There is a ton of information on the web about blood sugar and diabetes and a lot of it is pretty similar, you have the standard simple minded approaches that you see a lot, and there's even quite a bit of homogeneity among alternative viewpoints, but once in a while something really stands out.
This is definitely the case with a simple video on blood sugar by Dr. Eric Berg, and to be honest I wasn't expecting too much from this, it's a very basic talk primarily about what happens when you are a type 2 diabetic, although he does briefly mention type 1 as well as an inability of the pancreas to make insulin, pretty basic stuff.
So the first thing that stood out is the fact that he explains that type 2 diabetes is really primarily a disease of the liver, that's certainly the case but you don't see it put this way very often so already we know he's on the right track at least.
I was quite impressed that he mentioned the role that low potassium can have on diabetes and you really, really don't see that mentioned much and you have to look very hard to find anything at all on this, and while he didn't mention its role in contributing to beta cell dysfunction, he at least mentioned it as being a contributing factor to excess fat storage, and that's really a little known fact, so this guy really has done his homework.
So if you don't get enough potassium, and most people don't actually, this will contribute to being fat, and it also will contribute to having less energy. Maintaining proper potassium intake is extremely important to not only diabetes but overall health, I'll go into this in more detail in a future article though.
So this really is very much an introductory video and if you knew nothing about type 2 diabetes you could watch this and learn a few things, he's talking about the pancreas regulating blood sugar when it's too high, he says the liver regulates it to keep it from being too low, all pretty basic.
So he says there are a couple of important hormones in play here, with the pancreas it's insulin, and with the liver, its......IGF-1. So that sure was unexpected and I'm thinking wow, no one really talks much about this and I'm pretty amazed here. You actually have to dig pretty deep to find info on this actually, wow he really has done his homework after all.
He doesn't go into explaining this in the video, but the mere fact he's not only mentioning it but mentioning it as the primary defect in type 2 diabetes really amazed me, at the time I watched this I was aware of its role but hadn't thought of it as being quite that significant, I still wouldn't say it's the primary defect but it's a big one for sure.
Low IGF-1 levels cause both high blood sugar and high insulin, and what is type 2 diabetes really, well it's high blood sugar and high insulin levels. IGF-1 stands for insulin like growth factor, this isn't the same as human growth hormone by the way, it's similar, but acts on the body in different ways.
If you remember in an earlier article I did on the hormones that raise blood sugar, I mentioned growth hormone as being one of the primary ones that raise it, and specifically, it's association with higher glucagon levels secreted by the pancreas, and glucagon is the actual hormone that directly prompts the liver to release too much glucose, and growth hormone influences this.
Normally, growth hormone and IGF-1 levels are correlated, and you can raise IGF-1 levels by increasing growth hormone. However, in diabetics this mechanism gets broken, so something is interfering with IGF-1 production, and IGF-1 is made in the liver and high insulin messes up the liver so that's the most likely cause.
So diabetics tend to have higher levels of growth hormone and lower levels of IGF-1, and growth hormone puts your blood sugar up, especially in diabetics, and IGF-1 helps maintain healthy blood sugar, so this definitely influences things. So in an attempt to raise IGF-1, the body may be producing excess growth hormone to stimulate that, but due to liver dysfunction this is not very successful, so we're left with high growth hormone levels which increase blood sugar, yet are still deficient in IGF-1 which lowers it.
So I actually expected him to say, the hormone that controls excess liver glucose secretion leading to the condition of type 2 diabetes is glucagon, so when I saw that he went with low levels of IGF-1 that really impressed me. He may even be right though, we're just starting to look into this and the science does tell us that we really need to be paying a lot more attention to this, and IGF-1 is being looked at as a potential therapeutic agent to treat type 2 diabetes.
Naturally, there is usually a lot of focus on coming up with drugs to treat us, although we don't have to wait for this as we can raise the levels of this naturally, and doing so naturally, especially when it comes to using something like fixing your diet, is definitely preferable to medications.
So what lowers this hormone? Well we know excessive carbs is a big culprit, and that's definitely something we as a society engage in, including most diabetics, in spite of their inability to handle them in terms of blood sugar.
So what helps this? Eating protein is the best way to raise IGF-1, and in fact it's suspected that there are issues with the way we use protein that contributes to this, which would end up increasing the need for it, in other words a need to increase our intake to compensate for this.
Conventional advice though directs us to eat a high carb diet and watch our protein intake, which is exactly the worst thing you can do for this condition, and we do have this condition. Increasing protein intake, especially whey protein, has been shown to improve blood sugar, but they still tell us to limit our protein intake and with diabetes they want us to limit it even more, saying you only need the amount to repair muscle and the rest is excess.
So aside from the fact they want you to substitute protein with carbs, this is more bad dietary advice. I have always done better with managing my diabetes by making sure I get a very good amount of protein, and there is some good science behind this, but conventional medicine isn't interested in science, they are only interested in promoting their mistaken beliefs and aren't concerned about being proven wrong, they just ignore this and repeat their dogma.
It is true that protein does increase growth hormone as well, but it also increases IGF-1, and given that we see blood sugar improvements with this, it may be that IGF-1 deficiency is what is behind the issues with the growth hormone thing, growth hormone is generally a good thing and should not be causing high blood sugar so something else is amiss here.
There are also some things you can take to help this, creatine being one of the most notable, and creatine also happens to be one of the best things you can take for your blood sugar, and has been shown to have blood sugar lowering effects similar to prescription medications, while actually seeking to fix things and not just artificially lower blood sugar temporarily like medications generally tend to do.
Another agent that increases this is colostrum, and I take both creatine and colostrum, in addition to eating a high protein diet, but the main reason why I take the colostrum is to improve my gut lining, and that's very important to health overall so it has that additional benefit, and a leaky gut can sure make both your diabetes and your overall health worse.
Getting enough calcium is the other thing you want to pay attention to here, and lower calcium levels are also associated with low IGF-1 levels and calcium by the way is also important in both proper beta cell function, calcium and potassium are the two electrolytes that the beta cells use for their signaling by the way, and calcium is also very important in maintaining a healthy weight, something that not a lot of people know about.
Also, when you eat more protein, this causes more calcium to be excreted so you need to pay even more attention to this. Of course when you look at calcium you have to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D and K as well, as they are both vital in proper calcium metabolism.