Herbs and Vitamins for Diabetes

Diabetes is characterized by higher than normal blood sugar or blood glucose levels in the body. While a certain amount of glucose is necessary for proper cell nutrition, abnormally high glucose levels can be harmful to your health and can lead to serious complications.

Glucose needed for proper cell metabolism is found in the food we eat and is also produced by the liver and muscles. However, without the aid of insulin produced by the pancreas, glucose is not able to enter the cells. Consequently, if insulin levels are too low or the insulin doesn't work properly, glucose is not able to enter the cells, remains in the blood, and increases blood levels of glucose that lead to diabetes.

There are three primary types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in adolescents, teenagers, or young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked and destroyed the pancreas cell responsible for insulin production. Traditional treatments for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin shots or using an insulin pump, making dietary changes, exercise, taking aspirin daily, and strictly controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is by far the most common form of diabetes in the world. People can develop type 2 diabetes at any time during their life even during early childhood. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin and the fat, muscle, or liver cells do not use it properly. Obesity can drastically increase the probability of developing type 2 diabetes. Traditional treatments for type 2 diabetes include using doctor prescribed diabetes medications, dietary changes, regular exercise, taking aspirin daily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

Gestational Diabetes

While not as common as type 1 or type 2, gestational diabetes can develop during the late stages of pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had gestational diabetes is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes is caused by the increased hormone levels during pregnancy or from a shortage of insulin in the body during pregnancy.

People with diabetes have a high risk of contracting a number of ancillary health conditions including heart disease and atherosclerosis. In addition, those with diabetes have a higher mortality rate if they also have high homocysteine levels.