Understanding Diabetes & Blood Sugar, Self-Management, Nutritional Flexibility & Chronic Disease Blessings | Drew Harrisberg {Podcast #026}

About Drew Harrisberg

Drew is an exercise physiologist, sports scientist, diabetes educator, and most importantly, a happy and healthy guy thriving with type 1 diabetes.


In This Episode We Discuss

The Diabetes Pandemic of Today

Nearly 1 million Australians 

India - 1 in 4 have pre-diabetes diabetes! (14% pre, 9% diabetes).

Americans - one third of Americans (almost 100 million Americans) are pre-diabetic, and 90% of them don’t know it!. Moreover, many of them think they are maintaining what they call a healthy diet!. - Undiagnosed is the scary part.
~ Study by the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)

Drews Story

Diabetes creeping up - Drew falling asleep in an important job interview and worse, while driving!

What Is Type 1 Diabetes

  • An auto-immune disease where your body mistakingly kills off the beta-cells of your pancreas that produces insulin (required to metabolise glucose from food), thinking that the beta-cells are foreign invaders.
  • Type 1 Diabetes as an incurable, life-long disease that requires high maintenance.
  • Rare cases to cure Type 1 Diabetes - regenerate the pancreas to be able to perform its function.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes have to administer exogenous insulin via injections or a pump to metabolise food.

Auto-Immune Diseases

The Ayurvedic view of auto-immune diseases - Correcting the mistake of intellect. 

Quantum healing to cure the incurable.

The role of gut health in diabetes and auto-immune diseases.
Glutens role in auto-immune diseases.

Dairy and Type 1 Diabetes
A1 beta-casein having a structure of amino acids that looks very soar to the structure of amino acids in the pancreas cells.

Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin doesn’t work well leading to high blood sugar.

Insulin Resistance

  • Insulin inefficiency. An inability for insulin to do its job properly. 
  • Insulin is designed to drive glucose from your blood into a tissue, like an organ or your brain. It is needs to accompany glucose during the transportation process. 
  • Then, that tissue or organ etc. will use that as fuel: burn or store the glucose. 
  • Insulin is also the most powerful anabolic hormone in your body. 
  • + heaps more functions.
  • Insulin resistance is caused by the accumulation of excess fat in tissues that are not designed to store large quantities of fat. 
  • When you are storing excess fatty acids in areas like the liver and muscles - their ability to uptake glucose gets compromised.

How Blood Sugar Rises:

  • Foods > We explode with sugar into the blood stream.
  • Sugars (glucose) are digested, forcing the pancreas to produce excess insulin to escort the glucose out of the blood stream into the cells.
  • Overtime, the pancreas is worn out from insulin levels going up again and again and our blood stream cannot handle these injections of sugar in the blood.
  • Our cells and muscles become resistant. They cannot tolerate any more sugar.
  • It lingers in the blood, but the blood has to do something with it.
  • It takes the sugar and converts it into triglycerides, belly fat, obesity or engage in Glycation - where it sticks to proteins and runs through the blood stream and becomes sticky and irritating and congests and damages the arterial walls. Increases cardiovascular damage and risk and risk of cancer and clot risks.
    • Glycation causes damage to collagen and elastin - causing wrinkles but more importantly, damages the health and elasticity of the skin that lines the arteries, heart, gut and lungs.

“Legs of Lead” as a symptom for excess glucose in your blood.

Complications of having excess glucose in your blood (high blood sugar) for to long.

The "normal range" for blood sugar is not adequate. 

Fasting blood sugar: 80-120mg/dL (USA) or 4.8-7.8mmol/L (Millimoles per Litre).

Studies have shown above 85mg/dL or 4.7mmol/L makes you at risk for degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Digestive tract cancers. 

Between 70-85mg/dL or 3.9-4.7 is closer to what Dylan adheres to.

Anecdotal experience over scientifically proven studies

People with type 1 diabetes get a deep insight into their health with the vast experiments they perform on theirselves.

Ayurveda’s Approach to Diabetes

  • Managing Type 1 Diabetes with herbs thousands years ago before science created exogenous insulin.
  • Bhasmas - metallic preparations used as medicine in Ayurveda.
  • In Ayurveda, there are 20 types of diabetes an pre-diabetes mentioned, called “Prameha” and “Madhumeha.”

Controlling your health and control in general is overrated

The circadian rhythms of blood glucose and liver function

High Fat Ketogenic Diet and Blood Sugar

  • Short term can be good, long term can be a big issue.
  • Lack of carbohydrates in the diet means the body forgets how to metabolise carbs, then when it does, it is very problematic and requires a lot of insulin to metabolise a little amount of carbs (insulin resistance).

Lipids and Kapha Dosha involved

  • Intramyocellular lipids - fat in the muscle cells.
  • Intrahepatocellular Lipids (IHCL)  - fat in the liver cells.
  • Just like in kapha in Ayurveda and its relationship with diabetes pathogenesis (prameha samprapti).

Insulin Therapy

The potential dangers of insulin and the importance of accurate dosing.

Role of exercise in insulin resistance.

Exercise induced glut4 trans-location or non insulin glut4 translocation.

GLUT4 is the predominant glucose transporter isoform expressed in the body (skeletal muscle).

The importance of walking.

Drew can reduce his insulin requirements by 50% with walking 10-15mins after a meal.

Diet, Nutrition and Blood Sugar

Simple principles - Stick to whole foods, avoid processed foods, ie. anything thats in a package.

Moderation - not a clear message.

Metabolic Flexibility

  • Fat Metabolism vs. Sugar Metabolism - Two sources of fuel.
  • Being able to tolerate carbohydrates and fat.
  • Intuitive eating on a day-to-day basis.

Routine with flexibility

The blessing a chronic disease diagnosis and adversity.


Resources

Drews Daily Dose

Studies

  1. Higher Whole-Grain Intake Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Middle-Aged Men and Women - Reduces risk of 34%
  2. CDC - Diabetes facfts in USA
  3. Lifestyle outperforms medication for Type 2 Diabetes - “Effect of an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Melatonin: The Critical Hormone & How to Optimise It

Melatonin is an essential hormone that provides a multitude of benefits throughout the human body.

Mistakenly it has been dubbed the hormone of sleep, but more accurately it is the "hormone of darkness," since it trains our circadian rhythms to the day and night cycles, a critical cycle to be aligned with for optimal health.

Since the 2017 Nobel Prize was won for "Circadian Medicine," volumes of research are now showing melatonin is important for many things other than sleep and jet lag.

Benefits of Melatonin

Maintains Immunity

Low melatonin = weak immune system which makes you susceptible to cancer. Melatonin is the best anti-cancer hormone because it is vital for optimal immune function.

The Body’s Most Potent Antioxidant

As declared by numerous studies. Melatonin scavenges for free radicals, stimulates genes to turn on other antioxidant systems, has access to any and every cell in the body and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

The process:

  • During sleep, all your brain cells shrink from 40-60%, creating room in the brain for melatonin to flood in and bind to all the oxidative stress and free radicals.
  • It then sweeps this oxidative stress (that ages us) out through cerebrospinal fluid, down into the circulatory system, for the liver and kidneys to process and eliminate out of the body.
  • Melatonin also floods through the lymphatics and detoxifies different organs throughout the night.

Energy Levels and Mitochondrial Health

Mitochondria are the energy generators for every cell. Melatonin makes life easier and more efficient for these energy generators.

  • When melatonin is removed from your brain, you loose DHA in cell membranes.
  • DHA is the only lipid that can turn sunlight into DC electric current and visa versa.
  • The DC electric circulates through your body to provide you with energy.
  • DC current also counters inflammation (DC current is a negative charge and inflammation is a positive charge).
  • Note that stress also reduces DHA. Studiess here.

Maintains Circadian Rhythms and Regulates All Other Hormones

Since all the hormones are connected like a web. Especially reproductive hormones and hormones related to metabolism an appetite.

Better Sleep, Cognitive Health, Brain Health, Weight Loss

Numerous studies show this (3),(4),(5).

Melatonin is a direct antagonist to cortisol. When melatonin is up, cortisol (stress) goes down.

Healthy Bones and Joint Health

Studies showed melatonin helps in the treatment of bone pathologies such as the osteoporosis and the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). It aslo may prevent bone degradation and promote bone formation.

Healthy Microbiome

Our gut bacteria are regulated by our circadian clock and are sensitive to melatonin. Melatonin, which is secreted into the gastrointestinal lumen expresses circadian patterns of swarming and motility. Studies suggest the human circadian system may regulate its microbiome through the entrainment of bacterial clocks.

Blood Sugar, Metabolic Health and Cravings

Studies showed that Melatonin regulates insulin secretion and protects against reactive oxygen species which are a threat to pancreatic β-cells (the cells that do the job of storing and releasing insulin).

β-cells are very susceptible to oxidative stress because they possess only low-antioxidative capacity.

Low melatonin levels will cause high insulin levels and high dopamine levels which causes stress (cortisol) along with an increase in cravings, addictions and metabolic disorders.

Strong cravings for carbohydrates in the summer is a natural circadian response to prepare for the famine or lack of food during the darkness of winter. (1)

When we light our homes with artifical blue light for an extra 5-6 hours after sunset, we are sending the “endless summer” message to our cellular biological clocks that it is time to crave carbs in preparation for the famine of winter. This carb craving can last for 365 days a year.(2)

More Than Meets the Eye: Skin Receptors for Melatonin

It is not just your eyes that initiate melatonin production, there are receptors in your skin.

Melatonin is mostly produced after the retinal ganglion cells in our eyes perceive light. Interestingly however, there are also photo-pigments on the skin all over the body can detect different types of light and sync peripheral rhythms with the light and dark cycle.

Neuroxin is a UVA receptor present in our skin and eye that gets stimulated by light. This receptor was only found in 2009.

This is why even blind people can still have a diurnal rhythm in sync with the light/dark cycle.

Artifical Blue Light Disrupting Melatonin

Artifical blue light destroys melatonin.

Not only does it lower melatonin, but when we are watching our computers or TV at night, or checking our emails at or before sunrise, our dirunal clock becomes confused and all the hormones become disturbed (think of our hormal system like a web, all connected).

As we learnt before, it is not only our eyes!

The skin receptors also get stimulated by artifical blue light. Surface photo-chemistry influences the tissues underneath. These spectrums can penetrate all the way to the fat tissue layer and cause free radicals, energy problems, and more.

Your thyroid only sits about half a cm under you skin. So the blue light is penetrating to the thyroid. People with hashimotos beware. Perhaps the most important remedy for low thyroid is nasya + watch the sunrise + get sunshine on your neck and protect your neck from fake blue light.

Ways to Optimise Melatonin

Get Sunshine

Watch the sunrise and the sunset without sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses (as these alter a holistic light spectrum by blocking specific frequencies).

Sunbathe with as much bare skin as possible. Soak up the sun in moderation. Slowly build your skin tolerance to the sun.

Proper Sleep

Melatonin is the hormone of darkness. It will build while you are asleep. Be in bed before 10 pm, and wake up with the sun.

The latest Nobel Prize proved ancient wisdom by showing maximum melatonin production is between 10pm - 2am, which Ayurveda has been saying for thousands of years is the "Pitta time," where your body metabolises food, nutrients and hormones.

The catch is you need to be asleep for the production!

No Artificial Light at Night

Artificial light at night, even if it is ambient blocks the production of melatonin needed to get to sleep and stay asleep. Use candles or revolutionize back to incandescent light bulbs for night time.

Begin reducing blue and artificial light exposure starting at sunset, or 2-3 hours before bed. Make sure there are no lights on at night while you sleep. If necessary, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block ambient light. Ensure you still get up at sunrise.

Go camping for a couple or few days without artifical light of electronic devices. That will do wonders.

Reduce LED Lights and Screens at Night

Don't look at your phone first thing when you wake up. Do your morning routine before touching that thing.

Reduce TV and computers at night time and 2 hours before bed. We are not biologically wired at all to be exposed to such high light temperatures while the sun is not up.

Use filters on your computer, make your phone screen "most warm" 24/7 and use blue light blocking glasses.

Nasya (Nasal Drops)

Nasya is the practice of sniffing herbal oil up your nose to your pineal gland to detox the pineal gland and activate it's functions of jobs like initiating melatonin secretion.

Learn more about Nasya here.

Melatonin Rich Foods

  • Goji berries (very high source).
  • Cherries, espeically tart cherries. Tart cherry juice has been studied to help sleep.
  • Walnuts and almonds.
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Fenugreek and mustard seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Bed Time Milk Elixir - Whether its milk from mother, cow or goat, studies show it boost melatonin.

(3)

Reduce Coffee - Logic will tell you that caffeine as a stimulant will inhibit melatonin production—and it does.  Studies suggest that at night the caffeine will block melatonin production. This supersedes the constituents in coffee that actually help boost melatonin levels.

Always eat in season since all food absorbs light and you will consume the appropriate dose of electrons and meltatonin.

Supplements

I recommend you only consider supplementation after you have tried all the natural interventions above.

Those who work night shifts or very long hours, people who fly frequently and people who still struggle with sleep should consider this.

Assess whether you need a time-release or immeditate melatonin. Get quality supplements here.

Although you can get melatonin from foods and man-made pills, sunlight is the most dominant synchroniser of melatonin production. Get more sun.

References

  1. T.S Wiley. Lights Out, Sleep, Sugar and Survival. Atria Books, New York. 2000
  2. https://nutritionfacts.org/2014/04/03/foods-with-natural-melatonin/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352910/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001215/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742260/https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12640-012-9337-4

Credits:

  1. Dr. John Douillard, Lifespa.com
  2. 1cm^3 contains by Alexander Wunsch
  3. Melatonin Graph: Sandhills Neurologists
  4. Old-Clock photo - Fabrizio Verrecchia
  5. City Lights - Mike Wilson
  6. City Lights Disney - Denys Nevozhai