CBD for Diabetes: Prevention, Treatment, How to Use
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which your body does not properly process sugar for use as energy. High blood glucose or blood sugar can, in turn, cause serious health effects like nerve damage, eye problems, heart disease or stroke. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the cells producing insulin; it can be treated with insulin. Type II diabetes is an acquired insensitivity to insulin. Symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, feelings of thirst, slow healing of cuts or bruises, and tingling, pain or numbness in hands and feet (neuropathy). In the US, almost 10% of people have diabetes, and it is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics. (Learn about CBD for weight loss.)
About CBD Oil for Diabetes
Some diabetes patients claim that CBD can treat their diabetes symptoms by controlling high blood sugar.
The benefits of CBD for treating diabetes-related health problems include reduced inflammation and improved blood glucose control.
In 2015, a study revealed that CBD had anti-inflammatory effects on rats. Given that excess inflammation is known to impact the development of insulin resistance and therefore type 2 diabetes, this could have benefits for humans.
Meanwhile, in 2016, University of Nottingham researchers showed that CBD helped lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes.
Forms of CBD
Forms of CBD that you can use to potentially relieve symptoms of diabetes include:
- Oils and tinctures. Oils placed (via eye dropper) under the tongue absorb quickly into the bloodstream. Drops can also be added to foods or beverages.
- Edibles. These gummy-like candies or chocolates are good options for those who have trouble swallowing pills. Time from ingestion to effect can take a while.
- capsules. CBD capsules contain a version of an oil or tincture. The time from ingestion to effect can take a while.
- Skin creams and lotions. Topical CBD creams are often applied to the skin to ease muscle or joint pain. Most topicals don’t enter the bloodstream. Instead, they affect local cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
When starting any new drug or supplement, it’s usually best to start with a low dose. This way you can see how well you tolerate it and whether it’s effective at that dose.
Side effects of CBD
An extensive review of CBD’s existing clinical data and animal studies reported that CBD is safe and has few, if any, side effects for adults.
There are possible side effects to anything we put in our body. Thankfully, most people are able to tolerate CBD oil; however, using CBD oil with other medications may change the effectiveness of the medication or cause fatigue and changes in appetite.
Additionally, if the CBD oil is vaped or inhaled, there’s a risk for lung problems, as with anything taken in this form.
In short, the medical potential and therapeutic benefits of CBD oil for diabetes are nothing short of phenomenal.
Many diabetics are beginning to use it and depend on it every day to treat their disease symptoms while improving their overall quality of life. It’s likely that many thousands more will continue to do so in the future in light of increased research and improved information.
Most common side effects are:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
What about other effects of diabetes? How Could CBD Help?
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a disorder where the heart muscle is unable to effectively circulate blood through the body.
One study discovered that CBD eased myocardial dysfunction by weakening cardiac fibrosis, oxidative/nitrative stress, inflammation, and cell death that occurs as a result of diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy – blindness caused by diabetes – is a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Research points to CBD emerging as a therapeutic means of easing inflammatory retinal diseases.
Diabetic inflammation is another aspect of diabetes that can prolong discomfort to sufferers; it plays a key role in the development of insulin resistance.
The presence of excessive fatty tissue in diabetics limits the efficiency of glucose which results in high levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
Because CBD is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it could be used to treat inflammation and improve metabolism.
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is commonly associated with diabetes. The lack of sufficient blood flow causes limited sensation in the body, especially the extremities. Around 20 million people experience some form of neuropathy.
The symptoms can include constant pain, tingling, numbness, temperature sensitivity, balance problems, or pain from touching objects. Unfortunately, traditional treatments do not always work for people with neuropathy and sometimes even trigger a range of negative side effects.
However, CBD might provide relief for people with neuropathy. CBD has been shown to reduce infarcts (areas of dead tissue due to lack of blood flow) by up to 30%.
Lowering blood pressure is vital for diabetics. One study found that the subjects who took CBD had a lower overall blood pressure during different readings.
The 16 Best Foods to Control Diabetes
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for heart health.
In studies, older men and women who consumed fatty fish 5–7 days per week for 8 weeks had significant reductions in triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
Bottom Line: Fatty fish contain omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are extremely nutritious and low in calories.
They're also very low in digestible carbs, which raise your blood sugar levels.
Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.
In one study, increasing vitamin C intake reduced inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Leafy green vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect your heart and eye health.
Cinnamon is a delicious spice with potent antioxidant activity.
Several controlled studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity
Long-term diabetes control is typically determined by measuring hemoglobin A1c, which reflects your average blood sugar level over 2–3 months.
In one study, type 2 diabetes patients who took cinnamon for 90 days had more than a double reduction in hemoglobin A1c, compared those who only received standard care
On the other hand, ceylon ("true") cinnamon contains much less coumarin.
Bottom Line: Cinnamon may improve blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in type 2 diabetics
In fact, they're one of the best foods for keeping you full for hours
Regular egg consumption may also reduce your heart disease risk in several ways.
Eggs decrease inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, increase your "good" HDL cholesterol levels and modify the size and shape of your "bad" LDL cholesterol
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2 eggs daily as part of a high-protein diet had improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels
Bottom Line: Eggs improve risk factors for heart disease, promote good blood sugar control, protect eye health and keep you feeling full.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a wonderful food for people with diabetes.
They're extremely high in fiber, yet low in digestible carbs.
In fact, 11 of the 12 grams of carbs in a 28-gram (1-oz) serving of chia seeds are fiber, which doesn't raise blood sugar.
The viscous fiber in chia seeds can actually lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food moves through your gut and is absorbed
Bottom Line: Chia seeds contain high amounts of fiber, are low in digestible carbs and may decrease blood pressure and inflammation.
Turmeric is a spice with powerful health benefits.
Its active ingredient, curcumin, can lower inflammation and blood sugar levels, while reducing heart disease risk
What's more, curcumin appears to benefit kidney health in diabetics. This is important, as diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney disease
Unfortunately, curcumin isn't absorbed that well on its own. Be sure to consume turmeric with piperine (found in black pepper) in order to boost absorption by as much as 2,000%
Bottom Line: Turmeric contains curcumin, which may reduce blood sugar levels and inflammation, while protecting against heart and kidney disease.
7. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice for diabetics.
It's been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk, perhaps partly due to the probiotics it contains
What's more, Greek yogurt contains only 6–8 grams of carbs per serving, which is lower than conventional yogurt. It's also higher in protein, which promotes weight loss by reducing appetite and decreasing calorie intake1
Bottom Line: Greek yogurt promotes healthy blood sugar levels, reduces risk factors for heart disease and may help with weight management.
Nuts are delicious and nutritious.
All types of nuts contain fiber and are low in digestible carbs, although some have more than others.
Here are the amounts of digestible carbs per 1-oz (28-gram) serving of nuts:
- Almonds: 2.6 grams
- Brazil nuts: 1.4 grams
- Cashews: 7.7 grams
- Hazelnuts: 2 grams
- Macadamia: 1.5 grams
- Pecans: 1.2 grams
- Pistachios: 5 grams
- Walnuts: 2 grams
Research on a variety of different nuts has shown that regular consumption may reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar, HbA1c and LDL levels In one study, people with diabetes who included 30 grams of walnuts in their daily diet for one year lost weight, had improvements in body composition and experienced a significant reduction in insulin levels (66Trusted Source).
Bottom Line: Nuts are a healthy addition to a diabetic diet. They're low in digestible carbs and help reduce blood sugar, insulin and LDL levels.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables around.
A half cup of cooked broccoli contains only 27 calories and 3 grams of digestible carbs, along with important nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium.
Bottom Line: Broccoli is a low-calorie, low-carb food with high nutrient value. It is loaded with healthy plant compounds that can protect against various diseases.
10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is extremely beneficial for heart health.
It contains oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has been shown to improve triglycerides and HDL, which are often at unhealthy levels in type 2 diabetes.
It may also increase the fullness hormone GLP-1 Bottom Line: Extra-virgin olive oil contains healthy oleic acid. It has benefits for blood pressure and heart health.
Flaxseeds are an incredibly healthy food.
A portion of their insoluble fiber is made up of lignans, which can decrease heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who took flaxseed lignans for 12 weeks had a significant improvement in hemoglobin A1c
Bottom Line: Flaxseeds may reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk, decrease blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits.
Although it's made from apples, the sugar in the fruit is fermented into acetic acid, and the resulting product contains less than 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It may also reduce blood sugar response by as much as 20% when consumed with meals containing carbs
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. It may also help you feel full for longer.
Strawberries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat.
They're high in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which give them their red color.
Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce cholesterol and insulin levels after a meal. They also improve blood sugar and heart disease risk factors in type 2 diabetes
Bottom Line: Strawberries are low-sugar fruits that have strong anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce heart disease risk.
Garlic is a delicious herb with impressive health benefits.
Several studies have shown it can reduce inflammation, blood sugar and LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes
It may also be very effective at reducing blood pressure
One clove of raw garlic contains only 4 calories and 1 gram of carbs.
Bottom Line: Garlic helps lower blood sugar, inflammation, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure in people with diabetes.
Squash is one of the healthiest vegetables around.
Winter varieties have a hard shell and include acorn, pumpkin and butternut.
Summer squash has a soft peel that can be eaten. The most common types are zucchini and Italian squash.
Like most vegetables, squash contains beneficial antioxidants. Many types of winter squash are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
However, winter squash is higher in carbs than summer squash.
For example, 1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains 9 grams of digestible carbs, while 1 cup of cooked zucchini contains only 3 grams of digestible carbs.
Bottom Line: Summer and winter squash contain beneficial antioxidants and may help lower blood sugar and insulin levels.