Diabetes can briefly be defined as a state when the body's blood glucose is too high. The body does require a certain amount of sugar in the blood; however, those suffering from diabetes have levels much higher than what is needed.
Type I diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. In this form of diabetes, the body's immune system has destroyed the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin from its beta cells. As in all cases of immune disorders, the body makes a mistake somewhere along the line and sees itself (the pancreas and its insulin producing beta cells) as foreign bodies. The immune system launches an attack to get rid of the invaders, which in this case are actually much needed beta cells.
Type II diabetes, on the other hand, has been called non-insulin-dependant diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, although lately the number of children presenting with Type II diabetes is rising at an astonishing and alarming rate. In Type II diabetes, patients' cells are found to be unresponsive to the insulin in their blood or unable to recognize and use it properly when present.
Currently, treatment for both types of diabetes is limited to either painful, usually daily, insulin shots or diabetes medication. Patients are also advised to change their diet, increase their physical activity, and maintain a controlled blood pressure and cholesterol level.
When considering the cause of the disease further, one realizes that the same basic concept is true for both forms of diabetes. For some reason the body has turned against itself, attacking and destroying - as in Type I diabetes - or has ceased to recognize its own cells as "self" - as in Type II diabetes.
The body's mechanism for cellular communication and recognition is glyconutrients, or sugar forms, found on the outside of every single cell of the human body. Glyconutrients help each cell to recognize others as "friendly" and not to be attacked (Type I diabetes). Additionally, they are the words by which cells "talk" to each other and give instructions, ie. "I'm insulin, let me in" (Type II diabetes).
If these glyconutrients are absent or damaged, the cells cease to have the ability to recognize and communicate with one another and various diseases such as diabetes may appear in an individual.
New research and studies are focusing on the use of glyconutrients to help diabetic patients. Several recent studies 1, 2 have shown that with the use of supplemental glyconutrients, blood sugar levels in patients with Type I and Type II diabetes can be decreased. What is hoped is that with continued use of supplemental glyconutrients through the diet, the body's repair mechanisms may be able to fix the damage that has been done by the disease by learning to recognize and communicate between cells once again.
1. McDaniel C;Baumgartner S;. Case report: early intervention in insulin dependent juvenile diabetes with dietary supplementation. Proc Fisher Inst Med Res. 2002 Apr 2; 2: 9-11.
2. McDaniel CF;Stevens EW;. Nutraceuticals decrease blood glucose and pain in an individual with non-insulin dependent diabetes and myofascial pain syndrome: a case report. Proc Fisher Inst Med Res. 1997; 1: 30-31.
Scott Saunders is a full time wellness consultant who can be reached at Whole Earth Health.