One week. That’s how long it takes to reverse Type 2 diabetes by 100 percent. According to the American Diabetes Association, fasting plasma glucose levels can normalize within 7 days of instituting a substantial negative calorie balance by dietary intervention. This is due to a decrease in liver fat content and the return of normal hepatic insulin sensitivity. Within 8 weeks of a proper diet, insulin secretion steadily returns to normal.
There is a difference between weight loss that improves glucose control but leaves blood sugar levels abnormal and weight loss that normalizes pancreatic function. The following is a list of lifestyle changes designed to help stabilize blood sugar levels as well as pancreatic and liver function, thus reversing Type 2 diabetes as well as many other chronic diseases.
1) Supplement with chromium.
Chromium serves as a cofactor for insulin action, making it a necessary supplement for individuals with diabetes. Chromium has also been demonstrated to inhibit phosphotyrosine phosphatase, the enzyme that splits phosphate from the insulin receptor, leading to decreases in insulin sensitivity (Cefalu et al, 2013). Diabetes has been shown to develop in persons with chromium deficiency. Furthermore, chromium deficiency and the associated insulin, glucose, and lipid metabolism impairment may also result in increased cardiovascular risk.
2) Avoid fructose and omega 6 fatty acids.
Diets that are high in sugary foods and omega 6 oils cause chronic inflammation, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome (obesity), liver steatosis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), brain insulin resistance, and cognitive dysfunction. Because insulin receptors exist in the brain, evidence shows an increased risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in persons with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and in individuals with poor insulin sensitivity. Thankfully, a fish oil supplement that is high in omega 3 fatty acids will maintain proper insulin signaling in the bran, thus improving diabetes, obesity, and brain health.
Along with adding a fish oil and chromium supplement to your diet, consider also taking vitamin D3, alpha lipoic acid, and consuming a variety of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, which will combat chronic inflammation, fatigue, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses.
Exercise does not have to be complicated to be efficient. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a 20-minute walk can help reduce the risk of a premature death by up to 30 percent. Regular physical activity (three to five days per week) lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol. It also has a positive effect on blood lipid concentrations. Several adipokines, such as leptin, which controls appetite, as well as muscle contraction-induced factors called myokines have been shown to modulate insulin resistance and inflammatory status in patients with diabetes and obesity. An experimental study using endotoxin-induced chronic inflammation showed that physical exercise directly inhibits endotoxin-induced tumor necrosis factors, or TNF, production in humans, most likely through IL-6 (a pro-anti-inflammatory protein) release from exercising muscle.
4) Get adequate sleep.
Not getting enough sleep may do more than make you tired. It could cause diabetes. During a six year study of 47,093 participants of the US military service, diabetes was significantly more likely among those with self-reported trouble sleeping, sleep duration less than 6 hours per night, and sleep apnea (Boyko et al, 2013). Participants who reported diabetes were older, of nonwhite race, had higher BMI’s, and were more likely to report symptoms of panic, anxiety, and depression, which brings us to our next suggestion.
5) Control stress.
Stress may cause chronic hyperglycemia in persons with type 2 diabetes. Stress promotes the release of various hormones, such as the fight-or-flight reflex, which can result in elevated blood glucose levels. However, in persons with diabetes, stress-induced increases in glucose cannot be metabolized properly due to the lack of insulin. Furthermore, persons with diabetes may not be able to regulate these stress hormones normally. Built up stress may also cause chronic inflammation, which puts the body in a catabolic state and suppresses anabolic pathways, such as the power insulin-signaling pathway. Inflammation affects insulin receptors by preventing them from binding to cells.
To control stress, consider yoga or other exercises that concentrate on breathing and relaxation. Also be sure to set daily quiet time aside just for you, whether it’s reading a book on your lunch hour, taking a walk around the block, or pausing to take a few deep breaths in the middle of a stressful situation.
If you're looking to do everything you can to prevent getting diabetes, you could begin with supplementing your diet with chromium.
Boyko, E., Seelig, A., Jacobson, I., Hooper, T., Smith, B., Smith, T., & Crum-Cianflone, N. (2013). Sleep Characteristics, Mental Health, and Diabetes Risk: A prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium Cohort Study. Diabetes Care, 3154-3161.
Cefalu, W., & Hu, F. (2013). Role of chromium in human health and in diabetes. Diabetes Care 2004;27:2741-2751. Diabetes Care, 2872-2872.