An astonishing one in four people above the age of 65 have adult-onset (type 2) diabetes. Even more have prediabetes—a condition close to, but not yet diabetes. Though it’s exceedingly common, neither type 2 diabetes nor prediabetes should be taken lightly. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to debilitating health problems.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Your pancreas is a busy organ, with one of its most important roles being to make insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by acting like a key that unlocks the cell’s ability to take in sugar for energy.
As you may already know, or could at least guess, since there is a type 2 diabetes, there is also a type 1. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the person with this disease does not produce insulin. Those with type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but their cells don’t use it as well as they should, so it’s also called insulin resistance.
With type 2 diabetes, because the cells are unable to take up the circulating sugar, blood sugar can rise—or “spike”—after a meal. Rather than feeling energized and full of vigour though, spiking blood sugar can trigger sluggishness and even extreme exhaustion in some cases.
The problems associated with diabetes
Diabetics must learn to identify symptoms that their blood sugar levels are problematic. Sweating, a rapid heartbeat, slurred speech, numbness in the fingers and toes, headache, and feeling anxious, sleepy, or confused are all signs alerting to dysregulated blood sugar.
Over time, poorly managed diabetes may cause atherosclerosis—or hardening of the arteries—that can lead to heart disease or stroke. It can also lead to vision loss, kidney failure, nerve pain, and more.
Preventing dangerous spikes in blood sugar
One of the most common risk factors for getting type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Though people who aren’t overweight can also end up with diabetes, extra pounds increase the risk. Eating healthy and exercising regularly are two of the most important actions a person can take to decrease the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes, as well as managing the disease itself.
Fortunately, nature has also provided some herbs—including Japanese red reishi mushroom—that can help you get your blood sugar levels under control.
Hailed as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in the Far East, reishi mushrooms have been used to treat a long list of ailments for over 2000 years. Though Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors have long used red reishi (called ling zhi), to treat diabetes, research is now catching up with how it works.
Studies have found compounds—including polysaccharides—in red reishi mushrooms that help treat and manage diabetes by improving insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels, stopping the liver from releasing too much glucose, and decreasing the fat to body weight ratio.