Diabetes treatment and prevention

This Week In The HSI Forum

In daily e-Alerts I frequently write about type 2 diabetes. And while I can bring you the news about prevention and treatment from the latest studies, I can’t give you a first-hand account of what it’s like to cope with diabetes on a day-to-day basis. For that perspective, all you need to do is turn to the HSI Forum where diabetics detail their individual experiences and exchange tips about the treatments they’ve used.

One such thread is currently very active. It’s titled “My Fellow Diabetics,” and a member named Sharon starts it off with this posting: “I was diagnosed with diabetes 5 years ago and am insulin dependent. I am currently on a low carb regimen with many supplements and my sugar control is very good. I was wondering if any diabetics on this board would like to share what works for them or what doesn’t.”

So far, Sharon’s request has prompted more than 30 responses, starting with a member named Rett who offers this advice: “Cinnamon is good. I also take chromium picolinate. I use virgin coconut oil. Stay away from grains and sugars and high carb foods. I read the other day that resistance training works well to reduce blood sugar.” (For other benefits of resistance training, see Thursday’s e-Alert “Curiously Strong” below.)

Several members seem to have had good results with cinnamon, which brings this posting from a member who goes by “slz”: “My husband is pre-diabetic and I’m trying to do all I/we can to prevent diabetes. How does cinnamon lower blood sugar?”

Research indicates that cinnamon may have insulin-like properties. In the e-Alert “Bucking the System” (12/15/03), I told you about a USDA study of 60 type 2 diabetics. Over the course of 40 days, a daily gram of cinnamon improved management of blood sugar levels, as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels. One gram of cinnamon is less than half a teaspoon.

Rett has this helpful advice about using cinnamon: “I used to put a few tablespoons of ground cinnamon in a large pot of water and boil it for a while and then allow it to sit and cool so the larger particles settle to the bottom and then pour it into another glass jar or bottle and drink a small glass full or add it to my ice tea or in a hot drink. Lots of ways to do it. Season meats with it. The thing isif you are not taking care to watch sugars and carbs and doing some weight training, it’s not going to help that much.”

A member named Mary has a helpful comment about a common food item that may cause problems: “We discovered that one of dad’s problems was his milk drinking. He would drink 3 or 4 big glasses of milk a day. We experimented a bit and realized that his milk drinking was raising his levels at least 10 points each meal. Once we stopped the milk, we have been getting better readings.”

“My Regimen” is the title of this posting from a member named JanH: “I’ve had excellent results (A1C 5.4) with low-carb diet, exercise on treadmill, and chromium, vanadium, fenugreek, cinnamon, and alpha lipoic acid.”

The “AIC” that Jan mentions is a reference to the HbA1c test that I’ve told you about in previous e-Alerts. A member who goes by “paulaj” mentions it as well: “I’m a diabetic. Have dropped 80 pounds, blood sugar to normal, triglycerides, HDL, CRP, Homocysteine, to very good levels due to the lo carb lifestyle and No Flush Niacin. My doc says my a1c is ‘non-diabetic.'”

Paula and Jan are smart to monitor their HbA1c. In the e-Alert “Sugar Shock” (9/28/04), I told you how daily fluctuations of blood glucose do not affect HbA1c, so this marker provides a more accurate overall indicator of hyperglycemia than a normal blood test does. HbA1c tests measure the average amount of glucose that’s been attached to red blood cells in the subject’s blood over the previous 60 to 90 days.

If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor about tracking hyperglycemia with HbA1c tests.

Other topics on the HSI Forum this week include:

  • Niacin flushes
  • Sciatic nerve pain
  • Glucosamine
  • Hot Flashes
  • Ginkgo study
  • Heart palpitations
To reach the HSI Forum, just go to our web site at www.hsionline.com, click on “Forum,” and add your voice to the wide range of topics concerning health care and nutrition.