Why has adult onset diabetes become such a common factor in modern living? The answer is very simple, all animals have evolved to store fat (mice included) and this is achieved through becoming temporarily insulin resistant and pre-diabetic. Why? Because animals have evolved to cope with seasonal differences in food availability. Animals store fat during certain seasons when food is abundant and then burn fat during the seasons when food is scarce. Gaining weight has been a very successful survival mechanism until now. For humans it has allowed us to sail the seven seas and spread to every corner of the globe, even into some of the most desolate and remote areas where food is scarce much of the year round.
Unfortunately for humans, we now have an excess of calories available 365 days of the year and our fat burning mechanism is generally dormant. Instead, we are in a constant struggle with fat storage, cravings for sweet processed foods, along with insulin resistance, lowered metabolism and low energy (resulting in a sedentary lifestyle). These combine to bring about cellular oxidative damage and chronic diabetes (and a host of other metabolic diseases).
Our addiction to sugars, processed sweet foods, soft drinks and refined carbohydrates is actually just our fat storage gene at work, prompting us to store fat now because tomorrow we may fall on lean times (of course which don’t come). This explains why even children today develop insulin resistance and diabetes. Through a combination of specific antioxidant herbs and spices, together with gradual dietary changes, we can reverse glucose intolerance and balance our blood sugar response.
The worst offender to trigger our weight gains and insulin resistance is sugar, in particular fructose. White sugar or sucrose is made up of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. One of the wisest health choices we can make is removing all white sugar from our kitchen, sweetened drinks from our fridge and processed foods from our shopping list. Many processed foods, especially those produced in the USA, are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is one reason why the US leads the way in diabetes and obesity. All foods that contain HFCS (and to a lesser extent white sugar) should be avoided by anyone desiring to lose weight, balance blood sugar and bring an end to insulin resistance.
A healthy diet begins with greatly limiting high glycemic processed foods, sugars, starches (and high glycemic grains) and replacing these with low glycemic nutrient rich vegetables in abundance. Together with increasing our healthy vegetable intake, moderate amounts of low glycemic fruits are also recommended as their antioxidant vitamins and fiber content protects from cellular damage and slows the insulin response. Note: We recommend to avoid all sweet fruits for the first few weeks while normalizing weight and supporting pancreatic function.
Another essential aspect of improving our health involves “Leptin” the satiety signal protein released from fat tissues that instructs the brain to be satiated and reduce appetite. Along with insulin resistance, overweight individuals can develop leptin resistance and when this occurs we can no longer sense when our food intake exceeds our actual requirements. Cooking with the healthy fats and oils, Virgin Coconut Oil and Virgin Olive Oil (for salads) helps to reset the leptin response and prevent overeating. Studies on hunter gatherer and primitive diets have revealed that for much of their lives our ancestors survived on diets devoid of sugars which resulted in their bodies entering a natural “ketosis” whereby they convert to burning fat for energy. Indeed, many traditional cultures even today enjoy greater health than average and almost non-existent diabetes and obesity eating a diet devoid of all processed, refined foods, little or no refined sugars and full of healthy fats and wild vegetables. Each of us has our own preferences for the exact quantities of meats, vegetables, and fats you choose to eat, but one thing for sure: when you change to a healthy diet diet free of refined carbohydrates and sugars and processed foods then you will see for yourself how quickly our bodies can balance blood sugar levels and achieve our weight goals.
Once the necessary dietary improvements have been followed then herbal medicines can be of benefit to prevent and in many cases reverse diabetes via:
- Protecting from oxidative stress and damage to our energy producing mitochondria
- Supporting digestive system function and detoxification
- Supporting adrenal function.
- Protecting from diabetic retinopathy
- Improving insulin sensitivity
Some of the most popular medicinal plants used in Southeast Asian traditional medicine have been found to contain high levels of protective antioxidants, often hundreds of times more potent than we can obtain from our diets alone. These antioxidant phytochemicals target specific bodily systems and support our bodies ability to repair and restore insulin sensitivity. These include:
- Curcuma longa (Kunyit or Turmeric)
- Orthosiphon aristatus (Misai Kucing)
- Andrographis paniculata (Hempedu Bumi)
- Moringa oleifera leaf
- Papaya leaf
For best results, medicinal herbs should be used in conjunction with dietary modifications, such as incorporating Virgin Coconut Oil and products rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides into our diet. For more quality information on adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle for preventing diabetes and weight gains, see our Coconut Oil Malaysia website.
SELECT SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES
KUNYIT (Curcuma longa extract standardized for Curcumin)
- Curcumin rescues high fat diet-induced obesity and insulin sensitivity in mice through regulating SREBP pathway. Ding L, et al 2016 May, China
- Protective Effects of Curcumin on Renal Oxidative Stress and Lipid Metabolism in a Rat Model of Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy. Kim BH et al. 2016 May Korea
- Renoprotective effect of curcumin against the combined oxidative stress of diabetes and nicotine in rats. Ibrahim ZS et al. 2016 April, Saudi Arabia
- Curcumin Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Activation of Redox-Sensitive Kinases in High Fructose- and High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats. Maithili Karpaga Selvi N et al. 2014 Nov. India
MISAI KUCING (Orthosiphon standardized extract)
- Evaluation of α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Effect of 50% Ethanolic Standardized Extract of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth in Normal and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Mohamed EA Et al. 2015 Nov.
- Antidiabetic properties and mechanism of action of Orthosiphon stamineus Benth bioactive sub-fraction in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Mohamed EA, et al. 2013 Feb; Malaysia
- Potent α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory activities of standardized 50% ethanolic extracts and sinensetin from Orthosiphon stamineus Benth as anti-diabetic mechanism. Mohamed EA, et al. 2012 Oct, Malaysia.
- Effects of Orthosiphon stamineus aqueous extract on plasma glucose concentration and lipid profile in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Sriplang K, et al. 2007 Feb, Thailand
HEMPEDU BUMI (Andrographis standardized extract)
- Beneficial effects of an Andrographis paniculata extract and andrographolide on cognitive functions in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Thakur AK Et al. 2016 Jan.
- Andrographolide derivative AL-1 improves insulin resistance through down-regulation of NF-κB signalling pathway. Li Y Et al. 2015 June.
- Antidiabetic and antihiperlipidemic effect of Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Nees and andrographolide in high-fructose-fat-fed rats. Nugroho AE, et al, 2012 May, Indonesia.
- Evaluation of beneficial effects of antioxidant properties of aqueous leaf extract of Andrographis paniculata in STZ-induced diabetes. Dandu AM, et al, 2009 Jan, India
- Open label clinical trial to study adverse effects and tolerance to dry powder of the aerial part of andrographis paniculata in patients type 2 with diabetes mellitus. Agarwal R, et al, 2005 Jan, Malaysia
- Antihyperglycemic effect of andrographolide in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Yu BC, et al, 2003 Dec, Taiwan
- Anti-diabetic property of ethanolic extract of Andrographis paniculata in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Zhang XF, et al, 2000 Dec, Singapore
- Antihyperglycaemic and anti-oxidant properties of Andrographis paniculata in normal and diabetic rats. Zhang XF, et al, 2000 June, Singapore