Being proactive about your diabetes mellitus treatment is important. Sometimes there are safer alternatives to what your doctor is prescribing. Here are some common diabetes mellitus medications that actually worsen the condition.
Contrary to popular belief, doctors don’t always know what’s best for your health. They’re trained to be competent, not excellent. They may prescribe you antibiotics for acne without telling you to stay away from dairy products, which have been proven to exacerbate acne. The same is true for diabetes mellitus treatment. Did you know there are some diabetes mellitus medications that can actually exacerbate the disease in the long run?
If your doctor has you on these diabetes mellitus meds, here’s why and what you should ask him to switch you to:
1. Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
Dr. Louise Aronne, M.D. of New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center says that some doctors don’t know that some diabetes mellitus medications have weight gain as a proven side effect. Rosiglitazone, also known by its brand name Avandia, is one such drug. It increases insulin sensitivity. But it’s also known to increase your risk for heart disease and weight gain.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health say that Avandia can cause rapid weight gain. In one study on mice given rosiglitazone, they gained significantly more weight than the control group of mice fed the same diet.
Safer alternative: Metformin
Metformin is also a medication used to treat diabetes mellitus, but it’s been shown to cause weight loss instead of weight gain. It helps lower insulin resistance, but also lowers your appetite. It can also prevent some diabetes mellitus complications, like kidney failure, blindness, and neuropathy.
2. Pioglitazone (Actos)
Pioglitazone, which is also known by the brand name Actos, is used to treat diabetes mellitus type 2 by lowering blood sugar levels. But researchers also found that pioglitazone caused significant weight gain in diabetes mellitus type 2 patients even though it lowered their fasting blood sugar levels.
Safer alternative: Sitagliptin (Januvia)
Sitagliptin, which is also known by the brand name Januvia, boosts insulin levels by inhibiting the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) enzyme. DPP-4 increases blood sugar levels by promoting glucagon production and secretion. With DPP-4 inhibited, insulin release is promoted because the hormones that downregulate it can’t activate.
Sitagliptin doesn’t cause weight gain, and has actually been found to help prevent diabetes mellitus complications. Researchers found that sitagliptin helps prevent neuropathy and kidney failure by lowering inflammation, cell damage, and cell death in the nervous system and kidneys.
3. Glibenclamide (Glyburide)
Glibenclamide, which is also known as glyburide, is another diabetes mellitus medication that can cause weight gain. It boosts your insulin levels by binding to your pancreas’s insulin-producing cells and stimulating them to make more insulin.
But glibenclamide has been found to cause weight gain. Researchers found that patients on glibenclamide gained about 3.74 more pounds, on average, than diabetes mellitus patients who simply made dietary changes.
Safer alternative: Exenatide (Byetta)
Exenatide, which is also known by the brand name Byetta, is an injectable medication that treats diabetes mellitus type 2. It’s injected within an hour before the first and last meals of the day, but there is also a once-a-week only dose. It acts on your pancreas’s cells and boosts insulin production while also lowering its glucagon production. It also slows down the absorption of sugar in your gut, which helps control blood sugar levels by preventing blood sugar spikes.
Best of all, it also helps suppress your appetite, which leads to weight loss. Researchers found that diabetes mellitus patients on exenatide experience a long-term weight loss effect due to increased satiety.
Exenatide’s common side effects are usually mild gastrointestinal symptoms, but it can also cause pancreatitis.
4. Glipizide (Glucotrol)
Glipizide, which is also known by the brand name Glucotrol, is another diabetes mellitus medication that acts on your pancreas’s insulin-producing cells to promote insulin production. But researchers found that glipizide caused an average weight gain of about 2.65 pounds in diabetes mellitus patients.
Safer alternative: Pramlintide (Symlin)
Pramlintide, which is also known by the brand name Symlin, is a medication that can treat diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. It’s a compound that mimics amylin, and is injected to enter directly into the bloodstream. It helps inhibit glucagon production and suppresses your appetite.
Researchers found that pramlintide caused an average weight loss of 3.75 pounds in diabetes mellitus type 1 patients and 8.16 pounds in diabetes mellitus type 2 patients after a year of treatment.
If you’re on any of these potentially diabetes mellitus-causing medications that may also increase your risk for diabetes mellitus complications, you should consider asking your doctor about these safer alternatives since they promote weight loss and can even protect you from diabetes mellitus complications.
How Weight Gain Can Cause and Exacerbate Diabetes Mellitus in the Long Term
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is an unavoidable condition for only a minority of sufferers, like those with improperly functioning glands that result in obesity. The secret truth is that diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disease that’s mostly caused by a careless lifestyle. It turns out that about 90 percent of diabetes mellitus type 2 patients are overweight or obese. That means that if you’re not carelessly putting on the pounds, you’re only facing the risk of being in the 10 percent of normal weight diabetes mellitus patients. But if you’re not watching your weight, then you risk becoming one of the 90 percent of high BMI diabetes mellitus patients.
Researchers also found that losing weight boosts insulin sensitivity even without exercise. They also found that obese diabetes mellitus patients who went on a calorie-restricted diet for only a week experienced a significant decrease in insulin resistance. These findings point to the conclusion that becoming fat can slowly cause the development of diabetes mellitus, while losing weight helps prevent and treat it.
The theory (which seems to be correct, given all the evidence) is that when you get too fat, your body doesn’t want to store any more energy as fat. Since insulin tells your cells to take in energy, your cells start rejecting the excess energy by not responding to insulin. Then, when you lose weight, your body has the capacity to store energy again and your cells become responsive to insulin again.
Another way to look at it is like when the milkman comes around the neighborhood delivering milk. If households are out of milk, they’ll welcomingly open their doors. But if they’ve still got a stockpile, their doors remain closed. If everyone has a stockpile of milk, the milkman ends up with a surplus of undelivered milk. The milkman is like sugar in your bloodstream, and the houses are like your cells. When you have a normal weight and have a great insulin response, your cells welcomingly take in the sugar. When you’ve got a stockpile of energy stored and have diabetes mellitus, your cells don’t “open the door” and the sugar builds up to high levels in your bloodstream. But once you get rid of the stockpile (losing weight), then your cells will welcome sugar again.
But don’t think that you’ll automatically develop diabetes mellitus by becoming overweight or obese – only 30 percent of overweight and obese patients suffer from diabetes mellitus. Just consider that being fat is one of the major risk factors for diabetes mellitus. That’s why these diabetes mellitus medications that cause weight gain actually make your condition worse in the long run. In the short term, the medications lower your blood sugar levels, but if they make you fatter, then you’re only worsening your insulin response in the long term. It’s like they’re putting out the smoke but adding to the fire.
Natural Supplements That Can Boost Insulin Sensitivity While Helping You Lose Weight
If you’re now convinced to switch to these safer diabetes mellitus medications that promote weight loss, consider that even they have side effects (albeit less harmful). The good news is that there are natural, holistically healthy supplements that have been proven to lower insulin resistance, help normalize blood sugar levels, and promote weight loss. Of course, these won’t work as fast or efficient as pharmaceuticals, but they’re safer and healthy for your whole body. Here are a few:
1. Fish Oil
Researchers found that fish oil supplementation has protective effects against neuropathy arising from diabetes mellitus complications. They also found that diabetes mellitus type 2 patients who supplemented with more fish oil experienced a greater decrease in body mass index, blood sugar levels, and lipid levels. They concluded that taking fish oil supplements can help diabetes mellitus type 2 patients manage their blood sugar levels and protect them from heart disease arising from diabetes mellitus complications.
But fish oil is also good for your brain and has been found to protect you from neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s. It also has been found to boost your cognition. Supplementing with fish oil has also been proven to lower depression.
Fish oil also lowers your overall inflammation, and researchers found that fish oil supplements are a good alternative to anti-inflammatory medications. Since diabetes mellitus increases overall inflammation, fish oil supplementation helps counteract that.
Fish oil also lowers your overall risk for developing cancer. More benefits from fish oil supplementation are still being discovered by scientists. But because of its lowering effects on insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, and weight, as well as its protective effects against diabetes mellitus complications, it’s definitely a supplement you should be taking if you have diabetes mellitus type 2.
Magnesium is a vital element everyone needs daily whether they have diabetes mellitus or not. But researchers found that most people suffering from diabetes mellitus type 2 are deficient in magnesium. They say that magnesium regulates insulin, and a magnesium deficiency can worsen insulin resistance. They even say that not getting enough magnesium is one of the risk factors for diabetes mellitus because there’s evidence that it lowers insulin sensitivity in people who don’t have diabetes mellitus.
These researchers found that high blood sugar levels cause your body to excrete more magnesium into your urine, which worsens the magnesium deficiency. But they also found that most diabetes mellitus type 2 patients don’t take in enough magnesium through their diet.
Magnesium deficiency in diabetes mellitus patients has also been linked with increasing the risk for diabetes mellitus complications. They found that very low levels of magnesium is a sign of neuropathy, while also increasing the prevalence of arrhythmias.
The good news is that taking in higher levels of magnesium (without overdosing) has been shown to boost insulin sensitivity, lower overall inflammation, and delay the development of diabetes mellitus type 2. Although most doctors ignore the magnesium status of diabetes mellitus type 2 patients, researchers found that supplementing with magnesium lowers both their fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels, while also boosting their insulin sensitivity.
These researchers conclude that supplementing with magnesium is a potentially viable diabetes mellitus type 2 treatment because of its beneficial effects on blood sugar levels and insulin response, and because it lowers the risk of diabetes mellitus complications by lowering inflammation and helping neutralize the elevated levels of free radicals caused by the condition.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency also plagues most people suffering from diabetes mellitus type 2. They also found that supplementing with vitamin D boosts insulin sensitivity and insulin production by the pancreas. Some studies have found that supplementing with vitamin D in conjunction with calcium lowers fasting blood sugar levels.
Researchers also found that diabetes mellitus type 1 patients who were vitamin D deficient experienced better blood sugar level control after supplementing with vitamin D. Researchers also found that vitamin D deficient diabetes mellitus type 2 patients can enjoy the same enhanced blood sugar level control if they supplement with vitamin D.
They also found that taking vitamin D promotes weight loss and suppresses your appetite by boosting your leptin levels, which is the hormone responsible for making you feel full. If you take vitamin D and it leads to you having a lower BMI, then supplementation helps directly treat your diabetes mellitus in the long run.
Vitamin D also lowers cortisol levels, which lowers stress and inflammation. All these health benefits make vitamin D a necessary daily supplement if you’re suffering with diabetes mellitus. Given that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among diabetes mellitus sufferers and that supplementing with vitamin D seems to help insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels, there is a strong chance that vitamin D deficiency is one of the major risk factors for diabetes mellitus, which makes daily supplementation even important.
If you’re vitamin D deficient, supplementing with vitamin D can only be good for your body. And even if you’re not deficient, getting higher levels of vitamin D has been shown to lower depression, boost bone health, boost immunity, protect your cardiovascular system, and protect against neurodegenerative disorders.
But It Doesn’t Always Have to Be About the Pills and Injections. You Can Proactively Boost Your Insulin Sensitivity With These Physical Diabetes Mellitus Treatments
Although taking diabetes mellitus supplements and medications are probably the quickest ways to boost your insulin sensitivity and lower your blood sugar levels, did you know there are also natural, healthy activities you can do that can improve your insulin response and normalize your blood sugar levels over a longer period of time?
Here are a few you can try:
1. Intermittent Fasting
Simply change your eating habits to include a daily fast. Researchers found that diabetes mellitus type 2 patients who ate two large meals a day experienced weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and increased insulin sensitivity. Specifically, the patients took their calorie-restricted six meals per day and combined them into breakfast and lunch. They didn’t eat dinner or any other meal besides those two.
This diet regimen falls under intermittent fasting because you’re essentially starving your body between lunch and the next day’s breakfast. Intermittent fasting has been found to protect your cardiovascular health, help you live longer, improve your immunity, lower inflammation, and more.
But it’s all or nothing – you have to commit to eating only breakfast and lunch. Breaking that arrangement by eating dinner will make you go over your daily calorie restriction and put you in danger for weight gain and high blood sugar levels.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that exercising can help boost insulin sensitivity and lower your blood sugar levels. It makes sense – if your muscles suddenly need more energy because you’re using them more, then they’ll take in more sugar from your bloodstream, which helps lower your overall blood sugar levels.
Here are the two kinds of exercises they recommend the most for diabetes mellitus patients:
Three days of aerobic exercise every week. The ADA says that diabetes mellitus patients should do moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise at least three times per week. They actually recommend exercising five times per week for 30 minutes each session, but say that you can also exercise a total of two and a half hours per week as long as you don’t go more than two days without exercising. They say that aerobic exercise boosts insulin sensitivity, while also relieving stress. You can jog, run, dance, play tennis, climb stairs, or even do heavy gardening to get your aerobic exercise in!
Two days of strength training every week. The ADA says that strength training helps diabetes mellitus patients lower their blood sugar levels for the long term by increasing their muscle mass. Muscle cells passively burn more calories than fat cells, which means having more muscle boosts your resting metabolism. This leads to lower fasting blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. Strength training also strengthens your bones. Strength training exercises range from carrying canned goods and water bottles to using weights and weight lifting equipment. Doing push-ups and sit-ups are strength training exercises too!
Watch TV sitting on the floor or an exercise ball. It would be best if you could quit sitting or lying for long periods of time watching TV because sedentary activity lowers your metabolism, which could worsen your insulin resistance. But if you can’t stop, there’s a way for you to burn more calories while watching, which also helps lower your blood sugar levels and boost your insulin sensitivity. Instead of lying on a couch, chair, or your bed, sit on the floor or an exercise ball. These will make your muscles work harder to keep you balanced, which helps tone them and makes them burn a few more calories. Sitting on an exercise ball is the better choice because it helps tone more core muscles.
What You Should Keep in Mind About Treating Your Diabetes Mellitus
The key is knowing that not all diabetes mellitus medications are equal – some are bad for your condition in the long run. You should also know that there are natural, healthy supplements you can take that can have the same effects as pharmaceutical diabetes mellitus medications. There are also activities you can do regularly that lower your blood sugar levels and improve your insulin response.
But the real takeaway is that if you want to permanently cure your diabetes mellitus type 2, you should strive for a normal BMI. All of your doctor’s advice, all these medications, and all these diabetes mellitus treatment activities – they’re all about losing weight. Your long-term goal should be to lose enough weight that your cells are responding normally to insulin again. Don’t lose hope – researchers were able to permanently reverse diabetes mellitus type 2 in patients by having them go on a strict fast, which led to weight loss.
Remember to ask your doctor before changing your diabetes mellitus treatment – some medications, supplements, and activities are only effective for diabetes mellitus type 2, and can be dangerous for diabetes mellitus type 1.