The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that diabetes is on the rise.
In fact, between 2010 and 2012 the number of Americans diagnosed with this blood sugar condition increased by 3.3 million, bringing the total to 29.1 million in the U.S. alone.
To put this into perspective, this means that approximately ten percent of the population has diabetes. Of these, one out of every three to four remain undiagnosed according to the ADA, which means that these individuals are not getting the treatment they need to live healthy, active lives.
But that’s not the worst part.
What’s even more astonishing, and perhaps even more troublesome, is that a whopping 86 million adult Americans have pre-diabetes, says the ADA.
This puts this large segment of the population at higher risk of developing full-blown diabetes, which means that it also places them at risk of other conditions common to this disease, some of which include heart attack, stroke, vision problems, kidney disease, and lower-limb amputations. In severe cases, diabetes may even lead to death.
Reversing the trend through lifestyle changes
It’s important to note that only 1.25 million have type 1 diabetes, whereas the remaining 27.85 million have type 2 diabetes, which is the type most commonly associated with lifestyle, making it largely preventable. Understandably, the increasing number of diabetic and pre-diabetic Americans has many health experts and agencies alarmed.
That’s why one of the top suggestions for reversing this trend is a change in diet. For instance, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases offers 50-plus ways to achieve this goal, with options ranging from eating on smaller plates so as to better control portions to swapping out high-in-sugar soda and replacing it with better-for-you water.
Moving more is another frequently suggested lifestyle change when it comes to preventing or managing type 2 diabetes. To highlight the importance of physical exercise, Harvard’s School of Public Health points to research which has found that a mere 30 minutes of brisk walking daily “reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.”
While these are both effective actions to take in the fight against diabetes and pre-diabetes, there are other things you can do to potentially lower your risk as well. One involves a supplement called berberine.
Berberine as an additional treatment option
Healthline explains that berberine is an alkaloid herb which, because of its anti-bacterial properties, “was used by a number of Native American tribes for treating ailments, including stomach ulcers and eye irritation.” It can also be found in some dyes due to its yellow color.
However, according to research, it’s also possible that this particular supplement, which can be found in goldenseal and Oregon grape plants, may also help with blood sugar issues.
For example, in May 2008, the journal Metabolism published a study which was conducted to ascertain whether berberine was effective in treating type 2 diabetes. After just one week, and continuing throughout the three-month study, many of the 84 subjects taking berberine noted decreased A1c levels and fasting blood glucose levels. Researchers also noted that cholesterol levels went down in this group as well.
Another study published in February of 2010, also in Metabolism, found similar results, adding that liver function “was improved greatly” in the subjects taking berberine. They attributed this positive response to berberine increasing insulin receptor expression in the body’s cells.
This is promising information for the roughly 115 million Americans who are either pre-diabetic or diabetic, whether diagnosed or not.
The one word of caution, says Healthline, is that this substance should not be taken by infants or women who are pregnant or lactating; otherwise, “In its pure form, berberine is generally considered safe for adults.”
The benefits of berberine may be a great option for many of your diabetic and pre-diabetic chiropractic patients.