How to Reverse Diabetes
One of the things that gets me excited about running a site and forum like this is that the body can so often heal itself. If we just get off
the hell-bound train that the Western lifestyle has boarded us on, we can very often completely reverse the medical issues that have slowly
gained a stranglehold on our lives. One of the examples of this is type II or adult onset diabetes. This is the diabetes caused by insulin
resistance and post-meal glucose surges, as opposed to type I, which results froman autoimmune attack on the body's pancreatic Beta cells.
Type I diabetes cannot be reversed, because the beta cells have actually been destroyed. Only stem cell therapy, which is being investigated in animals as I write this, can reverse this kind of damage. Type II, however, is a completely different issue and the root cause is liver cells stuffed with extra "fat" - lipids from your meals - to where they become insulin resistant. All you need to do is put those liver cells on a "diet" and get rid of the extra fat inside of them. If you catch it early enough, you can actually completely reverse your diabetes. And, even if you can't totally reverse it, you can almost for sure partially reverse it and end up lowering your medication levels.
By the way, it probably goes without saying that if you can reverse type II diabetes with any of these methods then you can also do the same with Metabolic Syndrome (Met-S / prediabetes) as well. Some of you have been diagnosed with Met-S and it also a defeatable foe.
STEP 3: The goal of most of these techniques and the final study of any program to Reverse Prediabetes (and Sometime Diabetes) is to drop your A1C (glycated hemoglobin or HbA1C) by about 1 point. Glycated hemoglobin is a molecule that does something astonishing: it (rather miraculously) lets your doctor measure your average blood glucose levels for the last ~ 3 months. That's incredible if you stop to think about it: it's the equivalent of doing a finger stick glucose test every half hour for 3 months and then computing a rolling average. While A1C (HbA1C) is not a perfect measure, it is a good one overall and in
my opinion definitely a marker to pay attention to.
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NOTE: You can now get an at home A1C test ridiculously cheap at Walmart or through Amazon via the Reli-On brand:
ReliOn A1C Test Kit
. Another way to do it inexpensively yourself - you don't need a prescription or a doctor's order - is through one of these Cheap Testosterone Labs.
UNDERSTANDING A1C: So the way it works is this: an A1C of 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetic and 6.5 and above diabetic. Most guys that show up on my site are not diabetic yet, and I believe that is generally due to the fact that they are highly managed (in the medical sense). However, many guys reading this will have A1C's between about 5.7 and 6.4 and be prediabetic. And some may even be a little below 5.7 but have some of the warning signs of impending idabetes that I will discuss below.
Hopefully, now you see the purpose in trying to drop your A1C by 1 point. Let's say you are an early diabetic with an A1C of 6.6. If you can drop your A1C by 1.0, you will then be sitting at 5.6 and below even the prediabetes level! . And, if you are prediabetic at, say, 5.8 and can drop your A1C by 0.6, you are suddenly sitting at 5.2 - a very respectable number. (Dropping your A1C down to 5.0 is no small task. In fact, this is Life Extension Foundation's recommended anti-aging level. )
Research-Backed Ways to Reverse Diabetes
Again, the goal, assuming your diabetic or prediabetic, is to drop your high A1C by at about a point using a research-backed methodology. Of course, this can be done generally with pharmaceuticals. Metformin, for example, will typically lower a diabetic's A1C by about 1.0 - sometimes even a bit more.  However, it can have liver and GI issues associated with it, so I personally would rather seek out a more natural approach. Below I have listed below
Five Research-Backed (Pretty Natural) Ways to Reverse Adult Onset Diabetes:
1. HRT + Exercise + Weight Loss For Low Testosterone Men. Most diabetics are low in testosterone, and my guess is that a solid percentage of those with Metabolic Syndrome (prediabetes) are also low or lowish in testosterone. One study took advantage of this fact and put the participants on this regimen:
--Low glycemic load meals
--Meals low in saturated fats
--Meals rich in omega-3 fatty acids
--Weight loss by consuming approximately 25% fewer calories per meal
--Walked 3 times per week for 30 minutes
--15 minutes of muscle-building exercises with weights or elastic strings (3 times per week)
The purpose of this study was basically to evaluate if adding HRT (TRT) with Testogel improved outcomes significant over the standard lifestyle changes of weight loss, diet and exercise.
The results are very interesting and summarized by the authors in this way:
"All D&E [Diet and Exercise] plus testosterone patients reached the HbA1c goal of less than 7.0%; 87.5% of them reached an HbA1c of less than 6.5%. Based on Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines, 81.3% of the patients randomized to D&E plus testosterone no longer matched the criteria of the MetS, whereas 31.3% of the D&E alone participants did. " 
This means that dieting, as in weight loss, coupled with exercise will drop A1C by 1.0 in the solid majority of lower testosterone men. However, many men will still retain some of the characteristics of the Metabolic Syndrome (Met-S), which is a whole suite of symptoms including high triglycerides and blood pressure. These men can even reverse these additional Metabolic Syndrome symptoms using supplemental testosterone (assuming they are hypogonadal). Of coure, this makes scientific sense, since increasing testosterone levels can improve Met-S by improving insulin sensitivity. A lot of research backs this up, something I discuss in my pages on
Testosterone and Diabetes and Testosterone and Insulin.
NOTE: If you are 50+ pounds overweight, you may just need to lose a lot of weight. Losing over 50 pounds can double (or more) your testosterone - see my page on
Testosterone and Weight Loss for the supporting studies - and make a nice dent in your A1C as well.
CAUTION: Always check with your physician if you have diabetes or are on any medications before you make any changes. (You want to avoid drug interactions, dangerous drops in blood pressure or blood sugar, etc.) In addition, diabetics need to be particularly careful with walking and running as neuropathy can mask some exercise-induced damage.
2. Straight HRT for Men with Low Testosterone? The above study indicated that diet and exercise were the heavy hitters and HRT played a supportive role when it comes to reversing diabetes and Met-S. However, the clinic where I was first put on cypionate insisted that all their diabetic men were able to completely get off of insulin. I asked several staff there, and they insisted that it was 100% of the diabetic men. They added that they could not always get off Metformin and other anti-diabetes medications, but insulin needs were always reduced to zero.
So why did the study in #1 not find HRT (TRT) quite this powerful? My guess is that it's a difference in average testosterone levels. At this clinic - based on my experience anyway - the peak testosterone levels were always very close to 1200 ng/dl and I would guess average testosterone was 900-950 ng/dl. These are pretty beefy levels as HRT goes and so this may have improved insulin sensitivity over the study mentioned above. And this clinic would often use Arimidex (anastrozole) to control estradiol levels as well, which is important considering that most diabetic men are overweight. (Again, discuss any changes with your doctor first if you are diabetic.)
NOTE: I have many more pages on how to tell if you are insulin resistant, normal post-meal glucose levels and how it relates to testosterone here: Summary Page on Diabetes and Prediabetes (Met-S).
3. Dr. Barnard's Methodology. I have found in the last few years that many men are now interested in plant-based diets. They usually want to eat some meat but want mostly whole plant foods for the huge boosts in nitric oxide and blood flow and drop in blood pressure. In addition, most guys coming to my site are pretty serious exercisers and need good, clean carbs and, obviously, good clean carbs have to come from plant foods.
This is where Dr. Barnard's research comes in. He put men on a low glycemic, low fat diet and the men in the study saw their A1C drop like a rock - 1.0 on average. "What?? A low fat diet??" This is completely counterintuitive for many of you out there. The reason Dr. Barnard's strategy works so well is that the underlying cause of insulin resistance: intramyocellular lipids. That's the medical word for muscle and liver cells that are just STUFFED with fat. They are so stuffed with fat that they cannot process insulin correctly any more.
Most of us have the idea that carbs cause diabetes and insulin resistance, but that is actually not the case. The root cause is overloading of lipids - and this is generally from overly high fat levels in the diet. However, it can also result from refined carbs (which produce high triglycerides levels).
So a low glycemic low fat diet gets rid of, or I should say greatly reduces both of these main sources of intramyocellular lipids. This kind of low fat diet lowers both fat levels AND refined carbs in the diet. Yes, it's the perfect 1-2 punch against diabetes! (You cannot consume a bunch of wheat and white and basmati rice and corn chips and expect this to work!) Also, Dr. Barnard's methodology can be combined nicely with Dr. Gould's - another low fat guru that few men heard about - to reverse arterial plaque. See my
page called A Review of Heal Your Heart by Dr. K. Lance Gould for more information. (Dr. Gould's diet includes a little meat and dairy. Dr. Barnard's does not.)
NOTE: Interestingly enough, vegans and vegetarians have equal or higher testosterone levels when compared to meat eaters according to one well-done study, which I discussed in my page on
Testosterone Levels and Vegetarianism.
4. Dr. Whitaker's Methodology. One of the first books to come out with a strategy to reverse diabetes was done by Dr. Julian Whitaker, which I review in my page on his book
Reversing Diabetes. It is a very practical book and many men will find doable in my opinion.
Berberine - The New Metformin? As a side note, Dr. Whitaker is greatly interested of late in the perhaps-better-than-Metformin supplement called berberine. Berberine is a powerful supplement against Metabolic Syndrome and diabetes and, apparently, Dr. Whitaker has been using it with great success. It is relatively new, so I don't think anyone knows about long term safety. That said, we do have some data: one study examined men taking berberine, red yeast extract and a couple of other supplemets and found, even after one year, no safety issues.  Again, long term safety is largely unknown as far as I know.
Also, I should mention that one of the men on our forum who had low SHBG completely reversed his condition using berberine, exercise, diet and weight loss. He had zero side effects from the berberine and he is one of the few - very few actually - that reversed low SHBG, ,which is a sign of impending diabetes and liver dysfunction. I docmented his story in my page on
How To Cure Low SHBG.
I just chatted with him and he used the berberine for 9 months and then stopped and believes he is doing good now.
5. Weight Loss Alone. If you are obese and you catch it early enough, you may be able to completely reverse your condition by losing a lot of weight. Look at what these researchers wrote:
"Marked weight loss (30% of body weight) following gastric bypass surgery can normalize glycemic control in more than two-thirds of extremely obese patients with type 2 diabetes (30–33)." 
Now, granted, losing 30% of one's body weight is a lot. But the point is that the changes are semi-linear, and you can completely reverse things potentially. And, of course, I encourage everyone to do lots of moderate exercise and some strength training.
3) Journal of Andrology, Nov-Dec 2009, 30(6):726–733, "Fifty- two—Week Treatment With Diet and Exercise Plus Transdermal Testosterone Reverses the Metabolic Syndrome and Improves Glycemic Control in Men With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes and Subnormal Plasma Testosterone"
4) Adv Ther, 2011 Dec, 28(12):1105-13, "Long-term effects of nutraceuticals (berberine, red yeast rice, policosanol) in elderly hypercholesterolemic patients"
5) Diabetes Care, Aug 2004, 27(8):2067-2073, "Weight Management Through Lifestyle Modification for the Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes: Rationale and Strategies: A statement of the American Diabetes Association, the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition"