Did you know that diabetes or high blood sugar is the most common non-communicable disease in the world? Did you know that India is the diabetic capital of the world?

These are startling facts, but diabetes is often born of a poor lifestyle and fortunately it can be prevented and even reversed.

The advent of refined and processed foods is the primary culprit disrupting our metabolic balance and increasing our blood insulin levels.

All of the cells in our body use sugar, fat, and amino acids to make energy. Insulin is the hormone whose job it is to help sugar get into the cell and thereby keep the blood sugar levels (outside the cell) in the healthy range. If blood sugar levels are chronically elevated, it can lead to many health complications, especially diabetes.

When insulin is high for too long, the cells stop listening to insulin signals. The cells therefore cannot utilise the insulin and it remains in the blood stream while blood glucose continues to rise. High blood glucose means that sugar is trying to get into the cells to make energy but insulin (the gatekeeper) is not allowing glucose to go inside. This condition is called, “Insulin Resistance”  — the cells are actually resisting the action of insulin.  A person with insulin resistance will have high blood sugar and high insulin. This is the major metabolic problem in a person with Type 2 Diabetes.

Insulin Resistance is one defining characteristic that describes patients with “Metabolic Syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. The following factors define a patient with metabolic syndrome:

When a person fits these criteria, his/her risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes increase. A person with metabolic syndrome has twice the risk of developing diabetes and five times the risk of developing heart disease than a person without metabolic syndrome.

Genetic factors and environmental factors determine whether a person will develop insulin resistance or diabetes. Since genetics cannot be changed, diet and exercise are the most powerful treatments for a person with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Clinicians often counsel patients to make dietary and lifestyle changes so their cells will permit glucose to enter.  Removing refined carbohydrates from the diet is very important. Avoid grains, flours, sweets, chips, cookies, cake, white rice, soda, potatoes, fruit juices, and other starchy foods or high glycemic fruits. Patients are encouraged to eat more meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Whole fruit is permitted in moderation. Daily exercise is also very important to help usher sugar efficiently into the cell.   These changes can enhance weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve energy levels. It helps lower blood sugar and insulin levels and reduces insulin resistance.

Specialized testing in Functional Medicine:

Genova Diagnostics offers a line of tests that can help determine if a person is pre-diabetic or at risk for cardiovascular disease. The PreD Guide and MetSyn guide are profiles designed to look at sugar and insulin levels, inflammatory markers, and other proteins involved in metabolism. The CardioION is a comprehensive nutritional and metabolic profile measuring amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, metabolic markers, and cardiovascular health markers. Finally, the CV Health plus Genomics is a profile that measures a variety of lipids and inflammatory markers as well as genetic markers that can predispose a person to developing cardiovascular disease.


PreD Guide measures stages of pre-diabetes and progression toward Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) using metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers. PreD Guide focuses on the importance of early assessment and correction of risk factors.

This diagnostic tool utilizes a combination of inflammatory and metabolic biomarkers to provide an early assessment of a patient’s path towards diabetes – and guide targeted therapies. Obesity is not the only characteristic of a person with insulin resistance. There are many people who have normal body weight who are pre-diabetic. Testing can help reveal these metabolic problems so that diabetes can be avoided.

The interplay of these biomarkers is illustrated across the stages of pre-diabetes, and results in stage-specific therapeutic interventions.

The PreD Guide gives clinicians the ability to evaluate where the patient falls amid stages of pre-diabetes, determine the impact of inflammation, and individualize treatment. This clinical tool ensures, as the CDC notes, that “progression to diabetes among those with pre-diabetes is not inevitable.”

Click here for a sample report.

Identifying the Underlying Driver: Inflammation

Research suggests that inflammation precedes and accelerates the progression to diabetes. Five different biomarkers provide an assessment of the patient’s unique expression of inflammation. Given the complex manner in which they interact, a synthesized average Inflammation Score is provided to indicate severity of the degree of inflammation present.

The MetSyn Guide is very similar to preD Guide but in addition it measures total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides. Moving beyond BMI, the MetSyn Guide assists clinicians in identifying patients who are developing insulin resistance and who are at risk for pre-diabetes. Advanced lipid markers are added to highlight the changes in lipid metabolism that occur in insulin resistance.