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  • Writer's pictureDr. Angela Palmer

Weight loss and type 2 Diabetes - A Most Modern Dilemma.


In a world of excess and extremes, we face a barrage of conflicting information about how to achieve a heathy level of blood sugar levels and the use of medications that are produced for the primary ‘on label’ use of treating Type 2 Diabetes, that have been co-opted for a weight loss quick fix leading to shortages around the world of this ‘miracle’ drug.

 

Now there is, as most of us know, no such thing as a ‘miracle’ drug, as all drugs have significant side effects so this month I’d like to high-light some of the problems and benefits of Dulaglutide, under the brand name Trulicity.

 



Firstly, understanding what Type 2 Diabetes is, is vital. Unlike type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes is the result of eating too much sugar which includes processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, sugar and sugary soft drinks, cakes, processed cereals etc. Over many years the insulin producing cells in our pancreas become ‘fatigued’ therefore producing less insulin and the receptors on our cells that are opened by insulin to let the glucose in, fail to respond to the high sugar levels in the blood. This has two terrible results, the cell is starved of energy resulting in extreme fatigue (or energy highs and lows) AND as an acid, the high levels of sugar in the blood cause damage to the blood vessels (sugar is and acid, that’s why we use sugar soap to wash the walls…) resulting in gangrene, vision loss, stroke and heart disease. Type 2 diabetes incidence according to the ABS has risen from 3.3% to 5.3% for the overall population over the last few decades increases to 17% by age 65.

 



Now there is no doubt that for those who struggle with both Type 2 Diabetes and obesity, this drug has been very helpful to ‘get the ball rolling’ in two major ways. Firstly; the drug acts like the hormone Glucagon that stimulates insulin production and therefore allows the sugar into the cells, dropping the blood sugar levels. It delays gastric emptying so appetite is much reduced. The food literally sits in your gut longer, and this can be a problem if the drug is used long term. For short term use, this can be very useful  however long-term use is less advised for management of either high blood sugar levels or weight loss. Ideally it can be a great start for those who eat sugar from addiction (sugar is more addictive than cocaine and stimulates the dopamine ‘pleasure’ receptors in the brain, more on that next month), to allow the development of more healthy eating habits.

 

The possible side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bad breath and bloating in the stomach, loss of appetite (which is not good when you need good healthy nutrients) and muscle weakness.  In Chinese medicine understanding, the pancreas supports nourishment and strength of muscles and concentration and thinking, so it may result in foggy headedness.

 

Long term this drug, by way of forcing the pancreas to produce extra insulin may cause pancreatitis (a severe painful condition) dizziness, dehydration and possible Gall Bladder complications, and thyroid complications. It’s vital that you tell your GP if you have a family history of these conditions before taking this medication.

 

One alternative to this drug include the well-researched mineral chromium picolinate, this has been shown in numerous studies to increase the effectiveness of insulin, increasing the uptake of glucose to the cells and therefore increasing energy levels and reducing Blood sugar levels and reducing craving for sugar significantly. This has no noted side effects but as always consult a health professional before taking any supplements (if your GP does know of this then speak to a naturopath or myself). Other foods for lowering blood sugar levels include Gou Ji Berries, Barberries, kefir, broccoli, pumpkin, avocados, oats citrus and apples. Increasing physical  actively and reducing processed foods, eating good amounts of protein (nuts, seeds, eggs, beans, fish, meats) every meal with plenty of fresh vegetables and keeping fruit to only 1 or 2 pieces a day or once small measure of fruit juice only) will have you well on the way to getting fit, more active and you will feel happier and more vital than ever before.

 

Until next time Stay well

Dr Angela Palmer

 

 

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