Prediabetes is a risk factor for developing diabetes. This condition is diagnosed through glucose testing with values that are higher than normal but lower than the diabetes diagnosis. For example, if normal fasting glucose levels are <100 mg/dL, then prediabetics would have glucose levels of 100-125 mg/dL. However, as these values don’t meet the diabetes levels, most people are unaware they are prediabetic. These levels occur when insulin is released by pancreatic beta cells after eating. Excess insulin exposure for long periods of time impairs the response of the insulin receptors which is to open glucose channels to allow glucose into the cells.
The destruction of the beta cells or damage to the insulin receptors can be due to nutritional, hormonal, or environmental implications. For example, an imbalance of micronutrients such as Chromium, CLA, Lipoic acid, inositol, Magnesium, Vit d, and Vit E can impair glucose uptake. Chromium enhances insulin receptor and signaling, and magnesium can prevent insulin resistance and lower the risk of diabetic complications. Vit D helps in the secretion of insulin and activates insulin receptors.
Furthermore, toxic substances and heavy metals such as statins can impair beta-cell function, cause oxidative damage and destroy pancreatic cells. BPA has also been linked to decreased glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Lastly, elevated cortisol promotes more visceral fat and hypertension while the increase of fatty acids triggers insulin resistance. Leptin, a hunger receptor to signal appetite, becomes elevated in obese individuals further promoting insulin resistance. As per research, The frequency of prediabetes and abdominal obesity has significantly increased among people with a healthy BMI. The primary reason for the increase does not appear to be abdominal obesity.
All of these contributing factors are what is referred to as Metabolic Syndrome, which can ultimately cause insulin resistance.
Food choices are essential in the maintenance and management of Prediabetes. Obesity predisposes to systemic inflammation that fosters the development of insulin resistance. There is also a correlation between insulin resistance and greater amounts of total dietary fats.
Limiting refined and processed carbohydrates and added sugars. Including fiber and whole grains into one’s diet can improve insulin resistance and sensitivity. Nextly, diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are great sources of energy, vitamins, and minerals and can help in clearing glucose from circulating in the blood. Lastly, fats should be in the form of omegas and monounsaturated fats. As a result, it can have a lowering effect on LDL levels and avoid or limit saturated and trans fats.
Certain foods play a part in helping to prevent insulin resistance. Onions and garlic have plenty of antioxidants and quercetin which can be supportive for diabetics. 2-4 cloves of garlic a day have known cardiovascular benefits. Leafy greens help to open blood vessels and have magnesium to help regulate insulin.½ -1 cup of blueberries has been shown to reduce glucose levels through their antioxidant properties. Flax and chia seeds are rich in Omega 3’s, can help lower inflammation, and are full of fiber and lignans, a rich source of antioxidants.
Nutritional interventions play a pivotal role in preventing prediabetes and numerous dietetic strategies have been carried out across the world with varying degrees of success in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes, among other outcomes, such as low GI diet, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Keto, Mediterranean, and others.
Supplemental interventions can help in controlling pre-diabetes.
Magnesium glycinate plays a role in insulin uptake. 100-400 mg a day helps to reduce the risks associated with the risk of diabetes by 15 percent.
Vitamin D helps reduce the development of metabolic syndrome, and Cod liver oil has Vit k, E and D is a great option as well. Several studies have shown that Vitamin D, with lifestyle modifications such as exercise management, can lower the risk of diabetes even further.
Folate protects against metabolic syndrome, as a sufficient methylation status is crucial. Folate can decrease fasting glucose with a potential benefit on prolonged insulin resistance.
Essential oils like fenugreek, cumin, and oregano enhance insulin sensitivity and cinnamon can help blood sugar and lipid levels.
Prediabetes, which can be caused by impaired glucose tolerance, has the potential to be decreased with intervention and care. Being at risk doesn’t mean you will definitely develop type 2 diabetes. The good news is that you can reverse prediabetes by making changes to diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight, along with other lifestyle changes, which can bring your blood sugar levels back to a healthy range.
“The sooner people find out they have prediabetes and take action, the better their chances of preventing Type 2 diabetes.”
–Ann Albright, Ph.D., RD