The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
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Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)

Type 2 Diabetes
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment
Interview with Dr. Simon Barker, ND

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic problem that occurs in many people that involves a lack of the body’s ability to deal with blood sugar. And this can happen for different reasons, but primarily it’s happening because the body’s insulin—which is produced in the pancreas—is not able to get into the body’s cells because they become resistant to it. And so we end up with elevated levels of blood sugar, which can get into different parts of the body and can wreak havoc.

Conventional doctors treating Type II diabetics recognize that diet and exercise is an important part of treating diabetes, but they’ve usually got short visits, they don’t have a lot of time, and they think that patients aren’t going to follow any diet or exercise regimen—so they are normally there with a prescription pad and they’re giving them medication.

There are two main types of medication: most people are getting oral treatments; they’re getting drugs that maybe increase the insulin levels in the body and try and fight things that way; even though insulin is not necessarily a problem, it’s other problems that are leading to the type II diabetes—and you can get side effects from these medications, too, of course: you can get headaches, you can get muscle pains, you can get nausea.

And if the patients don’t respond the way they’re expected to the oral medications, oftentimes they’re given insulin shots. Insulin works by lowering the blood sugar, which is what you want, but—a, you’re not treating the cause of the problem, and b, insulin comes with its own set of issues. If you lower that blood sugar too much, you can end up with a variety of different issues—dizziness, sweating, and it can also lead to increased weight, it can lead to headaches, it can lead to liver problems.

Type 2 Diabetes Is Reversable
Sometimes, people don’t realize when they come to see me that they can actually reverse their diabetes. They’re coming in because they’re trying to save their foot, they’re trying to prevent future problems—they don’t realize that this is completely reversible. And they’re completely surprised when in three to six months’ time, they’re completely diabetes-free.

Natural Medicine Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis
The first thing that I want to do when a patient comes in is to evaluate where they’re at: I want to look at their blood work, I want to get regular indications of what their blood sugars are like, because that can vary quite a bit. I want to see how bad their situation is. I also want to see how much diabetes has affected other parts of their body—I want to figure out, you know, how is it affecting their kidneys, how is it affecting their liver, how is it affecting their heart. These are really important things, and the reason that diabetes is such a huge problem is that first of all, you don’t necessarily know that you have it when you first have it; and secondarily, it can cause damage all over your body without you necessarily realizing it.

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Natural Medicine Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
So once I’ve figured out where the diabetic person is at, I want to look at how do we best treat this person? And the first things I’m going to do are always going to be diet and exercise—that’s absolutely crucial, very, very, important. And the type of diet that we want to do is a diet that eliminates sugar and significantly reduces carbohydrates. This is absolutely essential; there is no better way of doing this. There are lots of other diabetic diets out there, but none of them that manage blood sugar as well. The second thing that we need to do is to get people doing cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis—this is also absolutely crucial; it is not possible to reverse diabetes without doing these two things.

Natural Medicine Type 2 Diabetes Exercise
Now I have botanicals, I have nutrients that I use with patients that are helpful at lowering those blood sugar levels, and I tend to use them more earlier on as we’re trying to get everything ramping up. But they’re not crucial; that diet and exercise—absolutely crucial.

Natural Medicine Type 2 Diabetes Diet
So if someone has Type II diabetes and they’re looking to minimize or reverse it, they should adopt a natural living lifestyle. First of all, you want to look at your diet: you want to get out the sugar, the soda, all the other synthetic food. You want to start eating whole foods, you want to start eating organic foods. You want to look at getting some exercise—cardiovascular exercise is very, very important. And you want to find a naturopathic doctor who can help you implement this plan.

Interview with Dr. Simon Barker, ND

Also See: Dr. Angela Agrios, ND Naturopathic Doctor Health Series