Digestive Enzymes: An Unexpected Diabetes Game Changer I crossed over into type 2 diabetes in 2005. In early 2015, I thought I had a urinary tract infection. I didn’t. The next day, my doctor’s office informed me that my non-fasting blood glucose was 282 mg/dL, my A1c 9.9%, and that I needed to start taking metformin and a statin immediately. With my doctor’s support, I chose to try diet and walking again, then have the lab work repeated in six weeks. With the help of a lot of books beginning with Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, 4th edition, and many on the Low-carb Diet Forum at http://www.diabetes.co.uk, all of my lab work is now within or just above the normal range, except my fasting and post meal blood glucose levels. A1c at last check was 5.4%. Fasting glucose is typically in the 110 – 115 mg/dL range, 2-hour post meal levels are typically 10 – 30 mg/dL higher, lipid panel is the best it's been in my entire adult life. Despite following the low carb ketogenic diet, taking lots of thoughtfully chosen supplements, and walking regularly for the last 15 months, my blood glucose levels haven’t changed much beyond what they were within a month of beginning the low carb diet. That is, until recently. I’d just finished reading Dr. Richard Maurer’s book, The Blood Code (2014) - (which is excellent, a must read for all type 2 diabetics) - and decided to increase my intake of Alpha Lipoic Acid from 200 mg to 400 mg a day. At about the same time, I ran out of my whole foods B-complex, available only online, so I bought a different B-complex locally that also includes a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics. When my fasting blood glucose dropped into the 90’s (mg/dL), I didn’t think much about it as this occasionally happens. But one morning, after testing, I looked at my monitor, and it said 85 mg/dL. Stunned, I showed my husband. In the days that followed, blood glucose, both fasting and post meal levels, dropped by 10 – 20 mg/dL. I couldn’t believe it. Told everyone it was the Alpha Lipoic Acid. What a difference the 200 mg increase had made! When I finished the B-complex, I switched back to the one I’ve taken for more than a year now, and my blood glucose levels began going back up. I was stumped. I kept asking myself, what else had changed? I was missing something. Then I realized it had to be the B-complex. I went out, bought another bottle, and started taking it again. Blood glucose levels dropped almost immediately. The new B-complex contains lipase, protease, aspergillopepsin, beta-glucanase, bromelain, phytase, lactase, papain, peptidase, pectinase, xylanase, hemicellulase, [lactobacillus bulgaricus, lactobacillus plantarum] (500 million CFU), saccharomyces ceraviciae organic apple (fruit), beet (root), broccoli (stalk and flower), carrot (root), spinach (leaf), tomato (fruit), strawberry (fruit), tart cherry (fruit), blackberry (fruit), green bell pepper (fruit), brussels sprout (leaf), blueberry (fruit), ginger (root), garlic (bulb), green onion (bulb), raspberry (fruit), parsley (leaf), cauliflower (flower and stem), red cabbage (leaf), kale (leaf), cucumber (gourd), celery (stalk), asparagus (flower and stem) I’ve taken a B-complex most of my adult life. I eat some of the fruits and most of the vegetables listed, though usually not raw, and I’d taken a probiotic for almost a year, so it had to be the enzymes. Today, I began looking for more information and came across this article – (http://www.livestrong.com/article/423609-digestive-enzymes-for-diabetes/)… Digestive Enzymes for Diabetes Last Updated: Nov 03, 2015 | By Brindusa Vanta Digestive enzymes are important for a variety of functions of your body and are best known for their role in breaking down the foods in nutrients that can be easily absorbed in the bloodstream and further used by your body. Digestive enzymes in supplement form can be used by diabetics to help improve the digestion and proper absorption and utilization of nutrients. Before taking any supplements, including digestive enzymes you should first consult your health care provider. About Digestive Enzymes There are three key digestive enzymes. Protease, found in the juices of the stomach, pancreas and intestine help break down the proteins from the food you eat. Lipase, also found in the stomach and pancreas help break down the fats. Amylase from saliva, pancreatic and stomach juices help digest the sugars or carbohydrates. Digestive Enzymes for Diabetics Diabetes does not only cause impairment in the metabolism of sugars but is also associated with abnormal metabolism of fats and proteins. Therefore all three key enzymes — lipase, protease and amylase — are important in managing diabetes because they will help digest all three groups of nutrients: proteins, fats and sugars. Enzyme Therapy for Diabetes and Its Complications In addition to a multivitamin and multi-mineral formula, supplementation with digestive enzymes is recommended by the author of “The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy” for managing both type 1 and 2 diabetes. These enzymes will help improve digestion, as well as break down the fats, proteins and sugars. In addition, digestive enzymes may improve circulation, which is often poor in diabetics, boost the immune system, decrease inflammation, help the transportation of nutrients throughout the body, eliminate waste products and enhance overall wellness. Digestive enzymes may be also useful for gastroparesis a complication of diabetes. Gastroparesis is a complication of diabetes characterized by symptoms like heartburn, belching, bloating, nausea and changes in bowel movement pattern. Digestive enzymes, particularly protease may help prevent kidney complications of diabetes, and all enzymes may help prevent nerve damage caused by this condition, based on research conducted to date, indicates Cickohe. Supplements like probiotics, aged garlic extract, L-carnitine, L-glutamine and Coenzyme CoQ10 may enhance the absorption of digestive enzymes and therefore should be also taken by diabetics, according to “The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy.” Considerations Consult a qualified health care professional to find out the optimal dosage to help improve your condition. A healthy diet and daily exercise are also important for a diabetic. Keep in mind that digestive enzymes do not replace, and should not be used to replace, any anti-diabetes drugs. I next went to http://diabetes.co.uk to do a search on “enzymes” and found an exchange between @Indy51 and I in which she'd shared that digestive enzymes had helped her. Sheesh…wish I’d tried this a lot sooner. Thanks Indy! I don't know if this is a permanent change or not. I hope so. Will keep you all posted. I should add here that in addition to having severe insulin resistance, I also was formally diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2000 - (though I've only had two flares, one in 1999/2000, the other in 2015; I've been back in remission since December 2015; I've used the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since 2000, the LCHF diet since 2015, and a soil based probiotic since 2015) - and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity in 2011 - (though I do not have the either gene for Celiac, 95% of people with celiac disease have the HLA-DQ2 gene and most of the remaining 5% have the HLA-DQ8 gene). Also, I live in the US, so it's possible my gut and microbiome have been damaged by Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals. I stopped eating wheat, barley, and rye in 2011, but didn't stop eating all grains until last year. Additionally, I didn't stop eating GMO foods, and non-organic foods until last year. I'm going to speculate that I'm responding well to digestive enzymes because my gut and microbiome have been damaged by the foods I've eaten in the past. Don't know. All I know is that these enzymes are working for me.