Over the past three years, the College of Medicine’s Food On Prescription Conference has become the leading UK event on food, lifestyle and medicine and has become a ‘must-attend’ for healthcare professionals, who want to know how to create a healthier future for patients, communities and the nation.
The future for medicine is changing, and a survey that went out to attendees found that 67% are now interested in recommending herbal medicines to patients and out of the 33% that answered ‘no’, 20% didn’t know that they could recommend alternative medicine and 25% reported not having enough time with their patients.*
“Medicine is moving away from the old paradigm of ‘diagnose and treat’ towards one of ‘self-help and prevent.’ Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are providing increasing support for people who prefer to take more control over their own health,” explains Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and medical advisory board member for CuraLife.
Dr Sarah Brewer shares her top tips for healthcare professionals and patients who are living with chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and are looking to share advice and trial natural alternatives.
How can healthcare professionals educate patients on natural alternatives to medicine?
“NICE guidelines recommend that people with poor glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes) and newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are, where appropriate, given a chance to improve their glucose control using diet and lifestyle changes. They also state that every individual with type 2 diabetes should have a care plan set up that takes into account their personal preferences (as well as their other health problems and medication).[i]
“Many people prefer to use a natural approach, and CuraLin is an ideal alternative to oral hypoglycaemic medication, especially in the early stages of the disease to support diet and lifestyle approaches.”
“CuraLin (RRP: £59) contains a blend of 10 herbs, including Bitter Melon, Turmeric, Syzygium Cumini and Fenugreek, that are traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine to treat diabetes. These work in different, synergistic, ways, so that only a small amount of each is needed to produce an overall, beneficial effect.”
“Some people also use CuraLin in addition to their medication (usually metformin) but only with the permission and supervision of their own doctor. This is important to ensure they know how to reduce their medication, if needed, to avoid their blood glucose levels going too low.”
What about healthcare professionals that don’t have time to educate on natural alternatives to medicine?
“Structured education is an integral part of diabetes care, but providing good quality, individualised information to people with type 2 diabetes does take time. NICE, therefore, recommend that adults with type 2 diabetes are offered a structured group education programme.
For example, the DESMOND (Diabetes Education for Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) programme, which is offered around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review. Doctors will also usually also offer an appointment with a dietician for individual dietary advice.”
What advice would you give to patients with type 2 diabetes who are interested in trying natural alternatives to medicine?
“People with type 2 diabetes should always follow their own doctor’s advice. In order to share their preferences with their doctor, however, it is important to educate themselves about all the treatment options available, including natural alternatives. For advice on Curalin, they can join the Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together Facebook Community.
There are a number of herbs that can help support people who want to maintain healthy glucose levels. The following are individually beneficial and are all included within CuraLin;
- “Bitter melon is often referred to as plant insulin as it contains a chain of amino acids known as polypeptide-p, which is structurally similar to insulin and can reduce glucose levels, reduce glucose absorption from the diet and reduce the production of glucose in the liver, so that blood glucose levels improve.[ii]”
- “Syzygium cumini / Eugenia jambolana, increases insulin secretion and the conversion of glucose to glycogen in muscle cells[iii]”
- “Gymnema sylvestre reduces sensitivity to sweet tastes and suppresses sugar cravings and the desire for sweet foods.[iv]”
- “Turmeric has beneficial effects on pancreatic cells, improving the release of insulin by activating insulin receptors.[v]”
- “Tinospora cordifolia stimulates insulin secretion, and reduces the formation of new glucose (gluconeogenesis) in the liver and reduces insulin resistance in muscle and fat cells. [vi]”
- “Neempan increases insulin sensitivity, and slows gastric emptying to decrease insulin demand.[vii]”
- “Fenugreek stimulates insulin synthesis and/or secretion from the pancreas.[viii]”
- “Amla fruit extracts stimulate insulin release in response to glucose. [ix]”
- “Swertia chirata stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas.[x]”
- “Picrorhiza kurroa promotes the regeneration of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, reduces insulin resistance and inhibits an enzyme (alpha-amylase) that breaks down dietary carbohydrates to release sugars.[xi]”
Advice for both healthcare professionals and patients
The Serious Alternative Health Expo – Get Well Show on the 21st – 23rd of February 2020 ( General Admission: £20, www.getwell.solutions). This is the first-ever show designed to offer alternative solutions to your average medication methods as doctors and therapists come together to share their methods for coping with chronic health problems, including diabetes. You will have the opportunity to meet and talk with pioneering practitioners and hear inspiring talks from therapists, experts and patients who have worked out their solutions.
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