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Type 1 Diabetes: A Holistic Approach

Posted Mar 26 2009 3:38pm 1 Comment

Type 1 Diabetes: A Holistic Approach

I was hoping you may be able to answer a question, Does Diabetes type 1 have any effect on the bodies ability to burn body fat?


In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Conditions associated with type 1 diabetes include hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis and celiac disease. Having type 1 diabetes increases your risk for many serious complications. Some complications of type 1 diabetes include: heart disease (cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy). Learn more about these complications and how to cope with them. (American Diabetes Association)

There are many things that you can do with someone who has DM 1 when it comes to training. As well, you need to focus on the nutrition and lifestyle side of it as well. As balance or homeostasis, on a minute-by-minute basis is the key factor. Lets focus first on some exercise recommendations and then we will move on to nutrition and lifestyle:

1. I find that most people who have DM 1 try to train like everyone else and never really understand how THEY are supposed to train. Keep in mind this can change per person, as each one has a different allostatic load to begin with. I find either way, that most overtrain, which will have a profound affect on their blood sugar levels, energy levels and fat burning capabilities. When you overtrain, research has shown that after about 30-45 min the body keeps producing cortisol (fat storing hormone), but starts to decrease the production of ALL GH. You see most people doing 45-60 min of cardio and working out/kicking their butt with anything and everything that will make them sweat and be sore the next day. In my opinion, this is one of the many reasons why some people have trouble loosing weight. So, my recommendation would be to:
a. Cardio: Use burst type training, use sprints with rest, short boughts of cardio (jump roping, etc) to get more of a GH-anabolic response, rather than cortisol-catabolic response.
b. Training: First off, you or the client needs to be assessed to find out their overall allostatic load, their goals, any postural issues, and skill level, as well as to find out exactly what needs to be stretched and what needs to be strengthened. From there, I would design a workout program that either does not exceed 30 min OR design some type of mini-circuit or circuit program (that does not exceed 30 min keeping intensity=weight lower and reps higher).
c. I find that most that do overtrain under eat! There has been a lot of research showing that the right type and amount of exercise is good for DM1 clients, but proper nutrition each day as well as moderate healthy weight gain prolong s the life of that individual.
2. Another area to look into to make sure someone with DM 1 is close to homeostasis is “stress.” We all have many stressors (chemical, EMF, nutritional, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual), but it all depends on the person and how they adapt to them. If we are constantly bombarded with theses stressors all the time, this creates sympathetic overload (increasing overall allostatic load), which puts us I in a catabolic state. The gland involved in this is the adrenal glands, which produce mineral corticoids, Glucocorticoids (we will focus on these) and androgens.

When the body is stressed, you release cortisol to help fight inflammation, help to regulate BP and blood sugar levels! So to make a long story short, the more stressed one is or the less one adapts to ones life, the more cortisol is pushed out. Which has a profound effect or stress on the pancreas, because every time cortisol goes up, insulin is supposed to go up. The longer this keeps on going, the less and less cortisol the body can push out and the body starts going through the many stages of Adrenal Fatigue. What you start seeing is a person in a catabolic state (flabby and no muscle tissue), someone who heals slowly and is frequently sick, and someone who has energy problems, low BP issues, hypoglycemic issues and more!

Another important issue is protein and fat to carb ratios. If you look at most Americans diets, they predominately eat carbohydrates of all sorts. AS you know, this is not a good situation for a DM1 client. Find the right ratios by working with a Licensed Nutritionist, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor or a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3 is key.

Why you ask? Lets keep it simple:
a. Carbs: These foods are essential for the fuel of our body. But when over eaten, create weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, nutrient and hormonal deficiencies. At the same time, guess what breaks them down mostly….insulin! If you have DM1, you have trouble breaking down these sugars, which leads to weight gain and high blood sugar levels which can lead to neuropathy, macular degeneration amputation and more!
b. Protein and fats: These are the most under eaten and most understood foods in our society. They are the building blocks to who you are, to every hormone (including insulin) in your body, to the building of your organs, NS, bones, teeth and eyes. They are also the building blocks to all the cells of your body. At the same time, when you eat protein and fats, you decrease the amount of insulin output, as well as increase the amount of bile and other enzymes to break them down. Bile is not fat storing, takes eating good “fats” to loose “fat.”

The bottom line here is this:
a. Search the web and research the work of Hans Seyle
b. Read or reference the books The Cortisol Connection and Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
c. Read and APPLY the principles in the book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek
d. Work with an MD at BioHealth Diagnostics to get an adrenal lab (#210) done ( ).

3. Nutrition and Lifestyle: Gluten /Gliadin

What exactly is sub-clinical gluten intolerance? Sub-clinical gluten intolerance refers to exposure to the gliadin molecule and to a specific inflammatory reaction-taking place in the small intestine of afflicted individuals. In fact, gliadin intolerance would be a more scientifically accurate term than gluten intolerance to refer to this condition.

This subject is confusing and there is much misinformation about gluten and gliadin. To clarify: gliadin, the molecule that causes the problem, is present in some, but not all gluten containing foods. People with this problem must avoid glutens from the grains of wheat, rye, barley, oats, kamut, spelt, quinoa, amaranth, teff and couscous. Some of these grains, like oats, have lower concentrations of both gluten and gliadin than wheat does, but any food containing this specific gliadin, even from a lower concentration food source, is not tolerated by people with sub-clinical gluten intolerance.

This dietary restriction eliminates bread, pasta, bagels and cereals. There are rice and almond based breads available, usually found in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. There are also rice and corn-based noodles, cereals and crackers as well as other gluten free substitutes on the market.

Eating gluten causes an array of issues with the immune system, hormonal system, detoxification system, GI system and respiratory system. Once again this puts more stress on the body, causing each system to work overtime, thus stressing every other system in the body. There are nutritional, hormonal and many GI disorders that are associated with gluten intolerance such as Vitamin A and E, progesterone/estrogen/DHEA and testosterone, folic acid, calcium, B12, leaky gut syndrome, other food intolerances and blood sugar fluctuations. So the bottom line is to either do some research on this to see if you are, get a lab done to see if you are intolerant ( or just start eliminating for 90 days and see how your body responds. I have seen most clients that I work with that have DM1, DM2 or insulin resistance have severe intolerances to gluten. I am not saying this is the cause, but it is just another piece to the healing puzzle.

Josh Rubin

Dr. Dan Kalish at

Comments (1)
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You should really talk to your doctor. There are a number of medications for both the diabetes and the inflamation that you are experiencing. A lot of the perscribed holistic cures are 100% placebo. Holistic cures do work - just use one that is based on research.

Not sure what your medical alert link was about, but there you go.
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