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Functional Medicine Explained

Type 2 Diabetes: Nutrition & Environmental Factors

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To start out, it should be noted that research has been constantly connecting all chronic health conditions with a link to poor nutrition and environmental factors. Secondly, the ability to have mobility and connection between the joints, the brain, and the organs plays a large factor in disease state as well. Lastly, we see the connection with the exercise, sunshine, chemical exposure, and gene expression as the third major key role in chronic health conditions.

Although there have been over 125 clinical disease-related conditions linked to inflammation, this article specifically focuses on blood sugar regulation and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

To begin, it should be noted that those who have a fasting blood glucose level of over 126 are classified as diabetic. Additionally, to determine how much glucose interaction there is in the blood we run an HbA1c. This test measures 3 months of red blood cells. Traditionally, a normal A1C is 5, pre-diabetics is 5.7, and type 2 diabetes is 6.5 and above. Each point the A1C increases, the risk for complications associated with diabetes as well as heart disease goes up. A test we use to look at insulin resistance is the Metabolic Syndrome Profile by Genova. An example can be found below:

A Cellular Look

Our body creates the hormone Insulin. Insulin helps to control blood sugar by taking glucose out of the bloodstream and moving it to the organs. Insulin also causes glucose uptake into the striated muscle and helps decrease the formation of glucose while increasing glucose synthesis.

Adding to the fact, the actions of insulin also include increasing glycogen synthesis, increasing glucose uptake, decreasing glycogenesis, and increasing lipogenesis. As one can see, insulin plays an extremely important role in the body.

Next, looking at our fat cells we know they release a hormone called leptin. Leptin is the hormone that is involved with turning off the drive to continue eating. If we have leptin resistance, we see inflammation start to rise. By taking a functional approach, we view fat cells as essentially inflammatory cells. We know that inflammation leads to disease, thus blocking blood vessels and recruiting more inflammatory cells in response.  Continuing down this path, we know that inflammation and oxidative stress go hand in hand leading to immune cell function.

Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose and glucose then binds to hemoglobin. Glucose also attaches to other proteins in the body, leading to damage and inflammation throughout multi-systems. Common complications seen with type 2 diabetes include pancreatic cancer, stroke, arterial disease, neuropathy, kidney failure, eye damage, dementia, and amputation. It is highly recommended to get regular autonomic tune-ups by chiropractors to increase the actions of the nervous system.

Nutrition & Genetics

Unfortunately, the typical food pyramid is not an accurate description of what is healthy nor the portions that should be served. In the food pyramid today, we see a large number of grains and wheat being focused on while a little number of meats and proteins are considered optimal. However, if you asked anyone who has diabetes or understands the biochemical breakdown of foods in the body you will find that grains and wheat spike the blood glucose the most where proteins and meats have little to no change in the glucose level at all. Due to this, two diets that have been shown to stabilize blood glucose levels and reduce overall HbA1c levels are the Meditteranean diet, as it has a large focus on vegetables and meats and the paleo diet, as it has meats, vegetables, fruits, and limits dairy, legumes, and grains.

For more information regarding the metabolic and physiologic effects and type 2 diabetes, please read the study below:

“ Metabolic and Physiologic Effects From Consuming a Hunter-Gather (Paleolithic)- type Diet in Type 2 Diabetes”

Additionally, high glucose levels affect human pancreatic islet gene expression. These genes also exhibit epigenetic changes. For more information regarding high glucose exposure and global gene expression, please read:

“The Effects of High Glucose Exposure on Global Gene Expression and DNA Methylation in Human Pancreatic Islets”

Environmental Factors

Lastly, we need to evaluate the environmental factors that we are surrounded by ultimately affecting our genetic makeup and gene expression. When studied, the gut microbiota of an adult with type 2 diabetes is significantly different from an adult who does not have diabetes. The integrity of one’s gut and their diversity of flora is directly linked to inflammation and sensitivities. Gut inflammation is heavily associated with our environmental factors and exposure to chemicals, toxic metals like aluminum, and BPA. On top of gut inflammation, these factors have all been shown to elevate blood glucose levels as well.

One of the best ways to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, or slow down the progression/reverse a diagnosis is to start with reducing inflammation. This is done by starting in the kitchen. Evaluate diet first. We should be eating clean locally sourced organic foods to fuel our cells and alter our genetic expression in a positive way. By eating pizza and chips we are adding fuel to the inflammation fire and throwing constant reactors at our genes, altering their expression to be pro-inflammatory rather than anti-inflammatory.

If there is one thing that I can not stress enough, it is how important gut health is. By realizing everything starts in the kitchen and what you feed your body has the ability to make monumental strides in your health, the world will open up. A life without headaches, a life without bloating, a life without nausea, a life without inflammation and pain..that life exists and it is possible! It all starts in the kitchen and ends up with your genes. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach

References:

Wolfson, Jack. “Diabetes: Blood Sugar Blues.” Functional Medicine University. 2020, www. Functionalmedicineuniversity. com/members/1063.cfm.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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