Type II Diabetes

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2024-05-13 (EDT)

Type II Diabetes, which used to be called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM, accounts for about 90% of all types of diabetes. It is a condition of disordered carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Cells throughout the body become insensitive to the action of insulin and blood glucose levels rise as a result. Glucose is then unable to enter muscle or fat cells which results in serious complications throughout the body [1]

Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes
Causes Dietary Factors, Smoking, Lack of movement, Stress, Environmental Toxins
See Also Diabetes, Type I Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome
Books Books on Endocrine Diseases
Articles Articles on Endocrine Conditions

In 2005 1.8 million Canadians [2] and 14.6 Americans [3] were living with diagnosed diabetes. In the US, by the time they are 65 years old, 26.9% of individuals have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, mind you due to declining lifestyle and dietary habits more young people are being diagnosed. [4] It is estimated that 1 out of 3 people in North America will develop Type II Diabetes throughout their lifetime.[5]

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

Article Naturopathic Medicine and Type 2 Diabetes: A Retrospective Analysis from an Academic Clinic , Alt Med; 2006;Vol11(1)
Article Whole-fat Dairy Consumption Associated with Lower Metabolic Risk Factors and Lower Incidence of Diabetes, NMJ, [1], 2012 March

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Diabetes is known as a lifestyle disease as it is triggered primarily by lifestyle factors, although other factors also come into play.


The lifestyle factors associated with Type II Diabetes include:

Check out this book The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family From Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies - and More
Check out this book Healing Diabetes: Complementary Naturopathic and Drug Treatments
Article Type 2 Diabetes, Depression, and Magnesium, NMJ, [2], 2012 October
* Dehydration due to foods that are dehydrating, lack of good fats and/or lack of water.
  • Sleeping less than six hours[9] or greater than 9 hours a night contributes to weight gain and diabetes.[10]


Homeostatic Mechanisms


  • Various types of stress factors can contribute to Type II Diabetes, for example psychosocial stress at work have been demonstrated to double the risk of Type II Diabetes in women [13]


Article Persistent Organic Pollutants: A Serious Clinical Concern, Vital Link; 2013 Spring
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are known to cause mitochondrial dysfunction and this in turn is linked to [insulin resistance]] and increased risk of Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.[16]
  • Organochlorine pesticides (OC) and PCBs are significantly associated with Type II Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. OC result in elevated levels of triglycerides, high fasting glucse and insulin resistance. PCBs result in increased waist circumference, elevated triglycerides and impaired fasting glucose.[17], [18]

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Mediciations
  • Diabetes can be drug-induced. The following medications are associated with the development, or worsening of glucose intolerance: [20] corticosteroids, diuretics (especially thiazide diuretics), beta-blockers, beta-adrenergic agonists, oral contraceptives, cyclophilin immunosuppressants, diazoxide

Genetics and Gestational Factors

  • Gestational Factors
  • Low birth weight and poor nutrition during infancy ma predispose an individual to development of Type II Diabetes in adulthood [12]
  • A first-degree relative with diabetes, especially early-onset type II diabetes increases the risk of acquiring diabetes.

Diagnostic Tests

Diabetes 2.jpg

Diabetes is often discovered, especially in the elderly, as part of routine annual blood testing. The following are the diagnostic values for diabetes:[2]

Additional tests that are often used in the assessment or management of diabetes include Blood Glucose, Hemoglobin A1C (Hb1aC), C-peptide, Insulin, Blood Ketones Cholesterol Panel, Kidney Function Test, Amylase, Lipase and blood insulin levels, Ferritin, Liver Function Tests.

  • Address other associated conditions including:
  • Every 3 to 6 months
  • Blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1C levels are best checked every three months if the diabetes is not well controlled and every six months if it is controlled. If there are any concerns with heart or kidney health they are best monitored every three-to-six months as well.
  • Blood pressure, eye exam, dental cleaning and checkup and examination of the skin and a nerve test to check for changes in sensitivity in the feet should be done on a yearly basis as part of diabetes management along with the the blood tests listed above.
  • It is important to continue monitor the feet for ingrown toenails, cuts and sores on the feet that might become infected or general foot care.

Related Conditions

Article Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Hypogonadism: Interview with Neil Mages, NDNR [3], 2011 November
Article Association of Oral Magnesium with Type-2 Diabetes, 2012 January Natural Medicine [4]


The onset of Type II Diabetes is typically gradual and subtle. It occurs when the body loses the ability to utilize insulin appropriately, which is referred to as insulin resistance. When glucose is unable to enter the cells, hyperglycemia results.

The symptoms that can indicate the need to rule out diabetes include:[12]

Article A Geriatric Perspective on Type 2 Diabetes, NDNR 2012 February
Article The Association of High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption and Diabetes , 2013 Summer;Vol20 (2) Vital Link


The complications of diabetes include:[20]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Diabetes is often considered a progressive chronic disease often due to lifestyle factors. The steps required to treat diabetes very much are dependent on the progression of the disease and the degree to which lifestyle and other risk factors are addressed. The goal of naturopathic treatment is to control blood sugar and to prevent the complications associated with diabetes.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Blood Sugar Monitoring
  • Daily blood sugar monitoring is a critical step in the management of Type I Diabetes.[21]
  • Recognize the symptoms for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and make sure you know how to treat them.
  • Learn how to adjust insulin and food when you exercise, when you're sick or as there are changes to your overall health.
  • Pay special attention to changes in blood sugar levels with any dietary changes.
  • Foot Care
Diabetes damages the blood vessels and the nerves, especially in the feet. This increases the likelihood that of foot injuries, infections and ulcers.
  • Proper and ongoing foot care and hygiene is important to prevent and/or manage any peripheral neuropathy, edema, or foot infections.
  • Check your feet on a daily basis, especially if you have any signs of decreased sensation or any numbness.
  • Get a foot exam by a qualified professional at least twice a year.
  • For many individuals diabetic shoes and socks are extremely beneficial.


The management of diabetes is always multi-factorial. It involves ongoing attention to a number of lifestyle factors including:

  • Healthy Body Weight
  • Ensure that you maintain a healthy body weight by exercising daily and consuming a healthy diet of adequate caloric intake. Losing 10% of your body weight has been known to greatly improve blood sugar control.[24]

diet, exercise and hydration. Specific Lifestyle recommendations include:

Article Low Carbohydrate Diet & Other Nutritional Considerations for Treatment and Prevention of Complications of Diabetes, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
Article Diabetes: Diet and lifestyle- based management- Update 2010, IHP, Nov/Dec 2010
Article Exercise & Diabetes: From Benefits to Precautions, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
  • Exercise at least 3 - 5 times per week can prevent development of Type II Diabetes and can help manage blood sugar levels when you have diabetes.[7]
  • Physical activity helps to control weight, uses glucose as energy, and makes cells more sensitive to insulin.[27], [21]
  • Stress relaxation aids blood sugar control.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Article Substituting Vitamins and Supplements for Pharmaceuticals in Type 2 Diabetes J Orthomolecular Med 2012;Vol27(1)
Article Arginine in type II diabetes: Clinical applications, IHP, [5], Nov/Dec 2010
Article Botanical Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes, NMJ, [6], 2012 February

Naturopathic Therapies for Type II Diabetes include:

Article Cinnamon: Applications in diabetes, IHP, [7], Nov/Dec 2010
Article Type II diabetes: Essential nutrient, nutraceutical, and functional food considerations, IHP, [8], Nov/Dec 2010
Article Cinnamon and Blood Sugar ,December 2012 Natural Medicine [9]
Article Energetic Viewpoint on Diabetes, Vital Link; 2005 Winter
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture In Traditional Chinese Medicine, conditions are diagnosed based on patterns of symptoms. Diabetes is not considered to be caused by the same process in each individual, but several processes are possible and would each be treated uniquely:
  • Lung-Stomach Heat Accumulation & Fluid Damage, Intense & Exuberant Stomach Heat, Qi & Yin Dual Vacuity, Kidney Yin Vacuity, Spleen-Stomach Qi Vacuity, Damp Heat Obstructing the Center, Spleen-Kidney Yang Vacuity.[32]


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