I realized that I have 47 pages on the site so far and I haven’t even done one on taking any supplements yet, so it’s definitely time for the first one. This is been a huge area of interest with me all my adult life, going back 35 years now, back to the days where you actually had to buy books to learn about this stuff, and I’ve always used nutraceuticals to manage my own health care all of these years, which I still continue to do even though I have diabetes.
Nutraceuticals by the way are natural medicines, and the term is to distinguish between them and pharmaceuticals, which the etiology of the word is based on. So pharmaceuticals are man made medicines essentially, which in order to receive a patent for, they must actually be unique substances, not found in nature, even if this involves just changing the medicine a little in order to distinguish it.
So the nature of pharmaceuticals is driven by the needs of business right off the bat, at their creation, rather than just looking for what would work best, they need something that will both work and something they can have a patent on and be able to then have a monopoly on and charge very high prices for.
Of course, since we are dealing with new substances, these are untested and therefore require long, rigorous, and outrageously expensive trials, and even with all of that in place, they tend to be far more dangerous than natural substances. We’ll leave that all aside for now though as I want to talk about diabetes and impaired blood flow.
In general anyway, it has been found that diabetics have impaired circulation, and it’s not hard to imagine why this is the case, as diabetes places a lot more stress on the circulatory system. So I was reading an article today in Medical Daily which inspired this post which discussed reduced blood flow to the brain in particular, and we are particularly susceptible to issues with memory loss, and there are studies that clearly show that in general, diabetics experience a significantly higher rate of cognitive decline compared to non diabetics.
On the one hand, it’s claimed that we aren’t sure about what the mechanisms are behind this, but what we do know is that impaired blood flow to the brain does have a lot to do with this. Now there are likely other things going on, and these things do tend to be pretty complex, but when you do have poor circulation, that’s going to affect cognition, that’s for sure.
So when we’re talking about blood flow, well there’s nothing really that particular about the brain, it is a symptom of poor circulation generally, and that’s something that diabetics generally do tend to suffer from.
Higher blood sugar does certainly take its toll on the circulatory system, in terms of the greater level of oxidative damage it causes, and while oxidation is essential for life, too much of it is definitely not a good thing. So right off the bat this should have us thinking that we need to pay attention to antioxidants, things that prevent and heal this sort of damage.
There are a lot of supplements that are effective antioxidants, including some very well known ones such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, but the most effective antioxidant money can by, and it’s not even close, is a substance called anthaxanthin.
It is not all that well known but it really should be, and this is something that everyone should consider taking, whether they are diabetic or not. This doesn’t mean that you should take just one, but if you did just take one antioxidant, anthaxanthin is the king.
We also want to pay attention to inflammation, and excess chronic inflammation is another ailment that is very common in diabetes, and is one of the major drivers of insulin resistance actually. Our cells become inflamed from both high blood sugar and high insulin, among other causes, but these are the two big ones for us. If you are on insulin therapy, you especially want to pay attention to this one.
There is a long list of things to take for this, and I just want to mention one thing for this as well though, and that’s pine bark extract, because it’s also been shown to not only reduce inflammation but to reduce blood sugar pretty nicely, although other natural anti-inflammatories have been shown to do so as well.
This inflammation is why both high blood sugar and high insulin are implicated in increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease by the way, as the blood vessels become inflamed first, and their getting clogged up with cholesterol that we see later is actually often an attempt to heal them, although we focus on reducing the cholesterol buildup, but not on fixing the problem itself, which is how conventional medicine approaches everything, and often all they do is get rid of the healing and the underlying disease worsens.
So the third thing we want to focus on is improving circulation, blood flow, and once again there’s several good things you can take here, and one of the good ones is arginine, an amino acid that promotes healthy nitric oxide levels in the blood, which provides proper dilation of the blood vessels. When blood vessels get too constricted, well this isn’t what we want at all, and this in itself leads to reduced blood flow.
We also want to prevent hardening of the arteries, and to do this we must make sure we are getting enough Vitamin K, and K2 to be specific, as what happens when we don’t is that our arteries can become calcified, as K makes sure calcium is properly metabolized. Vitamin K isn’t something you read about much but it’s super important to health, and like a lot of things, many people are deficient.
So we’ve covered a lot of ground here and I’ll be speaking about these particular issues again in more detail but what I want to point out is that while good glycemic control is super important, the body just doesn’t heal itself, and if we want to heal ourselves and allow our health to better flourish, we need to play an active role in the process by helping it out.