So you've just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and you're scared. Admittedly, who wouldn't be, it's nerve racking to get a diagnosis with a doctor saying you'll be stuck on medication for the rest of your life and you have to remove carbohydrates. I mean, who would want to give up carbs? I sure wouldn't.
However, you're resilient, and you're the type of person that needs answers. You refuse to accept the fact that diabetes has just developed for no apparent reason and you're determined to find the root cause.
First, let's go through exactly what is diabetes and what are the typical causes of it.
Diabetes is a condition in which your body either can't produce insulin or can't properly use the insulin it produces. For the sake of today's article, we'll be focusing more on type 2 diabetes which is when the body can't use the insulin it produces. The inability to produce insulin within the pancreas is related to the autoimmune condition of type 1. We need insulin to signal to our cells to uptake glucose when it is free flowing in the blood. Without insulin, or lack the ability to eb influenced by insulin, the cells don't open up and we risk developing high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels, in extreme cases such as with diabetes, can damage organs, nerves and blood vessels, in which can cause a series of issues down the line.
Typically, many people think that diabetes is caused by too many carbohydrates in the diet. While this can be correlated to some cases, for the vast majority of people receiving this type of diagnosis, it is much more complicated than that. Things that can result in type 2 diabetes are things like stress, cellular dehydration, iron overload, heavy metal toxicity, infections or underlying inflammation like fungal infections, and of course, the topic we'll be diving into today, mineral imbalances.
As we continue to say in nearly every blog now, minerals are like the electricity to our cells. Without minerals, we wouldn't be able to synthesize enzymatic reactions (like up taking glucose), produce hormones (like insulin), be able to metabolize glucose appropriately in the digestive tract, or store glucose (particularly in the liver). Minerals are quite literally the foundations to everything, and we thought we'd highlight some essential mineral imbalances that you might be missing and that could be the root cause to your diagnosis- especially if you're already doing "all the right things".
1. Chromium Deficiency
Chromium is an essential mineral we need for glucose metabolism. It's a constituent to GTF (glucose tolerance factor) which is a form of dietary chromium, and acts as a physiological enhancer of insulin activity, binding to insulin and potentiating its action by about 3 times the amount. It also is required to activate phosphoglucomutase and other enzymes. Phosphoglucomutase in particular is an enzyme for starch biosynthesis, thus helping with glucose metabolism. To check out our chromium supplement, click here!
2. Zinc Deficiency
Zinc has over 500 enzymatic reactions, and one of them being helping produce insulin, insulin release and extend the life span of how long insulin works within the cell. It does so by activating the phosphorylation of insulin receptor thus enhancing glucose transport into cells. It has also been found to protect again β-cell loss. β-cells are what make insulin within the pancreas, and many people with type 2 diabetes struggle to maintain them in the early stages. Thankfully, zinc can hinder that process and you can find our Upgraded Zinc here!
3. Calcium: Magnesium ratio imbalance
This is what we would acknowledge as the "Blood Sugar Ratio" on a hair test. This ratio is important to revise, even if calcium and magnesium levels are within the "optimal ranges", sometimes the ratios between the two could still influence blood sugar levels. Calcium is required for the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, and magnesium is needed for the regulation of how much glucose is up taken into the cell. That being said, an excess amount of calcium built up in the tissues could result in insulin resistance, for calcium could also build up around the cells and hinder insulin from entering, but a deficiency of calcium could create a lack in one's ability to make insulin at all. Magnesium on the other hand works differently. It's rare that anyone would have too much magnesium, but a high level of it on a hair test is typically a sign of a loss, and acts similarly to if one would have a deficiency, where someone might struggle with how much glucose they're up taking in the cell leaving them feeling like they're hyperglycemic. We have both a calcium supplement which is a blend of calcium, magnesium and boron here, or a magnesium supplement alone here if you want to check it out!
4. Manganese Deficiency
Manganese is not a popular mineral amongst the essential nutrient conversations that many people have, but it is actually required for mitochondrial function, helping produce energy within the cell and supporting thyroid function. The main enzyme that is produced is manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and acts similarly to an antioxidant within the cells. Another one would be the activation of the pyruvate carboxylase enzyme which is important for gluconeogenesis, a process in which the body makes carbohydrates from non-carbohydrate precursors. Lastly, regarding thyroid function, every single cell in the body requires T3 to function, and manganese supports the production of T4, which is the precursor to T3. To get more details about our manganese supplement, click here!
5. Potassium Deficiency
Potassium is an essential mineral required to sensitize our cells to glucose. Without it, our cells don't know what to do with it and stay closed off. Not only that, but it helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates and acts as a cofactor to pyruvate kinase, similar to manganese, which is an enzyme in the last step of glycolysis where we produce energy from ATP. In addition, it also helps us store glycogen in the liver for the future, for when we are depleted of energy and need a blood sugar rise. If you're interested in taking more potassium, click here!
As you can see, minerals play a big role in how we utilize sugar in our bodies, and the best way to really figure out what is going on is always through testing and not guessing. If you're interested in diving int that and seeing if your minerals are out of whack, order your HTMA kit here to get some answers!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach