Metabolic Disorders and Diabetes

Metabolic disorders are mostly genetic conditions that affect the production of energy within the cells; however, some occur as a result of improper diet or nutritional deficiencies. In some cases, dietary supplements correct metabolic disorders. For example, thiamine (B-1) supplementation is used under close medical supervision in the treatment of several genetic metabolic disorders, including sub-acute necrotizing encephalopathy, Maple syrup urine disease and hyperalaninemia.

Diabetes is considered one of the metabolic disorders because either a lack of insulin or reduced sensitivity to insulin prevents glucose from entering the cells and being converted to energy. Both type I and type II diabetes are at least partially genetic.

Scientists believe that they have identified the gene that predisposes a person for type II diabetes, but even when the condition is common among family members, proper diet, weight loss and increased physical activity can prevent the condition. There is also evidence that botanical and herbal supplements, as well as the dietary minerals calcium and chromium may be helpful.

In type II, improper diet and physical inactivity leading to central obesity is a major risk factor. About 65% of all persons with type II diabetes are overweight or obese. At one time, type II was referred to as adult onset diabetes, but currently, because of an increase in childhood obesity, there has been an increase in type II diabetes among children.

In most metabolic disorders, there are missing or improperly constructed enzymes necessary for the production of energy in the cell. Thus, sometimes, enzyme supplements correct metabolic disorders. If left untreated, metabolic disorders can lead to neuropathies (nerve damage). The nerve damage is caused either by the cells inability to properly use energy or by a build up of substances within the body that damages the nerves.

In the case of diabetes, uncontrolled high levels of glucose in the blood stream cause damage to the nerves and organs of the body. While glucose is not normally toxic and is necessary for proper brain function and excessively low levels can lead to coma, chronically high levels eventually become toxic.

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of metabolic neuropathies. Other causes include thyroid disease, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and nutritional deficiencies. Even though, nutritional deficiencies are recognized as the cause of many non-genetic metabolic disorders. The relationship between type II diabetes and nutrition is controversial. Even though, dietary supplements correct metabolic disorders, there is no agreed upon supplement regimen for diabetics.

Many researchers and proponents of alternative and complementary medicine believe that a complete nutritional supplementation program should be designed for diabetes and those at risk for type II diabetes. This is a subject of personal interest, because many of my nieces and nephews are at risk. Coming from a large family I have seen the disease ravage friends and family members, as complications developed causing the loss of sight, heart disease and nerve dysfunction.

Personally, I am tired of waiting for the mainstream medical community to agree that there are effective botanical and nutritional supplements to combat and prevent the complications of diabetes. It is likely the most common of the metabolic disorders and is recognized as one of the most common causes of metabolic neuropathies, but because insulin injections can control the disease to a certain extent, funding for research of alternative and complementary medicine is lacking.

To learn more about botanical and nutritional supplements specifically designed for diabetics, please visit the Diabetes Type Two Info Guide.