Diabetics are deficient in a key hormone involved in regulating blood sugar levels. The hormone, called amylin, is normally secreted by the pancreas to help regulate the interaction between blood sugar, insulin, and glucagon.
It plays a critical role in minimizing blood sugar spikes after eating through three primary mechanisms. Mimicking the effects of amylin is a potential new strategy for reversing diabetes. The following nutritional strategies target amylin’s effects and may help to reverse diabetes:
Preventing Glucose Production
The liver makes glucose when energy supplies drop. Amylin normally inhibits glucose production after eating a meal. However, diabetics continue to make glucose because they lack amylin. This excess glucose production raises blood sugar levels.
The following suggestions may help to mimic amylin’s inhibitory effects on glucose production:
- Supplement with 5 grams of soluble fiber 10 to 20 minutes before eating a meal. A fiber shake made with beta-glucans and cocoa polyphenols (antioxidants) is a great combination for inhibiting glucose production by the liver.
Beta-glucans are soluble fibers found in oat bran. They help to control sugar spikes by limiting carbohydrate absorption. The cocoa polyphenols enhance the blood sugar effects by preventing the digestion of the soluble fibers.
- Drink 1-2 ounces of apple cider vinegar 10-20 minutes after eating a meal. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to optimize carbohydrate metabolism, eliminating the need for the liver to make glucose. The exact mechanism is unknown.
The faster you digest carbohydrates, the greater the spike in blood sugar. Amylin slows down digestion and helps to control blood sugar levels. Diabetics, deficient in amylin, quickly digest carbohydrates and experience sharp spikes in blood sugar.
The following strategies may help to slow digestion and limit blood sugar spikes:
- Drink 3 large glasses of water or unsweetened tea throughout each meal. Drinking fluids when eating, decreases the gastric emptying rate (the rate at which the stomach passes food into the small intestines.
- Add 1-2 ounces of extra virgin olive oil to salads or whole grain breads with each meal. The healthy fats found in olive oil take longer to digest, mimicking amylin’s effects.
Hunger is the result of a complex interaction between brain chemicals and intestinal hormones. It drives a food-seeking behavior in response to cellular energy demand. Hormones, like amylin and leptin, are supposed to inhibit hunger once the energy demand is met.
But an amylin deficiency promotes overeating and disrupts normal sugar metabolism. The result is devastating to diabetics as blood sugar rises and body fat accumulates. The following suggestions may help to suppress hunger:
- Eat complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs fill you up. Eat lots of whole grain, oat bran, and oat meal.
- Ease systemic inflammation. Inflammation interferes with chemical signals originating in the intestines that are supposed to inhibit hunger. Adding the spice turmeric to your diet and supplementing with fish oils can dramatically ease inflammation and stop hunger.
- Supplement with Irvingia gabonensis, a West African plant. A 2008 study showed an average weight loss of 28 pounds in 10 weeks with 300 mg/day of Irvingia. A preliminary publication in the journal Nutrition concluded that this West African plant could significantly inhibit hunger.
What You Need to Know
There’s a good chance that diabetics are deficient in amylin. This leaves you at risk for higher blood sugar and excessive body fat. Mimicking amylin’s effects is a new strategy for reversing diabetes.