High Blood Sugar and Insulin Resistance

Repeated high blood sugar levels can create imbalances leading to insulin resistance. Chronically high levels of blood sugar and insulin can create conditions favorable to cancer growth and spread.

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

Berberine

Citrullus colocynthis

Coccinia cordifolia

Fenugreek

Ginger

Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Hintonia latiflora

Lichen genus Cladonia BAFS “Yagel-Detox”

Marine collagen peptides

Milk thistle (silymarin)

Nettle

Omega3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid

Pterocarpus marsupium (vijayasar)

Reishi mushroom

Salacia reticulata

Scoparia dulcis porridge

Soybean-derived pinitol extract

Touchi soybean extract

Yoga

Traditional Chinese medicine herbs:

  • Fructus Mume
  • Gegen Qinlian Decoction (GQD)
  • Jianyutangkang (JYTK) with metformin
  • Jinlida with metformin
  • Sancaijiangtang
  • 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

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.

Authors

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewer

Dr. Fuller-Shavel is a GMC-registered integrative medicine doctor with degrees in medicine and natural sciences from the University of Cambridge. Dr. Fuller-Shavel is a fellow of the College of Medicine and the vice chair for BSIO (British Society for Integrative Oncology). Alongside her science and medical training, Dr. Fuller-Shavel holds multiple qualifications in nutrition, integrative medicine, health coaching, herbal medicine, yoga, mindfulness and other mind-body approaches.

Dr. Fuller-Shavel is the director of Synthesis Clinic, an award-winning multidisciplinary integrative medicine practice in Hampshire, UK, specializing in women’s health, gut health (microbiome and gut-brain axis) and mental health. She combines her clinical work in women’s health and supporting patients with breast and gynecological cancer with education and training for healthcare professionals and research in precision cancer medicine and precision nutrition.

Nina Fuller-Shavel, MB, BChir, MA Hons, FBANT, IFMCP, DipIM, PG Cert RYT300

Last update: May 31, 2023

Last full literature review: July 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.