Gestational Diabetes

What Causes Gestational Diabetes?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of gestational diabetes we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow gestational diabetes to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind gestational diabetes consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to gestational diabetes.  Here are six possibilities:
  • Magnesium Need
  • Chromium Deficiency
  • Vitamin B6 Need
  • Need For Exercise
  • Potassium Need
  • Gestational Diabetes Tendency

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
refined sugar consumption
low B6 levels
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
carpal tunnel syndrome
slight tongue soreness
history of adult acne
high added salt consumption
caffeinated soft drink consumption
high sensitivity to bright light
diuretic use
minor hallucinations
occasional confusion/disorientation
... and more than 20 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of gestational diabetes:
Cause Probability Status
Need For Exercise 94% Confirm
Vitamin B6 Need 71% Possible
Chromium Deficiency 27% Unlikely
Magnesium Need 0% Ruled out
Gestational Diabetes Tendency 0% Ruled out
Potassium Need 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having been pregnant but not now, being pregnant with first child or being pregnant again, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Did you ever experience Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Yes, marginally in one pregnancy
→ Yes, definitely in one pregnancy
→ Yes, in more than one pregnancy
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either not having had gestational diabetes or having had gestational diabetes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Aerobic Exercise Need

Exercising during pregnancy stimulates glucose transport and can help control gestational diabetes without the use of insulin.  Moderate workouts appear safe for most females with gestational diabetes. [The Physician and Sports Medicine, March, 1996;24(3): pp.54-66]

Chromium Deficiency

Impaired chromium utilization may be a cause of gestational diabetes.  By impairing pancreatic insulin production, chromium deficiency may increase the tendency towards hyperglycemia in gestational diabetes. [J Am Coll Nutr 15(1): pp.14-20, 1996]  Hair chromium concentrations were significantly lower in 68 samples taken from non-diabetic pregnant women than in 42 samples from gestational diabetics (472ng/gm versus 734ng/gm). [Am J Clin Nutr 55: pp.104-7, 1992]

Magnesium Requirement

By impairing pancreatic insulin production, magnesium deficiency may increase the tendency towards hyperglycemia in cases of gestational diabetes. [J Am Coll Nutr 15(1): pp.14-20, 1996]

Vitamin B6 Requirement

By impairing pancreatic insulin production, vitamin B6 deficiency may increase the tendency towards hyperglycemia in cases of gestational diabetes. [J Am Coll Nutr 15(1): pp.14-20, 1996]  Supplementation with vitamin B6 may be beneficial during this condition. [Editorial, Lancet: pp.788-9, 1976, J Optimal Nutr 2(4): pp.239-43, 1993]

In one study of 14 women with gestational diabetes, taking 100mg of vitamin B6 for 2 weeks resulted in eliminating this diagnosis in 12 of the 14 women.

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