When it comes to treating type 2 diabetes, taking care of your mitochondria is just as important as keeping your blood sugar in check.
In fact, dozens of chronic diseases are now linked to mitochondrial dysfunction.
It doesn’t surprise me at all, because mitochondria are the power generators in every single cell in your body.
But most people never even think about their mitochondria. That’s because mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize how important your mitochondrial health is.
From Mitochondrial Melt-down to Diabetes Disaster
When you have type 2 diabetes, you either don’t have enough insulin, or your cells have become resistant to it. When that happens, your body can’t control your blood sugar levels and can’t turn food into energy.
Mitochondrial damage sets the stage for diabetes:
- Mitochondria are responsible for the way your body burns stored fat. So if your mitochondria aren’t running at full capacity, you end up with a vicious cycle of fat build-up, increasing levels of cellular “junk” and the inability to accept insulin.1
- Mitochondrial waste contributes to insulin resistance, which is another cause of high blood sugar and obesity.2
- And the mitochondria in your brain trigger a spike in blood sugar after you eat. Damaged mitochondria mean unreliable signals and dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels.3
Fighting Diabetes at the Source
I help my patients change the way they think about their mitochondria.
They are critical for keeping you healthy and active.
And there are plenty of ways for you to support your mitochondria so you can prevent or treat type 2 diabetes.
The first thing I tell my patients is to stimulate AMPK activity in your cells.
AMPK is a very important enzyme in your body.
AMPK regenerates cAMP… what I like to call “The Molecule of Life.” cAMP is where we get all our energy. Without it, you become tired and lethargic.
When you’re young, AMPK works hard in every cell of your body to keep you energized and your cells healthy.
AMPK also increases the number of new mitochondria in your body and reduces inflammation and cellular “junk” that cause damage to existing mitochondria.
Best of all, it boosts your cells’ ability to take up glucose, turning it into energy instead of spiking blood sugar levels or storing it as fat.
For diabetics, it’s a life-saver.
Three Easy Steps For Mega Mitochondria
1. Brew a tea: One way you can stimulate AMPK activity in your cells is with an herb known asGynostemma pentaphyllum. My patients use it to boost their cellular energy levels, lose weight naturally and lower their blood sugar.
You can buy the leaves of G. pentaphyllum online and at specialty herb stores. Six grams of leaves brewed daily as a tea quickly lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity.4
The tea is simple to make:
- Bring water to a boil;
- Add 6 grams of G. pentaphyllum leaves;
- Let the brew steep for 10 minutes;
- Pour tea into cup through a strainer and enjoy.
2. Exercise with PACE: AMPK activity can also be increased with burst of short, vigorous exercise, like my PACE program.5 During a PACE workout you deplete glycogen, the energy in your muscles, and AMPK swings naturally into full effect to replace it.
3. Supplement with CoQ10: You can find CoQ10 supplements in most health food stores. For optimal mitochondrial health, I recommend starting at 100 mg and working your way up to 300 mg per day. Make sure any CoQ10 supplement you take is the ubiquinol form, which has higher rates of absorption and remains up to 8 times longer in your blood.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Noland RC, Koves TR, Seiler SE, et al. Carnitine insufficiency caused by aging and overnutrition compromises mitochondrial performance and metabolic control. J Biol Chem. 2009 Aug 21;284(34):22840-52.
2. Terman A, Kurz T, Navratil M, Arriaga EA, Brunk UT. Mitochondrial turnover and aging of long-lived postmitotic cells: the mitochondrial-lysosomal axis theory of aging. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Apr;12(4):503-35.
3. Yale University. “Sugar rush shrinks brain cell powerhouse.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2016.
4. Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG. :Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients.: Hormone Metabolism Research. 2010. 42(5):353-7.
5. Hardie DG. “AMP-activated protein kinase: a key system mediating metabolic responses to exercise.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004. 36(1):28-34.