T Nation

Energy - Diabetes + Low Carb

I’m having major energy issues. I was doing well on a very light workout plan, when I was moving. But when I try to ramp it up, I run into problems. I’ve added a kettlebell class, and it is killing me. No energy during class, despite fine bs reading. Major fatigue the next day. I hope to grapple soon, but there is no way if I can’t get energy under control.

To me, I tie it to a very low carb diet. I just can’t get enough glucose into the cells to sustain efforts imo. I’ve considered trying insulin with more carbs, but would am researching as much as possible before i do anything. My doc isn’t for it. More into moderate (imo giving up on life) exercise… I want to roll again, frankly, if it costs me a few years of life, thats something I’m willing to accept.

any help or links that could help is appreciated. I’ve searched and searched w/o any real success. There seem to be very few type 2 diabetics that are very active. I’m not overweight. It’s genetically strong in my family :frowning:

mrcat - I can certainly relate to your energy issues, although I have not been diagnosed with diabetes I have a hyperthyroid condition called Graves Disease and pre-diabetes (insulin resistance - see below) which has greatly impacted my energy and subsequently my ability with the weights and other physical exercise.

Your question is most likely beyond the scope of this forum - that is not to say there are not some folks out there who might be able to answer it, however this is a somewhat complicated issue as you are well aware.

In the course of researching my own health issues and having a wife who is a nutritionist I will share with you what I know - but YOU must do your own research on the subject and I will give you some sources to research afterwards.

At 50 years of age I am actually improving now again on all my lifts, experiencing better energy, sleeping better and have a much better outlook on life in general by paying attention to diet, efficacious use of supplements and finding the right balance in my exercise programs and lifestyle.

At the risk of oversimplifying: First of all you are Type 2 which means your pancreas is still producing insulin - that is good because you have a good chance of reversing it completely with the right dietary/exercise regimen. If your body is “insulin resistant” - this means that your pancreas releases insulin but the cells are resistant to utilizing it to absorb sugars and uptake nutrients into the cells - and therefore the low energy you are experiencing. There are natural products on the market can help address insulin resistance by increasing insuling sensitivity - “Insulow” is one that I have been using - (check out insulow.com for more info).

Just boosting your insulin along with carb intake is not necessarily going to address the issue - since your cells are de-sensitized to insulin. Type 2 diabetics basically need a high fiber diet (small amounts of beans, whole grains, psyillium husks, low glycemic vegetables) along with the appropriate amounts of protein and good fats at each meal for 3 “balanced” meals and two snacks per day - so as to keep your blood sugar from spiking, etc.

Patience is required as health problems don’t typically occur overnight but after many years of poor lifestyle (as in my case) - you should embark on a program to regain your health and expect that it could take a year or more to get back to feeling good. Approach this as seriously as you would your exercise program as it is at least as important.

I highly suggest Dr. Bernstein - he has a website as well as a book called “The Diabetes Solution” - in my opinion he is probably the foremost authority on diabetes and was a pioneer of the personal BS monitor. He can give you alot of insight in how to monitor your blood sugar and what foods to eat and when, etc.

In addition, Dr. Schwarzbein, an endocrinologist who explains how to get your endocrine system back in balance. She has a website, and also a good book “The Schwarzbein Principle”. If you read it you will understand how all the bodily systems work together and why you need to address your overall health and hormonal balance, not just diabetes alone, because diabetes may be only part of the picture for your low energy - for example you might be experiencing adrenal exhaustion which is difficult to diagnose but can be addressed and Schwarzbein explains it all in her book.

Just be aware, something you probably don’t really want to hear - you must regain your health before you will probably realize much success in your athletic endeavors - taking some time now to put things right will pay off big in the future in all ways - not just grappling or lifting weights. Any “shortcuts” you attempt might give some short-term progress, but will not necessarily continue. Work to find a balance in your exercise - don’t workout to failure or fatigue but only to the point of stimulation and always leave the gym feeling as if you could have done more. Rest alot and ensure sound sleep - don’t get caught up in the 24x7 world of the hurry/rush disease.

I hope this helps and feel free to PM me if you want.

For years I took a 1000 mg of magnesium & potassium in an asportate base for some years. During a recent change, I omitted this for about 2 weeks. My energy went really downhill. A few days ago I added the 1000 mag/potas/asportate base back into my supplements and the energy levels I think are comming back. I got the idea years ago from a Health & Healing newsletter by Dr Whitaker.

I walk a mile+ every morning, bicycle 30+ minutes 3 nights, and do light weightlifting 3 or 4 times a week.

Really hated to give up drinking, but then I discovered that when a diabetic drinks the liver processes the alcohol as opposed to other sugars in our system.

[quote]philipj wrote:
For years I took a 1000 mg of magnesium & potassium in an asportate base for some years. During a recent change, I omitted this for about 2 weeks. My energy went really downhill. A few days ago I added the 1000 mag/potas/asportate base back into my supplements and the energy levels I think are comming back. I got the idea years ago from a Health & Healing newsletter by Dr Whitaker.

I walk a mile+ every morning, bicycle 30+ minutes 3 nights, and do light weightlifting 3 or 4 times a week.

Really hated to give up drinking, but then I discovered that when a diabetic drinks the liver processes the alcohol as opposed to other sugars in our system. [/quote]

Good post philipj - Magnesium is a critical supplement as most of us just do not get enough from the foods we eat. I have added one or two caps before bedtime and have found it helps me sleep more soundly.

You workout program is a great example for a diabetic or even non-diabetic for that matter.

Great insight as to alcohol consumption especially for diabetics and I am glad you mentioned Dr. Whitaker - he is another who would be of value for mrcat’s research.

[quote]mrcat wrote:
No energy during class, despite fine bs reading.
[/quote]

What do you consider a “fine reading?” I am type 1 and I have very mixed feelings about what is ok and not ok when performing mentally or physically straining acts. Anywhere below 90 for me is where I start to lose my ability to focus and think clearly if I am doing strenuous activities. 70-90 is ok for watching tv, but not weight lifting or reading a scientific paper. However I have heard people say “well my fasting glucose is usually in the 60s” and they feel fine when doing so. This boggles me…

[quote]mrcat wrote:
To me, I tie it to a very low carb diet. I just can’t get enough glucose into the cells to sustain efforts imo. I’ve considered trying insulin with more carbs, but would am researching as much as possible before i do anything. My doc isn’t for it.
[/quote]

I don’t know you but I would say that the low carb diet could be hurting your energy levels. This is a very person-dependent situation though. Does your body produce any insulin at all? Have you done simple tests such as eat maybe 4 pieces of wheat bread (~60 carbs) and see how your BS reacts over the next 2 hours (test every 20 minutes or so) to assess your body’s natural ability to make insulin? Have you considered something like Baetta before insulin? I am working with GLP-1 derivatives in my research lab, Baetta is based on the GLP-1 hormone, and while we should have some better drug cantidates than Baetta that are based on GLP-1 (longer acting derivatives) in the coming months for clinical trial, Baetta currently might be your best option. If you haven’t been told about incretin hormone therapy, check out glucagon.com or search around the net, there is lots of info.

On a side note I have been unimpressed with many endocrine specialized doctors over the years. If you yourself are not a diabetic then I feel no matter how much patient interaction you have, you really can’t get a grip on the disease. There’s no better doctor for yourself than an “educated yourself.” So you might not want to put full faith in someone who can only run tests and suggest to you what has been suggested to him. Few doctors in this field these days work based on their own observations, it’s all heresay, which is not a good thing.

[quote]mrcat wrote:
More into moderate (imo giving up on life) exercise… I want to roll again, frankly, if it costs me a few years of life, thats something I’m willing to accept.
[/quote]

What does rolling mean? When I see that statement I think exctasy? Please clarify, I don’t understand. But irregardless if you are type 2, you need to be active. Sitting around will do nothing but make your condition worse, I cannot say anymore. The human body evolved as a tool and if you do not use it, it will rust up and be useless.

[quote]mrcat wrote:
There seem to be very few type 2 diabetics that are very active. I’m not overweight. It’s genetically strong in my family :([/quote]

Genetically strong in mine as well. My Grandpa just had both his lower legs amputated and has been battling various illnesses brought on by his personal decision to ignore his type 2 condition during his middle-aged years and just do whatever. He wasn’t overweight but wasn’t into physical fitness either and now it’s biting him in the ass. Fortunately he can pay for the expensive treatments he is requiring in his old age.

Hope that helps a bit, if you have questions just ask.

Thanks everyone!! I’m working extra hours for a few day, so will have to re-read and digest everything latter. Some brief answers to some questions…

Fine BS readings were 120, 123, 131. That’s what concerned me. If it would have been under 90, I’d figured that was the reason. Those # I think (???) would be high enough not be be the cause for energy issues. I have had lower #s and actually felt better,than at these reading, but it was more weight lifting and less cardio.

Rolling LOL, is another word for grappling, which is real similar to wrestling. Not partying…

I honestly have no clue on my body producing insulin. I assume it does, I was told I’m type 2. I’ve been only to a general doc. (I think internal or family, but I’m not sure his exact title.)

thanks everyone:) :slight_smile:

I am type II and pretty damn active.

I did well on The Zone for a while.

Not low carb - instead, low glycemic carbs + good fats + protein at every meal. 5 meals a day.

In fact I got off diabetes meds after being on it for a while.

Now I am doing Dr. Berardi’s stuff which is similar but more geared towards people who are active. I started with The Metabolic Advantage, which you can get at Amazon.com for around 16.00 – well worth reading.

--------NOW ANOTHER THING TO CONSIDER-------

How are your Testosterone levels?

Diabetes And Low Testosterone
The Two Go Hand In Hand, With Possibly Serious Consequences

(WebMD) A third of men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone levels, a new study suggests.

Testosterone helps men reduce body fat and improves the way their bodies handle insulin. So low testosterone levels may have serious consequences for men with diabetes, suggests Sandeep Dhindsa, MD, of State University of New York at Buffalo.

“We are describing a new complication of type 2 diabetes. We are saying that the largest group of people who have [low testosterone] are diabetics,” Dhindsa tells WebMD. “It means your pituitary gland, which controls all the other hormones in your body, is not working very well. We are talking about one-third of men with diabetes being at risk of high fat mass, low muscle mass, low bone density, depression, and erectile dysfunction.”

More at link – you might be suffering from this.

Here’s the ADAM prescreening test for low testosterone:

  1.  Have you experienced a decrease in your sex drive (libido)?
    

2. Do you lack energy?

  1. Have you lost height?
    

4. Has your strength and/or endurance decreased?

  1. Have you noticed yourself enjoying life less?
    
  2. Are you frequently sad or irritable?
    
  3. Are your erections less strong?
    

8. Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your athletic ability?

  1. Do you find yourself falling asleep after dinner?
    
  2. Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance?


Well I would go see a diabetes specialist before getting too worried. It sounds as if you are fairly healthy/active so your insulin production might not be too out of whack. And the BS readings sound ok which is a good indicator as well. I don’t know too much about type 2 and doctors, but there are probably some lab tests they can run to give you a good idea of what your body is doing.

There are other treatments I would pursure before wanting to take insulin with meals. Insulin is not forgiving, when you overdose it (which is very, very easy to do; I do it almost every day after 20+ years of use), you will not like the effects it has and thus it is not the best therapeutic option for a mild-type 2 case.