Diabetes Mellitus Information and Herbal Supplements




Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism characterized by elevations of blood sugar (glucose) levels and a greatly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, retinopathy, and loss of nerve function. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or when the cells of the body become resistant to insulin. In either case, the blood sugar cannot get into the cells for storage, which then leads to serious complications.

Diabetes is divided into two major categories: type 1 and type 2.  Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), occurs most often in children and adolescents and is associated with complete destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, which manufacture the hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetics require lifelong insulin for the control of blood sugar levels. Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), usually has an onset after forty years of age. About 90% of all diabetics are type 2. Initially, their insulin levels are typically elevated, indicating a loss of sensitivity to insulin by the cells of the body, otherwise known as insulin resistance.

Signs and Symptoms

The classic symptoms of type 1 diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, and excessive appetite. In type 2 diabetes, these symptoms may also be present but are usually much milder than in type 1. When symptoms are mild, many people do not seek medical care. In fact, of the more than ten million Americans with diabetes, fewer than half know they have it.


Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, current theory suggests an autoimmune process leads to the destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Antibodies for beta cells are present in 75% of all cases of type 1 diabetes, compared to 0.5 to 2 percent of nondiabetics. The antibodies to the beta cells appear to develop in response to cell destruction due to other mechanisms (chemicals, free radicals, viruses, food allergies, etc.)

On the other hand, obesity is a major contributing factor to the development of insulin resistance; approximately 90 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes are obese. In most cases, achieving ideal body weight is associated with restoration of normal blood sugar levels in these patients.

Natural Medicines¹

Chromium Picolinate
Korean Ginseng

¹The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines, Michael Murray N.D., 2002

Natural Medicines

Chromium Picolinate
Korean Ginseng

Copyright 2002 by Herbal Nurse® Incorporated. All rights reserved.