What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects millions of people world wide. It is an incurable but manageable condition and affects people physically and emotionally. It can also affect family members, in particular parents of young children, who feel a responsibility to help the sufferer manage the condition through diet and medication.
Sugar, in the form of glucose, circulates the body in the blood stream and is available for body cells to use as energy. Under normal circumstances the pancreas produces the correct amount of insulin to meet the requirements of the body and allow glucose to enter the cells. Those with diabetes do not produce enough insulin and blood sugar levels can get dangerously high.
Types of Diabetes:
Type 1 or Insulin Dependent Diabetes – most often occurs in children and young adults and will remain with them for life. The pancreas simply stops producing insulin and an external source is required. This supplemental insulin needs to be injected because if it were taken orally (in the form of a pill) the insulin would be broken down by the digestive system before it could be used. Thus, insulin injections form a daily ritual amongst type 1 sufferers.
Type 2 or Non Insulin Dependant Diabetes – tends to occur later in life and there are links between obesity and this type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is insufficient insulin produced by the pancreas.
This type of diabetes can be managed without insulin injections by controlling the diet (in particular the fat and sugar intake) of the sufferer. Oral supplements and medications that help control blood sugar levels can also help.
Diabetes and Yacon
Yacon (or smallanthus sonchifolius) is a plant that is native to South America. Related to the sunflower, it has large tuberous roots that are similar in appearance to sweet potato and yellow flowers on long stalks. It is the leaves of this plant however, which are dried and powdered and made into capsules that may help diabetics. These leaves can assist in controlling hyperglycaemia by lowering blood sugar levels in the body.
Yacon leaves allow the body to use insulin more effectively by lowering the body’s cells resistance to insulin. Other medications which perform similar functions can have side affects including stomach discomfort. Yacon leaves are natural and safe. Although there seems to be no official studies into the effect of Yacon as an aid to diabetics, there is much anecdotal evidence, which suggests that the dried leaves of this plant can help.