Stress and Diabetes Connection

June 26, 2018by Reena0

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Listen to Dr. Mowll reveal insights on how to prevent or reverse diabetes.

Dr. Brian Mowll is the founder and medical director of SweetLife® Diabetes Health Centers and serves clients worldwide as The Diabetes Coach™.  He is a master licensed diabetes educator (MLDE), CDE, and was one of the first doctors to be certified to practice functional medicine by the prestigious Institute for Functional Medicine. Since 1998, Dr. Mowll has been helping people with all forms of diabetes properly manage their complex health conditions.  Additionally, with type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, his goal is to not just manage but to reverse these conditions using a natural, personalized lifestyle approach.

Dr. Mowll has spent over 20 years studying and applying clinical nutrition, physical activity, lifestyle management, functional medicine, and diabetes self-management education.  He is the host of the popular “Diabetes Summit”, as well as a prolific writer, blogger, and speaker.

In addition, he has written hundreds of articles about diabetes and natural health and has been a featured speaker and contributor on diabetes.  Dr. Mowll treats clients locally in the greater Philadelphia area and nationally through his acclaimed Mastering Blood Sugar™ programs.


This is auto-generated and may have mistakes. Please listen to the interview for accuracy.

[00:01] REENA JADHAV: Hi guys its Reena Jadhav with the live longer podcast and health bootcamps here with Dr. Brian Mowll and you know today we are going to talk about stress and diabetes. Some of you have read my health pyramid-Reena’s health pyramid article on the bootcamps blog and you know my perspective, which is if you don’t fix the stress you don’t get yourself into a place calm frankly nothing else matters because everything is a layered cake and the base of the cake is how you feel. Dr. Mowll how far off the mark am I when it comes to managing diabetes. How important and contributing factor is stress?

[00:01] REENA JADHAV: Hi guys its Reena Jadhav with the live longer podcast and health bootcamps here with Dr. Brian Mowll and you know today we are going to talk about stress and diabetes. Some of you have read my health pyramid-Reena’s health pyramid article on the bootcamps blog and you know my perspective, which is if you don’t fix the stress you don’t get yourself into a place calm frankly nothing else matters because everything is a layered cake and the base of the cake is how you feel. Dr. Mowll how far off the mark am I when it comes to managing diabetes. How important and a contributing factor is stress?

[00:39] DR BRIAN MOWLL: I think it can be a very important contributing factor for many people. I think its one of the most overlooked causes for blood sugar problems for many people. I think we talk about the big 4 with our clients- which is diet, fitness and movement, sleep and stress. So stress is one of these pillars and it’s a major contributing factor to blood sugar problems and diabetes just as an example there is something called prednisone induced diabetes. Prednisone is a synthetic version of cortisol which is stress hormones so cortisol is known to raise blood sugar in like prednisone raises blood sugar very significantly so people who are prescribed prednisone for inflammatory conditions for example auto-immune diseases, infection, if they are on prednisone for a long period of time, a certain percentage of them will develop diabetes and I am not talking about just having high blood sugar, I am talking about they actually become diabetic. So this is an example of how stress hormone synthetic stress hormone in this case but it can happen naturally as well can drive blood sugar up and lead to diabetes. There is a lot of research on how stress can in fact affect diabetes. Mental and emotional stress, which is largely kind of what we are focused on in the pyramid that you created, is a major factor but I think we also have to go beyond that to physiological stressors as well things like chronic pain also chronic infections like lime disease, upstream boron virus, Candida, yeast overgrowth. These can also drive stress into the system, which can lead to blood sugar issues; hormone imbalances can do the same thing, gut dysbiosis, cyst gut problem as well so stress whether it comes from sort of physical physiological cause or a mental-emotional cause can basically drive blood sugar up and if that happens over a long enough period of time, which for most of us that could be a lifetime then it can be a major contributor and cause for diabetes. The other thing is if you already have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it becomes even more important that you are managing or balancing your stress so if in fact, you do have blood sugar issues then again now it becomes imperative that you keep yourself that you modulate your stress so you keep yourself as you said your pyramid of calm state. I think that calm is a really important place to start because every time you are stressed, every time you feel overwhelmed, every time you get out of balance its going to essentially elevate the stress hormones which raises your blood sugar making things much harder on yourself. I know we have a lot of tools, resources in the bootcamp up in our health bootcamp to address this and the reason we put them in there is because this is so important.

[03:58] REENA JADHAV: What is your favorite was to distress? What do you do?

[04:03] DR BRIAN MOWLL: Well it depends if I only have a few seconds or a few minutes, my favorite way is through breathe and I will give you an example of that in just a minute. If I have a little bit of time on my hands then I love to sit in meditation or go for a meditative walk. And so meditation of course takes on many forms, you can do sort of a guided meditation or visualization. You can just sit in silence and focus on breathe or get into sort of a deep meditative state, transcendental meditation or you can do something like a meditative walk which is talked about in many spiritual texts including the bible and talking about just going for a walk and meditating that means you are not out to exercise. It is really about stopping and smelling the roses or smelling the fresh air noticing things around you and increasing your mind fullness center awareness during that walk. So any type of meditation like that is really my favorite technique. If I only have a couple of minutes, I’m sitting in a stop light in the car or waiting for something or just before a phone call, I like to tap into my breathe and so I will just close my eyes and sometimes just focus on the breathe coming in and out of my body or sometimes I will do a count metered breathe where I do an inhalation for a count of four and then hold it then exhalation for a count of four sometimes called boxed breathing. And that type of breathe works sometimes I will just put my hands on my abdomen and focus on expanding the abdomen as I breathe in and relaxing the abdomen as I breathe out but some sort of breathe work like that and every once in a while if I am really frustrated or in the midst of a stress I love to do a sigh. So a sigh is that deep breathe in and then a verbal breathe out like a Arrgh… and that can be subtle or sometimes really loud if there is no one around and I really want to let out some frustration out and I think that’s a great way to release some of that internal stresses through sound and through noise and through your breathe.

[06:31] REENA JADHAV: Absolutely breathe work for me works like a miracle. I am just always amazed like sometimes I am just wired at night, its midnight but I am still wired and magnesium isn’t help because I am so excited about whatever interview  I am about to do or some book chapter I am writing, I will go into the breathe work and box breathing is great. What works really well for me is that I actually do you breathe in as deep and long as you can and you keep counting how long I am breathing in, you then pause for half of that time and then you breathe out longer than what you took the breathe in and then you pause again for half of whatever you took to breathe out. Sometimes I will go breathe in for about ten counts then I will pause for five then I will breathe out 20 counts and I will pause for 10 and I think literally 5 cycles and I am knocked out. So I think it’s just a matter of everyone figuring out for themselves but I agree with you Dr. Mowll breathing techniques absolutely work if you do them the right way. The other thing that I found out was stress is one of those things that’s such a loaded work now and you think you are only stressed when you are overly agitated but I did this test when I was growing up heart-break building monitor and I started to track and see that wait if I am actually arguing with someone, it creates stress in me like I can see my heart rate just racing and I am not feeling it but clearly my body is feeling it. So one of the things I recommend is journaling we have my heal journal which again you can click and get a digital copy for free in the bootcamp but journaling to say when do I feel like I am a little out of control. It could be because I am late to something that will give you a little bit of stress-heightened stress. Maybe I have something that I am not prepared for that will raise the stress so it’s interesting when I started journaling moments in my day that I wasn’t just fully happy that I was either worried or nervous or anxious or concerned or angry or whatever like any kind of an emotional that wasn’t yet un-calm. I realized my day was full of those and so I had to mindfully start cutting down like no I am not even going to argue that because I know what it is going to do to my heart rate and it is not just worth it or I am going to start leaving early so I am never ever late so my body is calm because I am going to be on time because I am going to be there five minutes early, so I do recommend journaling for those of you who are listening or trying to figure out how do I even know if I am stressed and what am I stressed. Just dig out your I-phone and open up the notes and start writing or as I mentioned my health journal. Wonderful health bootcamps check it out; beat diabetes bootcamp and we do offer a lot of such great tools that you can use for free in order to get your stress under control and make sure to tune in to the next set of questions and answers that Dr. Mowll is answering for you and if you have questions send them in so we can get those answers for you as well. We will see you on the next one.




Dr. Brian Mowll
PO Box 65, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Phone: 800-747-3270



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