How do integrative experts manage high blood sugar and insulin resistance?
Both medical groups and integrative experts provide recommendations for managing high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Learn more about the approaches and meanings of recommendations.
Clinical practice guidelines
These 2018 guidelines found that in adults with type 2 diabetes, the following complementary therapies were shown to lower glycated hemoglobin (A1C) by at least 0.5% in randomized controlled trials lasting at least 3 months. The researchers concluded that “these products are promising and merit consideration and further research, but, as they are mostly single, small trials or meta-analyses of such, it is premature to recommend their widespread use.”
Aloe vera (oral)
A specific Ayurveda formulation of six herbs
Lichen genus Cladonia BAFS “Yagel-Detox”
Marine collagen peptides
Milk thistle (silymarin)
Omega3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid
Pterocarpus marsupium (vijayasar)
Scoparia dulcis porridge
Soybean-derived pinitol extract
Touchi soybean extract
Traditional Chinese medicine herbs:
- Fructus Mume
- Gegen Qinlian Decoction (GQD)
- Jianyutangkang (JYTK) with metformin
- Jinlida with metformin
- Shen-Qi-Formula (SQF) with insulin
- Tang-Min-Ling-Wan (TM81)
- Xiaoke (contains glyburide)
- Zishentongluo (ZSTL)
Published programs and protocols
These protocolsa package of therapies combining and preferably integrating various therapies and practices into a cohesive design for care, programs, and approaches by leaders in integrative cancer care provide guidance for managing high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
We do not recommend specific integrative protocols or programs but provide information for you to evaluate with your healthcare team.
Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella
Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 2010.
Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Thriving after Cancer: A Five-Step Integrative Plan to Reduce the Risk of Recurrence and Build Lifelong Health. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. 2013.
Approaches are described for certain cancer types, or along with certain conventional therapy treatments, or for particular conditions such as insulin resistance.
The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition lists natural agents with broad spectrum use against insulin resistance, lists therapies and natural products used in reversing/managing insulin resistance, and advises dietary measures to manage insulin resistance among people with breast cancer.
The Definitive Guide to Thriving after Cancer explains lifestyle practices such as diet and movement, and natural products used in preventing or reversing insulin resistance.
Keith Block, MD
Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.
The integrative Block Program has recommendations to people who are at different places along the cancer continuum:
- Those who’ve been recently diagnosed
- Those in treatment
- Those who’ve concluded treatment and need to remain vigilant to prevent recurrence
This approach includes a test of serum insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels in terrain testing for problems with blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. This hormone, usually elevated in metabolic syndrome, can stimulate cancer cell growth.
Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, and Alison Jefferies, MEd
Cohen L, Jefferies A. Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six. New York: Viking. 2018.
This book introduces the concept of the Mix of Six, which is identical to six of our 7 Healing Practices ›
Dr. Cohen and Ms. Jefferies explain that while each plays an independent role, the synergy created by all six factors can radically transform health, delay or prevent many cancers, support conventional treatments, and significantly improve quality of life.
This program includes movement as a means of combating insulin resistance and other problems of being sedentary and managing your microbiome, with insulin resistance being influenced by microbial diversity.
Gerald M. Lemole, MD; Pallav K. Mehta, MD; and Dwight L. McKee, MD
Lemole GM, Mehta PK, McKee DL. After Cancer Care: The Definitive Self-Care Guide to Getting and Staying Well for Patients with Cancer. New York, New York: Rodale, Inc. 2015.
These doctors present easy-to-incorporate lifestyle changes to help you “turn on” hundreds of genes that fight cancer, and “turn off” the ones that encourage cancer, while recommending lifestyle approaches to address each type.
This program recommends what and when to eat to prevent insulin spikes and manage blood sugar, lists foods to avoid to reduce stimulation of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and recommends exercise as a tool to manage insulin and obesity.
Neil McKinney, BSc, ND
McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, Fourth Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2020.
This book includes descriptions and uses of many natural and complementary protocols for cancer in general and for specific cancers. It also includes information on integrative support during conventional cancer treatment.
Dr. McKinney describes dietary interventions and supplements as tools to manage insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, control of insulin-like growth factor.
Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO, and Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO
Parmar G, Kaczor T. Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology: A Desktop Guide of Integrative Cancer Care. 1st edition. Medicatrix Holdings Ltd. 2020.
This book provides information on the treatment of 24 cancers, plus the most effective treatments of the most common symptoms affecting cancer patients while they undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.
These doctors explain the link between glucose and cancer and advise educating patients on healthy eating guidelines that include guidance on glycemic effects of food.
David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD
Servan-Schreiber D. Anticancer: A New Way of Life. New York: Penguin Books. 2009.
This book provides tips on how people living with cancer can fight it and how healthy people can prevent it.
This program uses dietary patterns and specific foods to manage insulin resistance and insulin growth factor.
Nasha Winters ND, FABNO, LAc, DiplOM and Jess Higgins Kelley, MNT
Winters ND, Kelley JH. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. 2017. Chelsea Green Publishing.
This book’s metabolic approach to cancer is a “naturopathic nutrition program that uses the medicinal powers of traditional foods, therapeutic diets and non-toxic lifestyle approaches as cancer counteragents and preventives.“ The program focuses on 10 terrain elements and how to assess them and bring them into balance.
This book provides a blood sugar balance questionnaire and suggests testing for high blood sugar and insulin resistance. If assessments indicate problems with high blood sugar/insulin resistance, they suggest focusing on chapter 4 of the book, which describes using the ketogenic diet, but under medical supervision by a practitioner experienced in prescribing and managing a ketogenic diet.
Other expert assessments
This 2014 review advises dietary control of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, including supervised weight loss.