Author Sidebar: I've always loved science and mathematics. Ironically, it was my love of science and math that helped me beat this disease, despite the doubts from my endocrinologist.
In order for me to beat this disease, I had to gain a deep understanding of diabetes at the cellular level. In order to gain that in-depth understanding, I had to learn a lot about the following areas of science and apply them to alternative medicine methodologies:
- Cell Biology
- Cell Repair & Healing
- Nutritional Science
These sciences gave me the insight into why the drugs I was taking wouldn't work in the long run. And, I gained even more insight from the diabetics I met during my research and during the time I ran a diabetic support group for the American Diabetes Association.
In almost every case, the scenario of each diabetic was very similar: each of them started out on one diabetic drug, usually metformin. Then, the doctor eventually added a drug for high cholesterol (a statin) and/or high blood pressure (usually Lisinopril or a diuretic). Later, another diabetic drug or "combo" drug was added. After about 7 to 12 years, most diabetics were taking a minimum of 3 drugs while some were taking as many as 7 different drugs!
And, oh by the way, their diabetes hadn't improved. The reason for this (from the doctors) was that "Diabetes is a progressive disease." and there's nothing you can do to stop it. I told them that I was told the same thing. At first, they thought I got "lucky" -- until they made some dietary changes and realized that they could get off the drugs!
Getting back to the science: During my research, I discovered hundreds of clinical studies that contradicted what my doctors were telling me! Not only did the research help me personally, but, it gave me a lot of confidence to venture out and help others via health fairs, church events, and support groups.
Bottom line: Once you read the following and understand the science and the real root causes and the 5 biological processes that are fueling your diabetes, it will become clear that the drugs are actually fueling the disease! Say what!?
I know what you're thinking: "My medications are working because my blood sugar is in the normal range."
Well, you're right -- the drugs do help to keep your blood sugar in the normal range. But, I promise you: the drugs will eventually lose their effectiveness and your doctor will put you on another drug ... and another ... until one day, your doctor tells you that you have to go insulin.
So, what happened? Well, the drugs only control the SYMPTOMS of your diabetes -- the high blood sugar. It's like controlling the oil light in your car instead of fixing the engine problem that's causing the oil light to turn on! If you fix the oil light but you never fix the engine, eventually the car will stop working. The same thing applies to the human body ...
Anyhow, let's take a look at the sciences ...
Obviously, this is not a complete list, but, here are some of the key sciences that help to better understand diseases like Type 2 diabetes.
Pathophysiology is the physiology of abnormal states; specifically: the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease. Pathology is the medical discipline that describes conditions typically observed during a disease state, whereas physiology is the biological discipline that describes processes or mechanisms operating within an organism.
Pathology describes the abnormal or undesired condition, whereupon pathophysiology seeks to explain the physiological processes or mechanisms whereby such condition develops and progresses.
Epidemiology is the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population. More specifically, epidemiology is the study (or the science of the study) of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations.
It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.
Epidemiology, literally meaning "the study of what is upon the people", is derived from the Greek epi, meaning "upon, among", demos, meaning "people, district", and logos, meaning "study, word, discourse".
Pathogenesis of a disease is the mechanism that causes the disease. The term can also describe the origin and development of the disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent. The word comes from the Greek pathos ("disease") and genesis ("creation").
Etiology is the study of causation, or origination of a disease. The word is derived from the Greek aitiologia -- "giving a reason for".
More specifically, etiology is the study of why things occur, or even the reasons behind the way that things act, and is used in philosophy, physics, psychology, government, medicine, geography, spatial analysis, theology, and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena.
Cell Biology is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level.
Knowing the components of cells and how cells work is fundamental to all biological sciences. Appreciating the similarities and differences between cell types is particularly important to the fields of cell and molecular biology as well as to biomedical fields such as cancer research and developmental biology.
These fundamental similarities and differences provide a unifying theme, sometimes allowing the principles learned from studying one cell type to be extrapolated and generalized to other cell types. Therefore, research in cell biology is closely related to genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and immunology.
Nutritional Science is the study of the effects of food components (macronutrients & micronutrients) on the metabolism, health, performance and disease resistance of humans and animals.
The understanding of this science is especially important when evaluating the impact that specific foods have on our cells.
Coincidentally, some of the areas of medical science correlate to some areas of engineering science. For example, etiology is similar to root cause analysis methods used in engineering to solve complex problems.
If you really want to understand a disease like Type 2 diabetes so that you can help improve your own health or the health of others, then, one of the best ways to do that is to learn about the science of disease (and human physiology) at the cellular level.
Science helps you learn how to analyze and solve complex problems and recognize when people (especially doctors) are not telling you the truth. Science will give you the insight to understand why most so-called "diabetes diets" don't work and why most diabetics are unable to improve their health.
But, more importantly, science will give you the knowledge and insight to help your diabetic clients improve their health.
And, once you accomplish this, it will give you more confidence and your clients will have so much confidence in you that they will gladly tell their friends and relatives about you.
In addition, science (and mathematics) will help to train and organize your brain so that you can think more logically and creatively in problem-solving and multi-tasking.
Science is not merely a collection of facts, concepts, and useful ideas about nature. Science is a method of investigating nature--a way of knowing about nature--that discovers reliable knowledge about it. In other words, science is a method of discovering reliable knowledge about nature.
Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method. Reliable knowledge is sometimes called justified true belief, to distinguish reliable knowledge from belief that is false and unjustified or even true but unjustified.
Every person has knowledge or beliefs, but not all of each person's knowledge is reliably true and justified. In fact, most individuals believe in things that are untrue or unjustified or both: most people possess a lot of unreliable knowledge and, what's worse, they act on that knowledge!
Science is a method that allows a person to possess reliable knowledge (justified true belief) about nature. The method used to acquire and utilize scientific knowledge to draw conclusions and make recommendations is called the Scientific Method.
The Scientific Method is a structured and organized process for answering questions and solving problems. The key steps of this process include: asking questions, making observations, gathering information, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on the data and conclusions.
Now, if you look very closely at those steps, you should notice something very familiar about those steps. They happen to be very similar to the steps of my Death to Diabetes Health Coaching Process Model (Refer to the DTD Health Coaching ebook for more details).
Science is a powerful "way of knowing" based on experimentation and observations of the natural world. We depend on science for unbiased and verifiable information to make important decisions about our lives. Although there are other ways of knowing that may be important in our personal and cultural lives, they rely on opinion, belief, and other factors rather than on evidence and testing.
That is why there are so many contradictions and so much confusion about how to treat people with Type 2 diabetes. A lot of what people believe is based on pseudo-science and (false) information that everyone thought to be true.
So, instead of following the crowd, I decided to use the Scientific Method and my understanding of cellular biology and biochemistry to figure out the best way to treat my diabetes and hopefully get off the medications and save my legs and my eyesight.
And, once I improved my health and got off the medications, everyone I met wanted to know how I did it. I tried to explain the science behind what I did but I got nothing but glazed looks and dead silence from the audience. In fact, one person said: "You sound just like my doctor. I don't understand him and I surely don't understand you."
I quickly realized that I had to translate what I knew from a scientific perspective into a language that people would understand. Having been a technical trainer for a couple years during the early part of my career as an engineer, I knew how to "break down" the technical information into PowerPoint slides, pictures, diagrams and charts that the audience would be able to grasp without having to understand the science.
Ironically, I used the Scientific Method to come up with a way to communicate to the audience about diabetes and nutritional science without having to go into the technical details of the science itself. People loved the charts and diagrams, because it helped them to understand how to treat their diabetes and improve their health.
When one uses the Scientific Method to study or investigate nature (or a client's health), one is practicing a concept called "scientific thinking."
All scientists practice scientific thinking, of course, since they are actively studying nature and investigating the universe by using the scientific method. But scientific thinking is not reserved solely for scientists or doctors.
Anyone can "think like a scientist" -- as long as you use the scientific method and, more importantly, apply its concepts to what you're investigating.
When one uses the methods and principles of scientific thinking in everyday life--such as when studying history, economics or seeking solutions to problems of disease, for example--one is said to be practicing critical thinking.
Critical thinking is thinking correctly for oneself that successfully leads to the most reliable answers to questions and solutions to problems. In other words, critical thinking gives you reliable knowledge about all aspects of your life and society, and is not restricted to the formal study of nature.
Scientific thinking is identical in theory and practice, but it focuses on giving you reliable knowledge about the natural world and the sciences. Clearly, scientific thinking and critical thinking are the same thing, but where one (scientific thinking) is always practiced by scientists, the other (critical thinking) is sometimes used by humans and sometimes not.
The cell is the "fundamental unit of life." Every living thing has cells, and those cells perform basically the same functions whether they're in a human, a horse, or a flower.
There are about 37 trillion cells in your body and there are about 200 different types of cells, e.g. heart, brain, kidney, liver, nerve, bone, muscle, skin, while blood, red blood, immune, etc.
Now, it is not necessary that you learn or understand diabetes at the cellular or molecular level -- unless you like science. :-)
But, in order for us to develop effective nutritional strategies and therapies that would actually work and help to reverse your diabetes, it was imperative that we understand science and diabetes at the cellular and molecular levels.
One of the first steps in learning and understanding diabetes at the cellular level was to understand the morphology and structure of cells and how they function.
Once we understood the structure of cells, the next step was to learn and understand the (5) primary functions that cells perform in order for the human body to be healthy.
Once we understood the (5) primary functions of a cell, the next step was to learn and understand how the functions of these cells are affected by a disease like Type 2 diabetes.
Cell Structure and Components
The following 3-D diagram depicts the major components of a living cell in the human body.
Cell Overview: A cell contains many components, each with its own function. These components are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, molecules, ions, etc. The components within a cell include a cell membrane, which contains a nucleus and cytoplasm and regulates what passes in and out.
The following is a brief summary of the major components within a cell and their primary functions.
The cytoplasm consists of a fluid material and organelles, which could be considered the cell's organs.
The nucleus contains chromosomes, which are the cell's genetic material, and a nucleolus, which produces ribosomes.
Ribosomes are small particles which are found individually in the cytoplasm and also line the membranes of the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
Ribosomes produce proteins -- so they could be thought of as "factories" in the cell. These proteins are packaged by the Golgi bodies (or Golgi apparatus) so that they can leave the cell.
Golgi bodies are stacks of flattened membranous stacks (they look like pancakes!). The Golgi bodies temporarily store protein which can then leave the cell via vesiciles pinching off from the Golgi.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a network of membranous canals filled with fluid. They carry materials throughout the cell. The ER is the "transport system" of the cell.
There are two types of ER: rough ER and smooth ER. The rough ER is lined with ribosomes and is rough in appearance, The smooth ER contains no ribosomes and is smooth in appearance.
Lysosomes are small sac-like structures surrounded by a single membrane. Lysosomes contain strong digestive enzymes that can break down particles entering the cell. They also break down worn out organelles or food. The lysosome is also known as a suicide sac.
Centrioles are minute cylindrical organelles near the nucleus, occurring in pairs and involved in the development of spindle fibers in cell division.
The main function of the centriole is to help with cell division. They also help in the formation of the spindle fibers that separate the chromosomes during cell division (mitosis).
The mitochondria are round "tube-like" organelles that are surrounded by a double membrane, with the inner membrane being highly folded.
The mitochondria are often referred to as the "powerhouse" of the cell because they generate energy for the cell's activities including the cell's 5 key functions.
The mitochondria releases food energy from food molecules to be used by the cell. This process is called respiration. Some cells (muscle cells) require more energy than other cells and so would have many more mitochondria.
Vacuoles are fluid filled organelles enclosed by a membrane. They can store materials such as food, water, sugar, minerals and waste products.
The cell membrane has receptors that identify the cell to other cells and react to substances put in the body (e.g. food, drugs), selectively allowing these substances to enter and leave the cell. Reactions that take place at the receptors often alter or control a cell's functions.
An example of this is when insulin binds to receptors on the cell membrane to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels and to allow glucose to enter cells.
Cell Structure and Macronutrients
Interestingly, as depicted in the following diagram, along with various molecules and ions, cells are made up of proteins, fats, water, and carbohydrates -- the same macronutrients that we need to consume to be healthy!
A cell uses these macronutrients (and micronutrients) to function properly and keep us healthy -- as long as we eat superior foods, which contain superior macronutrients and micronutrients.
For example, when carbohydrates are broken down, the cell uses glucose to produce energy so that a cell can move and do its job. When proteins are broken down, the cell uses amino acids as building blocks to make new cells or repair the damaged cells. When lipids (fats) are broken down, the cell uses the fatty acids to help reinforce the integrity and structure of a cell.
FYI: This diagram is a simpler view of the major components of a living cell. Refer to the Science of Diabetes ebook for details about what each of the cell components do within the human body.
The Primary Functions of a Cell
In order to understand how diabetes affects the functions of a cell, first, we need to understand the primary functions of a healthy cell.
The primary functions of a cell that are required in order to support your overall health include the following:
- Absorb nutrients
- Produce energy (ATP) so that the cell can move and do its job
- Remove waste products, e.g. toxins, CO2, etc. (exocytosis)
- Communicate and respond to other cells and stimuli (cell signaling via glycoforms)
- Replicate, regenerate or replace; repair cell damage, DNA
Interestingly, we as human beings, perform the same 5 functions!
- We absorb nutrients when we eat food, which is absorbed and digested by our gastrointestinal system.
- We produce energy via our muscle cells, which enable us to move.
- We remove waste products via our skin, kidneys and colon.
- We communicate with other human beings.
- We replicate via sex and the birthing process.
So, you see, you don't really need to be a scientist to understand the basics of how a cell functions. :-)
Note: Of course, cells perform many other functions, but, these are the 5 most common and primary functions of a cell.
Each of the components within a cell must function properly in order for a cell to perform these 5 major biological functions.
If a cell is not healthy, it cannot perform these 5 functions effectively and efficiently.
Note: Of course, besides these 5 primary functions, a cell performs many other functions, e.g. move, regulate activities, control DNA synthesis and cell division, gene regulation, turn on/off metabolic pathways, etc.
How Cells Are Affected When Damaged
Your cells must be able to perform these aforementioned 5 functions in order for us to be healthy and remain alive and functioning properly.
If your cells can't perform these functions, this can lead to major health issues.
In general, here is what would happen if your cells are unable to perform one or more of these 5 functions:
1. If your cells can't absorb nutrients, then, your cells will starve and eventually die.
2. If your cells can't produce energy, then, you will feel tired and lethargic, similar to what happens to people with diabetes or chronic fatigue.
3. If your cells can't remove waste/toxins, then, your cells will become sick and you may become constipated or develop some disease.
4. If your cells can't communicate, this creates a lot of confusion between cells, which can lead to an autoimmune disease.
5. If your cells can't replicate/regenerate or repair themselves, then, the cells will eventually die; and any unrepaired DNA damage may lead to a disease or mutation.
So, how does a cell become damaged or die?
Biological Processes That Damage Cells
There are hundreds of biological processes that can cause a cell to become damaged or die. Cells can become damaged in many different ways due to various biological, biochemical and hormonal processes.
More than 200 million cells die every minute! However, since your body replaces, repairs or renews these cells, there is no noticeable impact to your day-to-day life.
However, if more cells start to die than what can be replaced due to a disease, then, this can become a problem!
As depicted in the following diagram, some of the more common biological processes that cause damage to your 37 trillion cells and the 200 major types of cells include: inflammation, oxidation, infection, insulin resistance, toxicity, glycation, lipogenesis, etc.
And, when one or more of these biological processes causes major damage to many cells, which can lead to damage to various organs, tissues and the blood, then, this can lead to a major disease such as heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, etc.
Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes at the Cell Level: Cells Damaged
Now that we understand some of the harmful biological process that can cause damage to your cells, let's take a look at what happens when specific cells are damaged from a disease like Type 2 diabetes.
The following flow chart shows how Type 2 diabetes and these harmful biological processes such as inflammation, oxidation and insulin resistance cause damage to specific cells such as muscle cells, liver cells, fat cells, red blood cells, endothelial cells, kidney cells, white blood cells, nerve cells, etc.
And, then, how these specifically damaged cells can lead to diseases such as heart disease, retinopathy and neuropathy, Alzheimer's and even cancer.
Diabetes Impact on the 5 Cell Functions
As previously mentioned, every cell in your body must perform 5 functions in order to support your overall health:
- Absorb nutrients
- Convert the fuel to energy (ATP) so that the cell can do its job
- Remove waste products, e.g. toxins, CO2, etc. (exocytosis)
- Communicate with other cells (cell signaling via glycoforms)
- Replicate or regenerate, repair DNA
When you develop a disease like Type 2 diabetes, many of your cells are unable to perform all of these functions. And, if your cells can't perform these functions, they begin to die and so do you!
For example, due to insulin resistance, some cells are unable to absorb glucose; and, because they can't absorb glucose, they can't produce energy. In addition, some cells lose the ability to repair, regenerate or replicate which leads to permanent cell apoptosis (death) and eventually death of the entire tissue, organ or body.
Therefore, any nutritional program that is considered to be effective must be able to help your cells get healthy so that they can perform these 5 major functions and prevent or slow down the onset of cell death, tissue death and death of the body.
Insulin & Inflammation Impact Cell Functions
The following diagram shows how insulin resistance and inflammation prevent a cell from being able to perform its five (5) primary functions.
And, when a cell can no longer perform its functions, it commits apoptosis (programmed self death).
Type 2 Diabetes Pathogenesis: Cells and Organs Impacted
The following diagram shows what cells are damaged due to Type 2 diabetes, leading to various diabetic complications.
The following diagram shows what organs and tissues are damaged due to Type 2 diabetes.
How Type 2 Diabetes Develops: The 6 Stages: From Non-Diabetic to Diabetic
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease -- I'm sure your doctor has already told you this. Here are the 6 major stages of how Type 2 diabetes develops at the macro-level:
- Hyperglycemia/Insulin resistance
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Full-blown diabetes
- Diabetic complications
If you take a look at what fuels these 6 stages (i.e. "Poor Nutrition/Lifestyle"), you have to wonder: Why can't these 6 stages be interrupted? Well, they can -- you just have to change the "Poor Nutrition/Lifestyle" input from eating "dead" foods to eating "live" super foods. But, you can't interrupt these stages with drugs! -- the disease will only continue to advance.
Key Point: Please take note that "prediabetes" is actually one of the stages of Type 2 diabetes pathogenesis! If people with prediabetes understood this, then, they would take prediabetes a lot more seriously, if the realized that prediabetes is actually a phase of Type 2 diabetes development!
The Biological Cycle of Type 2 Diabetes
The following diagram shows how Type 2 diabetes is a series of vicious cycles that fuel each other, enabling the disease to develop and progress, deteriorating the body over a period of many years.
Nutritional Science and Cell Biology
As depicted in one of the diagrams (above), cells are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.
Interestingly, the four major macronutrients that we consume as food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.
And, cells consume these macronutrients after they are broken down into glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids in order to perform their 5 functions and other processes.
So, it would seem to make sense that if you eat healthy foods that contain healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water, then, you have a pretty good chance of having healthy cells and a healthy body!
Obviously, that is an oversimplification of a set of complex biological processes, but, hopefully, you get the point.
Based on that, here is a diagram that depicts what your Super Meal Plate should look like: a balance of the major macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water.
Transformation from Diabetic to Non-Diabetic
By knowing a little bit about science, you can see that the cells that are damaged from diabetes can be repaired if the cells obtain the proper nutrients to initiate the cell repair and healing processes.
As a result, as depicted in the following diagram, the body's biochemistry can be transformed from a diabetic state (with high insulin and blood glucose levels) to a non-diabetic state (normal insulin and blood glucose levels) -- by following a science-based wellness program.
By understanding just a little bit about the science behind diabetes and nutrition, you can begin to see how eating the right foods can actually help you with your diabetes.
More importantly, if you understand even just a little bit of the science of diabetes, then, you know that you can help your body and prevent it from rotting due to the diabetes.
Otherwise, the damaged cells will lead to damaged organs as your body will continue to breakdown and eventually develop one or more of the major diabetic complications, e.g. retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, or heart disease.
Next Steps to Wellness
However, there is no need for you to have to understand all of the science of diabetes or any of these diagrams at the level that the author understands them! He's somewhat of a nerd, so he really loves this stuff! :-)
And, for those of you who are healthcare professionals, these diagrams can be helpful by giving you a better understanding to help your diabetic clients. If you want us to help improve your credibility and expertise with your clients, you may want to get the author's Science of Diabetes ebook, PowerPoint Slides package or one of the Health Coaching & Training Program Kits.
p.s. These training kits are not only available as a physical kit -- now you can download the entire training program at a cost that is less than 50% of the physical kit!
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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