Personal trainer exercise helps senior man

According to Health Canada in 2008/09, diabetes was affecting over 2.4 million Canadians, a 70% increase over 10 years earlier. Stepping forward to today, Diabetes Canada claims there are 11 million people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. With these statistics, it is most likely that one or several of your client/class participants have this condition.

‘The Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada on February 13, 2017 to shed light on the diabetes epidemic Canada is facing.’

The burden of diabetes is a serious one for your client. Aside from economic burden, the more serious is the implication of premature death. First, there are many complications associated with diabetes such as blindness and amputation, but the leading complication associated to the above mentioned is diabetic neuropathy.

What is diabetes and neuropathy? What are the two medical interventions being used to manage these? Let’s explore the answers to these questions along with some groundbreaking research regarding a nutraceutical intervention presented at the International Congress of Neuropathy (Toronto July 2016).

What is Diabetes?

The blood requires a certain amount of blood sugar or glucose. Our blood sugar goes up when we eat food. Insulin is responsible for bringing down our blood sugar to a normal range.

Diabetes is a diagnosed condition where blood sugar is too high, which is damaging to our body, hence the complications.

There are two common types of diabetes, Type 1 (juvenile) and Type 2 (adult onset). Type 1 is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. With Type 2, one has high blood sugar or the body cannot properly use the insulin.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that causes a person to experience pain similar to pins and needles. Most commonly, the pain occurs in the hands and feet, which would hinder your client’s fitness level.

The two key diabetic interventions are taking insulin pills/needles to manage the blood sugar levels, and taking pain medication, but this does not address the nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy.

Shining Research Results

In 2015, Toronto doctors began a diabetic neuropathy study using an Omega-3. They assumed since Omega-3 is a nutrient for every nerve, it may slow down the progression of nerve damage, therefore managing the associated pain.

The study measured the length of the nerve fibre in the eye, as it shortens over time in people with diabetes (leading to blindness), and is also used as a marker for future amputation.

After one year on 10 ml of Omega-3, the nerve fibre length increased on average 29% (Canadian Journal of Diabetes October 2016). This dramatically exceeded all of their expectations as the doctors only expected a 5% improvement. (Full report on

Their study concluded that the type of Omega-3 administered was in fact the contributor to the remarkable results. When comparing Omega-3 sources, there are multiple differences and two of the key differentiators are bio-availability and the processing.


The research results have provided a conclusive way to help others – a step forward. Nerves are important to your client’s health, including mental function, muscle activation, and much more.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are a must for anyone with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. If reversing the nerve damage is possible through supplementation, then even more is possible.

With the continued work of Diabetes Canada and our personal commitment, then perhaps one day diabetes will be eradicated.


Cheryl Millett, BSc ,is a consultant, Holistic Nutritionist, Founder of the Forest Hill Walk Club and Chapter President of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce, Toronto. Her specialty is diabetes, digestion and stress management. She spent fifteen years on the volunteer committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and one year on the Toronto Board before they restructured from JDF to JDRF.