Diabetes is a complex, multi-factorial condition that takes many variables into account, including diet, exercise, and family history. Typically, if certain markers are detected early enough (elevated blood glucose, increased hemoglobin A1C), lifestyle and/or pharmaceutical treatments can be implemented to slow or reverse the progression of type II diabetes before long-term complications arise. Since the essence of naturopathic medicine is addressing core diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to disease, it's essential for anyone who's dealing with type II diabetes, or even "pre-diabetes", to incorporate a naturopathic treatment protocol as part of their long-term strategy.
A new joint study by Group Health Research Institute and Bastyr University Research Institute found that type II diabetes patients who received naturopathic care (as an adjunct to conventional care) had lower blood-sugar levels, better eating and exercise habits, improved moods, and a stronger sense of control over their condition than did patients receiving only conventional care. The findings, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, show that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may have several positive effects on people with type 2 diabetes, which is very encouraging for patients who are seeking out alternatives to manage their symptoms. Forty study participants received counseling on diet, exercise, and glucose monitoring from four naturopathic physicians (NDs) in addition to conventional diabetes care from their medical doctors, including prescription medications. Many of the participants also received stress-management care and dietary supplements. Researchers then compared these 40 participants with 329 patients receiving only conventional diabetes care. After six months and about four naturopathic treatment visits, participants demonstrated improved self-care, more consistent monitoring of glucose, and improved moods. Hemoglobin A1c rates (a measure of blood-sugar control) were nearly a full percentage point lower for those patients. This compares with a drop of only 0.5 percent over the same time period for 329 clinically similar patients receiving only conventional diabetes care.
Hopefully, this will encourage medical doctors and patients alike to seriously consider the benefits of naturopathic medicine in the management of type II diabetes. Doing as much as possible to get a handle on this disease is extremely important, as it's one of the top 10 causes of death for Americans, racking up close to $178 billion per year in health care costs. By making a collaborative effort, there's no reason why we can't be proactive about halting this epidemic from spiraling out of control!