According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of those, 7.2 million people have undiagnosed diabetes. This means that nearly one in four people with diabetes do not even know they have the disease.
Dr. John Heary notes that diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. The good news is that type 2 diabetes is preventable and reversible. In fact, according to Dr. John Heary, a leading expert in functional medicine, type 2 diabetes is nothing more than a “symptom of insulin resistance.”
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is the culmination of the progression of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance starts 15-20 years prior to the diagnosis of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not diagnosed until the fasting blood sugar reaches 126 mg/dl and a hemoglobin A1C above 5.6%.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Dr. John Heary notes that insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to process glucose (sugar) from the food we eat. When we eat foods high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, our body releases insulin to help process the sugar. In a person with insulin resistance, the body’s cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, and the body has to produce more and more insulin to get the same effect.
Over time, this can lead to a condition called “insulin resistance.” When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it can’t process glucose effectively, and blood sugar levels rise. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.
How To Reverse Insulin Resistance And Heal Type 2 Diabetes
The good news is that insulin resistance is a condition that can be reversed. In fact, according to Dr. John Heary, “The vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes can completely reverse their condition and heal their bodies of the disease.”
So, how do you reverse insulin resistance and heal type 2 diabetes? The first step is to understand what causes insulin resistance in the first place. The most common cause of insulin resistance is a diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates.
When we eat foods high in sugar or simple carbs, our body releases insulin to help process the sugar. Over time, Dr. John Heary notes this can lead to a condition called “insulin resistance.” When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it can’t process glucose effectively, and blood sugar levels rise. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.
The good news is…
1) Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. While some people are more genetically predisposed to the disease, others may develop it due to their lifestyle or other health conditions. The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. When someone is overweight or obese, their body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. When the body is resistant to insulin, blood sugar levels can become too high. Other causes of type 2 diabetes include:
- Poor diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Certain health conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or sleep apnea
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Age (risk increases as you get older)
If you have any of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you manage your risk and prevent the disease from developing.
2) Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can affect people of all ages, but is most commonly diagnosed in adults over the age of 40. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be very mild and hard to notice, which is why the condition is often undiagnosed for many years. However, if left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, and stroke.
The most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes, according to Dr. John Heary, include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts or bruises
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor for a blood sugar test.
3) Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Dr. John Heary is a Functional Medicine practitioner who has helped many of his patients with Type 2 Diabetes to reverse their condition without medication. Here are the three steps that he recommends:
- Address the underlying causes. The first step is to address the underlying causes of your Type 2 Diabetes. These could include things like insulin resistance, inflammation, or dysregulation of your blood sugar. The goal is to get your body functioning optimally again so that it can heal itself.
- Eat a healthy diet. The second step is to eat a healthy diet. This means avoiding processed foods, sugar, and refined carbs. Instead, focus on eating plenty of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein.
- Exercise regularly. The third step is to exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean you have to become a gym rat. But it does mean getting moving and getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
If you’re able to commit to these three steps, then you’ll be well on your way to reversing your Type 2 Diabetes.
4) Diet for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. John Heary recommends specific diet principles for reversing type 2 diabetes. He also notes that there is no one diet for all diabetics. However, he does identify certain foods that have a positive impact on blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
According to Dr. Heary, the following foods are particularly beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes:
- Leafy green vegetables: These are high in nutrients and low in calories. They are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Berries: Berries are rich in antioxidants and have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
- Nuts and seeds: These are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Fatty fish: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Whole grains: Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and barley are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index. They can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Beans and legumes: Beans and legumes are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. They can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
It’s also important to limit or avoid foods that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and refined carbs. These include sweets, pastries, white bread, and processed foods.
5) Supplements for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. John Heary recommends getting comprehensive blood work done to find out which supplements are needed to help balance your individual body chemistry. The following are a few nutritional supplements that have been clinically shown to be effective in reversing type 2 diabetes.
- Chromium: Helps to regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.
- Zinc: Zinc deficiency is common in people with type 2 diabetes and supplementing with zinc has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Alpha-lipoic acid: An antioxidant that has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help to prevent diabetic neuropathy.
- Magnesium: Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and is often deficient in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with type 2 diabetes and has been linked to insulin resistance. Supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
6) Lifestyle Changes for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. John Heary lays out six important lifestyle changes that can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Cut out sugar and refined carbs: Sugar and refined carbs are the biggest culprits in raising blood sugar levels and triggering insulin resistance. By cutting them out of your diet, you can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps to sensitize your cells to insulin, meaning it helps your body to better use the insulin it produces. Even just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week can make a big difference.
- Get enough sleep: Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to insulin resistance. Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Manage stress: Stress can lead to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can raise blood sugar levels. Make sure to find healthy ways to manage stress.
- Choose healthy fats: Healthy fats can help to improve insulin sensitivity. Avoid unhealthy fats like trans fats and Omega-6 fatty acids, and opt for healthy fats like Omega-3s.
- Eat more fiber: Fiber can help to slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes. Aim for at least 25-35 grams of fiber per day.
To sum up, Dr. John Heary states that reversing type 2 diabetes through functional medicine is possible. His tips on diet, exercise, and sleep are key.
If you have type 2 diabetes and are looking to reverse the disease without medication, then consider following Dr. Heary’s tips.