change in order to keep the weight off and avoid further diabetes complications. 

Final Thoughts

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is often undiagnosed until the symptoms become hard to control, and even though it’s called adult-type diabetes, many young adults and children are becoming diagnosed as well. The American Diabetes Association has a plethora of helpful resources and educational materials which can help you or your loved ones struggling with this crippling diagnosis. 

Whether you’ve been put on a cocktail of oral medications or have to take insulin therapy, you are not alone, and there’s a whole support community out there helping you make healthier choices to manage your type 2 diabetes mellitus for years to come. 


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17 febrero 2022 adminBlog

The food we eat today isn’t as nutritionally valuable as it was 50, or even 20 years ago. The soil is depleted of many vitamins and minerals and as a consequence, so is our food. 

This is where the supplement industry comes in, offering short-term and long-term solutions in pill and powder form so that they’re easy to take and become a part of your daily routine. And even though it’s always best to do a thorough analysis and find out what micronutrients you’re actually missing out on, there are some general supplement recommendations everyone should benefit from taking. 

What Causes Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies?

The lives we lead today are incredibly stressful and cause more vitamin and mineral deficiencies than we think. These are some of the most common culprits:

  • Poor diet – The Standard American Diet (SAD) unfortunately showcases how poorly most Americans live, not reaching even the bare minimum of fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain recommended intakes.  
  • Stress – It can not only impair your body’s ability to absorb micronutrients but also cause chronic inflammation which is the reason for many diseases and medical conditions of today.
  • Environmental toxins – There are so many chemicals in the air, water, soil, and a plethora of surfaces we come in contact with throughout our daily life which can all cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Studies show a direct link between pollution and vitamin D deficiency, making it obvious that supplementing is necessary in order to get the vitamin D levels to an optimal level. 

 

Vitamin D3

One of the most important vitamins almost everyone is deficient in is vitamin D3. Also called the “sunshine vitamin,” its most abundant source is the sun and most people aren’t getting enough daily sun exposure. Additionally, even if they are, the use of sunscreen, no matter how important it is, diminishes the impact of sun rays and the opportunity for vitamin D to get into our cells. 

Vitamin D3 is responsible for optimizing a lot of processes in the human body. From improving the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and promoting bone health to boosting the immune system and improving energy and mood. The FDA recommends taking 600 international units (IU) for a healthy male and female between the ages 19 and 70, and 800 IU over for those over the age of 70. Still, this may be different for each individual, but it’s a great place to start. Some people, especially those with an autoimmune disease, might not be getting enough vitamin D even with the recommended 600 IU, so talk to your doctor before taking the step towards increasing your dose. 

Magnesium

Most people are struggling with magnesium deficiency as they’re simply not getting enough of it through their food choices. Even more so if their activity levels are higher than average. Magnesium is

 in the human body, assisting more than 300 enzymes in performing chemical reactions that lead to muscle repair and build-up, blood sugar regulation, bone and heart health, lowering the blood sugar, as well as the protection of nerve cells. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women aged 19 and above. Still, you might need different amounts for everything to run smoothly, especially if you’re an active individual or an athlete. 

Zinc

Another extremely important mineral, zinc is included in a myriad of different functions in the body, from immune function and protein synthesis to wound healing and gene expression. It can mostly be obtained from foods such as oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts and seeds, avocados, and berries. Unfortunately, the amounts we would need to eat on a daily basis far exceed normal eating habits. 

The RDA for zinc is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg for women aged 19 and older. Like with other supplements on this list, each individual might need more or less, depending on their blood analysis. 

Fish Oil

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is one of the most important dietary supplements everyone should have in their diet. They support cardiovascular health and lower triglyceride levels, improve eye health and brain function, help reduce chronic inflammation, improve skin health and the healing of skin conditions, promote healthy growth and development during pregnancy and breastfeeding, improve symptoms of depression, and so much more. 

As the name says, omega-3 fatty acids are mostly obtained from fish, so you’d have to eat plenty on a daily basis to take the recommended amounts. You can also get them from nuts and seeds, plant oils, and some fortified foods. The main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the omega-3 in plant sources is mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

The RDA for omega-3 fatty acids isn’t really established, except for ALA (1.6 g for men and 1.1 g daily for women aged 18 and older). Since you can’t really go overboard, whatever is listed on a good fish oil supplement is a great place to start. 

Vitamin B12

The health benefits of vitamin B12 are vast, and they include forming red blood cells, promoting gene expression, and optimizing the function of brain and nerve cells. They are mostly found in animal foods, so those following a vegan diet have no other choice but to supplement. 

Vitamin B12 is extremely important during pregnancy and breastfeeding as it helps promote healthy growth and development of the fetus, preventing spina bifida and other potential defects of the central nervous system. 

If you’re not eating plenty of foods from animal sources, supplementing with B12 is probably something you should pay attention to. The RDA is 2.4 mg for both, men and women aged 14 and over. 

Vitamin C

Maybe the most abundant vitamin in nature, vitamin C is vital for health and longevity. It helps boost the immune system and protect against heart disease, fights inflammation, supports a healthy brain function, keeps the blood vessels clean and flowing, promotes collagen formation, and helps keep blood pressure levels in their optimal range. 

It can be found in many healthy foods such as citruses, bell peppers, berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and more. The RDA in adults aged 19 and older is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women, but given the way people eat, they’re not meeting even these small daily amounts.

Therefore, supplementation is necessary. Still, it’s important to note that one can definitely go overboard with vitamin C. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause harmful effects on health. For vitamin C, it’s 2000 mg daily. 

Probiotics

Another important supplement that doesn’t fall under vitamins and minerals is a combination of probiotics that has a role in feeding the gut microbiome. It helps not only promote the health of the digestive system but also increases the absorption rate of all vitamins and minerals, whether taken from food or as dietary supplements. 

Probiotics are a combination of different strains of live bacteria, with the most common being Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Salivarius, and Bacillus. They can be found in fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, and more. 

Although each person requires a different mix of bacteria strains in their probiotic supplement, it’s better to take some, even a generic brand, than none. Unfortunately, our diet isn’t as versatile as it should be in order for all of these beneficial bacteria to grow, thrive, and promote the health of our entire system. Taking a supplement will definitely help replenish some of your gut microbiota and work towards improving your digestive health, heart health, bone health, hormone health, and every other aspect of your overall wellness and wellbeing. 

In Conclusion

Due to poor diet, stress, and many environmental toxins, people are definitely not taking enough essential nutrients to optimize their overall health and longevity and protect themselves from diseases and chronic inflammation. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are becoming more and more common and dietary supplements have become a necessity. 

High-quality dietary supplements offer a plethora of health benefits, helping tackle everything from vitamin D deficiency and intaking enough B vitamins to boosting the immune system and being that barrier of protection against a number of serious health conditions. 

That being said, always consult with your primary physician or naturopath before starting a new supplement as your daily needs may drastically differ from the RDA or what’s written on the supplement bottle. 


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