Category Archives: diabetes
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1967, yet I have very mixed emotions about how this month is handled. I grow weary of the constant stream of negativity shared related to all forms of diabetes. The standard message shared contains words such as, “devastating,” “deadly,” “stressful,” “all consuming,” “terrifying,” etc.
I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes almost 50 years. None of those words or phrases applies to my life. Never has. Never will. Please know I’m not passing judgment on the views that are shared. I’m simply stating that those views are not a version of my truth. My heart breaks for those for whom it is true.
Based on the negative perspective I see shared so often during National Diabetes Awareness Month, I decided to share my personal tips for avoiding the potential stressors related to diabetes. My hope is that these tips will help you find joy and maintain peace in your journey with diabetes.
Here are my tips for maintaining sanity and finding joy while living with any form of diabetes:
- Work through the anger and let it go: It is perfectly normal to be angry about having diabetes. Did you hear that? Completely, totally normal. Being angry is a standard part of the grieving process that follows diagnosis. Problems result when the anger becomes all-consuming and/or doesn’t dissipate with time. I experienced a lot of anger as a result of having diabetes. I didn’t start working through that anger until about 20 years after my diagnosis. The result of facing and working through the anger was profound. Getting rid of the negativity and learning to find joy in the daily trials of diabetes changed my life. Releasing the anger enabled me to let go of lots of negative junk that kept interfering with my ability to live abundantly. It also helped me finally accept the diagnosis instead of constantly railing against it. My health in general improved as a result. My clients with diabetes often find that emotional release work enables them to lower their A1Cs and feel better in general.
- Stop expecting perfectly normal blood sugars: We all know how important it is to maintain blood sugars that are as close to “normal” as possible; however, you will never know peace if you become frustrated and upset each time your sugars stray outside of the normal range. I get that it can be frustrating to do everything right and have your blood sugar dip or spike for no apparent reason. Part of living with diabetes includes accepting that our bodies will rarely do what the text books say they should. Learn from the unexpected lows and highs and move on.
- Decide and choose to live abundantly: Many people receive the diabetes diagnosis and instantly decide their life is ruined. That may partially be because ignorant medical professionals often tell newly diagnosed diabetics their lives are over and they will never be healthy again. That is not true. Living joyfully and maintaining peace with diabetes requires that we maintain a positive, hopeful attitude. Living with diabetes can indeed be stressful at times. Choosing to keep a good attitude and maintain a positive perspective on life makes a huge difference in how we function on a daily basis.
- Don’t let diabetes become your identity: You are an amazing person with the capacity to live an amazing life. The fact you have some form of diabetes is absolutely irrelevant to who you are as a person. I meet many people whose entire identity is based on the fact they have diabetes. Everything in their life revolves around and is limited by a diagnosis. It doesn’t have to be that way. Having diabetes does not need to and should not affect every aspect of your life. Learning to control diabetes instead of letting it control you is key to maintaining joy and peace in the midst of the potential challenges. Living joyfully is a choice, plain and simple. You can choose to let diabetes control every facet of your life, or you can choose to live your life abundantly and make diabetes a very small part of who you are. It is possible to live that way and maintain good control. I promise.
- Learn to laugh at your frustrations: Many aspects of diabetes are hilarious, but it takes a special person to learn to laugh at their frustrations. Commit to finding humor in the myriad of situations that can pop up while living with diabetes. Your entire perspective will change. You may also find people enjoy being around you more.
- Take time to count your blessings every single day: I realize that advice is given far too often and may sound a bit cliche. In spite of that, taking time each day to remind yourself how incredibly blessed you are truly helps you live with joy. Focusing on our blessings instead of our challenges helps transform our perspective, attitude and outlook. Don’t believe me? Try it.
- Take time to help and encourage others: It doesn’t make much sense, but taking time to help and encourage others is a great way of lifting ourselves up. Taking our focus off of our own problems and making an effort to encourage and help someone else automatically makes us feel better. It works every single time. As a wise man once said, “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
- Stop expecting the worst: I work with a lot of people with diabetes who assume blindness, amputations, heart disease, and other complications are inevitable. That is NOT true. Complications are possible, not definite. I find that people who expect to have complications wind up having them, while those who assume everything will be fine have far fewer. Our body has a funny way of listening to what we tell it. Assuming complications are inevitable and living our life waiting for them to happen increases the likelihood they will. I’ve seen that play out in people’s lives over and over again. After almost 50 years with Type 1 Diabetes, I don’t have any complications. It is possible.
- Celebrate and acknowledge your accomplishments: Living with diabetes can be a challenge. Take time to celebrate your accomplishments! Celebrate and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you do that you thought might be impossible due to diabetes. Also take time to celebrate accomplishments other people foolishly said you couldn’t achieve. Short of a few legalities, there is nothing you can’t accomplish with diabetes. Travel across Europe by yourself? Got your motorcycle license? Worked a 15-hour shift with no highs or lows? Celebrate the heck out of that! Make a list of non-food rewards and reward yourself for every accomplishment you achieve.
- Consider what you wouldn’t have without diabetes: Most of us can admit there are aspects of our personal development and life we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t been diagnosed with diabetes. Many of us eat healthier, exercise, and take better care of ourselves as a result of the diagnosis. Some of us have increased self confidence as a result of defeating the challenges of diabetes. Most of us have wonderful people in our lives we would never have met if we didn’t have diabetes.Take time to honestly assess the good things you’ve become or received as a result of living with diabetes. Remind yourself of those benefits when you’re tempted to get frustrated..
And one final word of advice:
- If you need help, ask for it: Depression is more common in folks who have diabetes than those who don’t. If you find you are having trouble coping or have sunk into a “funk” you can’t lift yourself out of, please seek professional help. There is no shame in that. Blood sugars directly affect brain chemistry. Depression is not something you can simply think your way out of. Counseling, a support group, or medication may be necessary. Accept that and get the help you need.
You are amazing. I know living with any form of diabetes can be challenging. If we choose to rise above those challenges and live abundantly, nothing can stop us. Go live abundantly!
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1967. Since then, I have dedicated my life to researching Type 1 diabetes and to helping people with any form of diabetes maintain better control. I suffered from insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes (after diagnosis) until I committed myself to improving my insulin sensitivity.
Many people have fallen prey to the myth that people with Type 1 diabetes cannot have insulin resistance. This is absolutely not true. It is very common for people with Type 1 diabetes to also have insulin resistance. Carla Greenbaum, MD, who is a Member of the Benaroya Research Institute and serves as Director of the Diabetes Research Program and the BRI Clinical Research Center(1), has conducted multiple studies related to insulin resistance in people with Type 1 diabetes. An abstract from one of those studies states: “Insulin resistance plays a larger role in the type 1 diabetes disease process than is commonly recognized.”(2) It is estimated that one in three people with Type 1 diabetes also has insulin resistance.(3) One study estimated that 25.8 million people in the US have Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance; and that insulin resistance plays a large contributing role in the complications associated with Type 1 diabetes.(4) The phenomenon of people having both Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance is sometimes referred to as “double diabetes” or “Type 1.5 diabetes.”
Sadly, many people with Type 1 diabetes do not believe it’s possible for them to have insulin resistance. This lack of knowledge and refusal to accept the truth can greatly inhibit their ability to control their blood sugars. Their lack of knowledge stems from the insistence that Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes have nothing in common. Although the causes of each type of diabetes are different, Type 1 and Type 2 have more in common than many people realize.
Before I go further, let’s review the three basic types of diabetes. There are others, but these are the most common:
Type 1 Diabetes: An autoimmune condition characterized by insufficient insulin production due to the body attacking the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as “juvenile onset diabetes” or “insulin dependent diabetes.” Neither of those terms is accurate in today’s world where adults are often diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and where people with Type 2 diabetes often require insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
Type 2 Diabetes: A chronic condition characterized by the body’s inability to properly use insulin. The body’s inability to correctly absorb and use insulin results in high blood sugars and many of the same side effects as Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has many other names, most of which are outdated and inaccurate.
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA): A slowly progressing form of diabetes in which the beta cells in the pancreas are slowly destroyed due to an autoimmune attack. Destruction of the pancreatic cells usually occurs much more slowly than it does in Type 1 diabetes, with the patient often not needing insulin for months or even years. Type 1 diabetes and LADA are very similar and have very similar control protocols once someone with LADA progresses to the point of needing insulin.
It is very true that insulin resistance is a characteristic of Type 2 diabetes, but it is also a characteristic of Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance before they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes; people with Type 1 diabetes usually develop insulin resistance after they develop Type 1 diabetes. Insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes is very common, but there are ways to reduce its effects.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes
The following symptoms may indicate insulin resistance in someone with Type 1 diabetes:
- Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain not associated with an increase in food or decrease in exercise
- Needing increasing amounts of insulin to maintain normal glucose levels
- Elevated liver enzymes: High insulin levels are known to impair the liver’s ability to metabolize glucose, which may result in elevated liver enzymes in blood work.(4)
- Coronary artery disease
It is somewhat interesting that many of the complications we associate with Type 1 diabetes may actually be caused by excessive use of insulin. Maintaining blood sugars as close to normal as possible is imperative, but there are things we can do to help reduce our need for insulin. My goal in my own control and when I work with clients who have Type 1 diabetes is to improve health by living a lifestyle that improves glucose control, lowers A1C levels, and requires less insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
Potential Causes of Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes
The following reasons explain why people with Type 1 may develop insulin resistance:
- Stress and illness: Stress and illness can cause temporary insulin resistance in anyone, but the effects may be much more noticeable in a person who has Type 1 diabetes and is checking blood sugars frequently. This is one of several reasons people with Type 1 diabetes typically need significantly more insulin during times of illness or stress.
- Large insulin requirements: A healthy pancreas produces 20-25 units of insulin each day. Many people who are clients of mine were taking 100-300 units of insulin daily when they first came to see me. I was taking more than 100 units of insulin daily when I began making lifestyle changes to control my blood sugars better. I now take 20-25 units of insulin daily and maintain A1Cs below 6.0. The high amounts of insulin my clients took were required to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. The problem is that high insulin usage can have many negative side effects and can cause the body to become “overwhelmed” with insulin and stop absorbing it properly. This results in insulin resistance. Sadly, insulin resistance is very common in people with Type 1 diabetes. For more information in insulin, please read: Surprising Facts About Insulin. The challenge is that maintaining normal blood glucose levels is essential, even if it requires large amounts of insulin. I’ll share more about effectively addressing that challenge later in this post.
- Ethnicity: People with Type 1 diabetes who are African American, Eskimo, Asian or Hispanic typically have higher rates of insulin resistance than Caucasians with Type 1 diabetes. This is why people of the above ethnicities often require much higher amounts of insulin.
- High levels of insulin-binding antibodies: It is common for people with Type 1 diabetes to have higher levels of insulin-binding antibodies than people who do not have any form of diabetes. (Insulin-binding antibodies are not the same antibodies that attack the beta cells in the pancreas.) Insulin-binding antibodies prevent the body from absorbing insulin and/or neutralize the insulin. This causes people with extremely high levels to require more insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Amounts of insulin-bining antibodies vary greatly from person to person. More research is being done about how to control these antibodies.(3)
- Obesity: It is a well-known fact that obesity reduces insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately, insulin is a hormone that stimulates the body to store fat, so people with diabetes who are on large amounts of insulin often find it very difficult to lose weight.
Potential Ways to Reduce Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes
Although insulin resistance can make it very difficult to control Type 1 diabetes, there are certain lifestyle habits that can greatly improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 1 diabetes. Those habits include:
- Reducing carbohydrate consumption and eating mostly low-glycemic carbohydrates: Reducing the amount of insulin the body needs is a first step to helping cells “reset” and restore insulin sensitivity.
- Exercise: As little as ten minutes of exercise improves insulin sensitivity for up to six hours. One study found that people who engaged in exercise and who followed a low-glycemic eating style had improved insulin sensitivity within just a week. Heavy weight lifting can improve insulin sensitivity for up to 48 hours. I engage in aerobic exercise and heavy weight lifting at least three times a week. If you are not currently exercising, start out slowly and increase your activity very gradually.
- Limited use of supplements: There are some supplements known to improve insulin sensitivity. I am not mentioning then here because they should be used with caution and because each person’s personal physiology needs to be considered when selecting an appropriate supplement. There’s nothing healthy about taking handfuls of pills every day, so I am very cautious when recommending supplements and rarely recommend more then two. I’ve seen A1C levels drop in some clients by as much as 30% after the addition of a single supplement, even if the client refused to make dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Working closely with your physician or endocrinologist: As lifestyle and dietary changes are made, it is imperative to work very closely with one’s physician and to monitor blood sugars very closely so insulin dosages can be adjusted as needed.
- Medication: Although it’s not my first choice, some people with Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance find that using medication such as Metformin helps them maintain normal glucose levels. Some also find a short trial of Metformin helps them lose enough weight that their physician can then very slowly wean them off of their Metformin dose.
There are no “easy fixes” for insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes, but a combination of dietary and llfestyle changes can help. I know, because I’ve been able to reduce my insulin resistance and improve my health dramatically using a variety of small changes. After almost 50 years with Type 1 diabetes, I have no complications and live abundantly with ample energy. It is possible!
(2) Diabetes Metabolic Research Review. 2002 May-Jun;18(3):192-200.
(3) Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1985 Apr 12;97(8):359-63
(4) The Interplay of Autoimmunity and Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes, Nokoff, Rewers, Cee Green; University of Colorado School of Medicine, 2/14/2012
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1967. Back then, there was no such thing as disposable syringes, glucose meters or sensible eating plans. Instead, syringes were glass, had to be boiled after each use, and were then re-used. That cycle continued until the needle became too dull to be efficient. (Discovering the needle was too dull was no fun. Injections with dull needles hurt.) It was impossible to test daily blood sugars at home, so doctors ordered morning and afternoon blood sugars for patients every three months. If patients were unlucky enough to wind up in the hospital, blood was drawn every three hours so blood sugars could be closely monitored. Many phlebotomists assume I’m a former heroin addict because my veins are so scarred from those frequent blood draws. Urine was tested for glucose instead of blood. The standard eating style prescribed to diabetics was to strictly avoid sugar, but very little attention was paid to the fact simple carbohydrates had the same effect.
I am incredibly thankful to have lived through what could be considered the “stone age” of diabetes control. I am blessed to now live in a time when research has found a multitude of ways to simplify controlling glucose levels.
In 1967, standard treatment included one daily insulin injection with a blend of fast and slow-acting insulin. Dietary control involved avoiding all sugar. Urine tests were done up to three times daily to estimate glucose levels. Urine was tested with a Clinistix Test Kit that used urine and a tablet containing chemicals that reacted with glucose. The Clinistix reaction was performed by adding a few drops of urine and water to a test tube and then adding the reagent tablet. The blend would fizz and get very hot. When the reaction was over, the color of the end product was an indicator of the amount of glucose in the urine. Blue meant there was no glucose present; orange meant there were high quantities.
In my case, my parents were told to give me one sugar cube each time my urine test was negative. As a kid who had always been told sugar was forbidden, achieving negative test results was a strong incentive … to lie. I wasn’t usually a dishonest child, but that sugar cube was enough to push me over the edge. At that point, no one had ever truly explained how what I ate affected my glucose levels. I knew eating sugar caused them to rise, but no one had explained that breads, pastas and similar carbohydrates also did. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time with extremely high glucose levels. According to my mom, my body had become so accustomed to high blood sugars that I actually felt better when my sugars ran in the 300s. (Normal is 80-120.) I’ve spoken with other people with diabetes who experienced the same thing.
One of my biggest blessings is that my parents never made a big deal out of the fact I had diabetes. They never said I couldn’t participate in any activity due to having it, and they never played the “woe is me” card. Diabetes was simply a part of every day life. The fact my life was a little different from other people’s was irrelevant. That attitude stuck with me and served me well. Nothing breaks my heart more than speaking with a newly-diagnosed diabetic who is convinced they can never lead a normal life. My goal is to teach people how to control diabetes instead of letting diabetes control them.
When I was in second grade, I began vomiting one morning. My mother figured it was the flu and began giving me sips of 7-Up to calm my stomach. By the time my dad came home from work, I had deteriorated to the point my parents decided to take me to the hospital. My sister was just a few days old, so my poor mother went from bringing a new baby home to having a child in the hospital before she had fully recovered from giving birth. In the emergency room, I was on the verge of a coma and was so dehydrated they were unable to start an IV in my arm or hand. They wound up having to use a scalpel to access a vein to start an IV in my ankle. Did I mention they didn’t use any numbing agents? I don’t think they realized I was still conscious, and it was an emergency situation. I have no memory of the days that followed. I was incoherent and my body was trying desperately to heal itself. During that time, I was assigned an amazing endocrinologist, Dr. Paul Boyce, whose amazing compassion and skill changed my life.
He was a firm believer in patient-led control, so I attended the hospital’s diabetes classes with my mother. The fact I was eight did not stop me from learning a lot. I also began giving my own insulin injections, which was very empowering. At the time, Dr. Boyce was using an eating plan that required every gram of carbohydrates, fats and protein to be calculated for each meal. I was given a specific allotment of each per meal and my mother was given a technique for figuring my totals. We began having to weigh everything I ate. We had a box of index cards where my mother stored a collection of meal plans that could be used again and again. The entire program was tedious and bothersome. I was thrilled when that eating style became outdated and the exchange system began being used.
During this time, I was still required to test my urine multiple times daily. I was supposed to test as soon as I woke up and before dinner at a minimum. My biggest act of adolescent rebellion was refusing to test. Having to urinate into a container and conduct the test was not something I enjoyed. The anger I felt about having diabetes also began to manifest in larger ways. Refusing to do urine testing was one way I compensated for feelings of helplessness caused by having diabetes. I wound up missing out on many fun activities because my parents thought not allowing me to participate would be an incentive to comply. They were wrong. Everyone with diabetes experiences grieving and anger about their condition. It is a normal part of life with diabetes. I now counsel many parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes about how they can help their child cope. I was in my early twenties before anyone encouraged me to work through my own anger. It was a long process and I still have times I have to work through anger, inferiority and other feelings associated with having diabetes.
Life continued, I attended college, worked, lived in Mexico and Costa Rica, married, and always lived life to the fullest. In the early 90s, portable glucose monitors became readily available and the ability to control blood sugars reached a new level. My entire care program changed as the result of using a glucose monitor. I was switched to taking 2-3 injections daily and the amount of insulin I took changed depending on how high or low my blood sugar was. I was also able to check for low glucose levels much more easily. Carrying my glucose meter, insulin and syringes with me at all times became my new normal. It was wonderful! As a result of having a glucose meter, both of my pregnancies were relatively normal and my children did not experience gross complications from having a mom with diabetes. (My daughter spent two weeks in neonatal intensive care due to physician error, but that’s another story for another day.)
Currently, I have no complications from diabetes and live an abundant life. I travel frequently, ride a motorcycle (as the driver, never a passenger), am very active. Having diabetes never stops me from doing anything. I am immensely grateful for that.
Diabetes care has become a specialty of my practice. I will soon offer a course on using natural methods to control diabetes. Please visit Victory in Diabetes to learn more about this class. I am offering it as an on-site seminar and as a webinar, so anyone in any location can attend.
Gastroparesis is a condition that causes food to empty too slowly from the stomach. When digestion is normal, food remains in the stomach for approximately 2-3 hours before moving into the small intestine. (High fiber foods may remain much longer and take significantly longer to digest.) Gastroparesis delays the normal emptying of the stomach because the muscles in the stomach fail to correctly transport food into the small intestine.
Gastroparesis is a very uncomfortable condition. It can interfere with nutrient absorption and definitely affects quality of life. Unfortunately, Gastroparesis is becoming more common as the incidence of diabetes and degenerative neurological disease increases. In my practice, I have many clients who deal with Gastroparesis on a daily basis.
Causes of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis can happen when nerves associated with the stomach are damaged or don’t work as they should. The most common causes of Gastroparesis include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Auto-immune disorders
- Inflammatory conditions (such as pancreatitis) that interfere with the delivery of nerve messages to the stomach
- Anorexia and/or bulimia
- Heavy cigarette smoking
- Idiopathic (unknown)
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis may cause one or more of the following symptoms. These symptoms may occur continually but typically intensify in the hours following a meal:
- Feeling full after eating just a few bites of food
- Stomach pain, either vague or intense
- Belching and hiccuping
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
There is no known cure for Gastroparesis. The most commonly used approaches to address or diminish the symptoms may include:
- Eating much smaller meals more frequently
- Blending foods in a blender and switching to much softer foods
- Using ginger or other digestive aids
- Using homeopathic remedies known to diminish symptoms and improve digestion
- Using liquid meal replacements to boost nutrition
- Strictly limiting fiber consumption and avoiding certain foods known to cause problems
- In my practice, I usually recommend the use of supplements known to improve nerve function and slow nerve deterioration
Prescription medications may also be used to diminish the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Many of the most commonly used prescription medications lose effectiveness with continued use and/or have severe side effects.
If muscle and nerve deterioration continues and symptoms worsen, Gastroparesis may also be treated with a device called a Gastric Pacemaker. A Gastric Pacemaker uses electrical stimulation to reduce symptoms. Extreme cases of Gastroparesis are treated with a feeding tube.
Gastroparesis may affect quality of life in horrendous ways. Those who experience it may become weak and malnourished. Some come to dread eating due to the pain and discomfort it can cause. Depression is a very common side effect of Gastroparesis. Many people are able to rise above the symptoms by making lifestyle changes and committing to remaining positive.
Are you affected by Gastroparesis? What techniques do you use to improve your quality of life?
Photo courtesy of Peter Gerdes
I recently promised to share more case studies so you could gain a better grasp of what I do on a daily basis and the types of cases I handle. Please note I have permission to share this information, will never use the person’s real name and may change minor details of the case to protect the client’s identity.
This case study is about “Eleanor,” a woman in her 50’s who came to see me because she wanted to lose weight and was trying to reverse Type 2 Diabetes. She was on Metformin, a nasal inhaler, two different allergy medications, asthma medication, high blood pressure medicine, a statin drug, Levothyroxine and Nexium. During her initial consultation, she casually mentioned she had constant post nasal drip with a cough and had to clear her throat constantly. She said this had begun over 20 years ago and nothing had worked to eliminate it. She had grown so used to this she didn’t even consider it a problem. I thought it was a significant issue we needed to address. Eleanor also shared she was exhausted and was often too tired to participate in social activities she was invited to attend.
As I reviewed Eleanor’s medical history and eating habits, I noticed she ate a large amount of carbohydrates and had bread or crackers with every meal and snack. The fact she was eating so much wheat made me suspect she had developed an allergy to it. A further review of her physical symptoms and a check of her allergy point with the EDS unit confirmed this. “EDS” stands for “Electro Dermal Scan” unit. It is a unit I use to check nerve centers associated with body systems and health conditions. Eleanor’s allergy point scored extremely high, meaning there was a large probability she had one or more allergies. Using a piece of bread, I was able to identify that wheat was a likely culprit.
I made the following recommendations:
- I recommended that Eleanor eliminate wheat for three weeks. I encouraged her to keep a diary during those three weeks to record any changes she experienced physically, mentally or emotionally.
- I recommended a revised eating plan known to help reverse insulin resistance.
- I encouraged her to engage in some form of movement ten minutes each day.
- I recommended three supplements known to help insulin resistance, thyroid function and systemic inflammation
At Eleanor’s next visit, she burst into my office grinning from ear-to-ear. She was visibly more energetic, happier and her skin looked better. When I asked her to share what changes she had seen, she said her cough and need to clear her throat had completely disappeared. After 20 years, she was finally able to sit through a movie without embarrassment, sleep soundly and leave home without tissues. She went on to say her energy levels had improved and she had lost ten pounds. Not bad!
After six months, Eleanor had lost 30 pounds, was off the Metformin, the statin drug, all allergy medications, the inhaler, Nexium, the asthma medication, and her blood pressure medication. In addition, she was on a lower dose of her thyroid medication, Levothyroxine. She had gone from taking nine daily prescription medications to only taking one. She said she no longer turns down social invitations, got a raise at work because her productivity improved dramatically, and she was training to run a mini-marathon. She thanked me profusely, but she gets all the credit. She recognized she needed to make changes and she committed to making them. I am so proud of her!
Currently, I meet with Eleanor via telephone about once a year. She is truly a different woman from the one who first walked into my office. Stories of transformation and progress such as hers are why I do what I do. How can I help you? Please contact me if you would like to schedule a consultation.
Last week I participated in an online diabetes discussion and was accused of not having diabetes. Since I’ve had Type 1 diabetes since 1967, this accusation surprised me. The reason for the accusation? Among other things, this person said it was “obvious” I don’t have diabetes because I don’t mention it in any of my social media profiles and do not talk about it constantly. As a result of this, I began reviewing profiles of people I know have diabetes. Out of over forty profiles, I was the only one who does not mention having diabetes in the first 30 characters of the profile. For people who are diabetes advocates or who work in the diabetes industry, that’s fine. For anyone else, I find it heartbreaking.
Why heartbreaking? Because these people have made diabetes the sole focus of their journey. Instead of viewing diabetes as a challenge that is a secondary part of their life, they view it as the primary matter that defines their existence. I find this heartbreaking! Yes, diabetes is a serious disease; and yes, it requires constant vigilance, but it should never become the factor that defines how a person views him or herself. In fairness, there are many medical conditions which people allow to become their identity instead of being a tiny part of their life. This phenomenon is not limited to diabetes, but seems to be exceptionally common in people with diabetes.
Sadly, this has become very common. Medical professionals often encourage patients to become victims and tell the newly-diagnosed that their disease must become the focus of all their attention. They also often tell patients that diabetes will impair their quality of life and eventually kill them. I consider this the worst form of malpractice. Patients need to be educated about their diagnosis and need to be told about its seriousness, but they should never be convinced they must become invalids who cannot live normal lives. They must be encouraged and trained to control diabetes instead of letting diabetes control them. Diabetes is a fickle condition that doesn’t always obey the rules and rarely does what the textbook says it should. It can be frustrating, but should never become all-consuming. In my case, I have never and will never allow diabetes to prevent me from doing something I wish to. I maintain normal glucose levels by eating a unique diet, exercising and using insulin. (For those who are familiar with diabetes control, my A1Cs run under 6.0. I intend to keep them in the normal level.) I’m not non-compliant and I certainly don’t ignore the fact I have diabetes, but I don’t let it control my life, either. I control it and I’ve learned to deal with unexpected occurrences with humor and acceptance.
It drives me crazy to constantly see diabetes “support” organizations make statements such as, “Having diabetes is hard,” or “Diabetes is a constant stressor.” (Those are direct quotes taken from national diabetes support groups with online channels.) Having diabetes is only hard or stressful if you choose to view it as such. Diabetes is a serious disease, but it should NEVER become such a large focus of someone’s life that they cease to live normally. I talk to many people who tell me they “can’t” do things because of diabetes. My consistent response to that is, “Why the heck not?!” Having diabetes can be challenging, but shouldn’t be limiting. There is absolutely no reason people with diabetes cannot live full, abundant lives. People who control diabetes instead of allowing it to control them feel free to travel, participate in sports, ride motorcycles, stay active, and enjoy every minute of their life. (For more info on having diabetes and riding motorcycles, please see Diabetes and the Art of Motorcycle Riding.)
Here are my top ten ways to live abundantly with diabetes:
- Do what you know you need to. In other words, stay compliant and follow the rules. Ignoring your condition will only lead to problems.
- Learn to laugh about it. Let’s face it, blood sugars are affected by so many different factors they sometimes don’t do what they should. Learn from every unexpected occurrence, but keep a sense of humor about the developments.
- Plan ahead, but be prepared for the unplanned. Always carry a fast-acting source of glucose and your blood sugar meter. If an unusual situation develops, test glucose levels more frequently.
- Get support. By “support,” I don’t mean someone who will let you whine. I mean find people who will listen and provide encouragement, but who are not afraid to hold you accountable if you start holding pity parties. I also give you permission to tell people to stop telling you what to do and to stop asking, “Are you sure you should do/eat that?” Educate those folks, set firm boundaries, and then move on if they continue trying to be the “diabetes police.”
- Let the grieving end. Every person with diabetes goes through a period of grieving. Unfortunately, many folks with diabetes get stuck in the “anger” stage of grieving. As a result, they are constantly angry about everything related to diabetes. Do whatever is needed to release your anger and bitterness so you can start living abundantly and enjoying your life. If needed, seek professional counseling. This is especially true if depression is starting to limit your ability to live a normal life. (And … YES … people with diabetes can live normal lives.)
- Stop talking about it constantly. It isn’t necessary to tell every new acquaintance you have diabetes. Try focusing on other conversation topics. You will probably find your circle of friends widens and you start receiving more social invitations.
- Hold yourself accountable. At the end of every day, take a personal inventory of what your thoughts focused on the most during the day. If diabetes consistently wins the prize, it’s time to start focusing on other things.
- Find a doctor who views you as part of the team and who allows you to control things without constant supervision. Many doctors are horrified if patients change their insulin dose or dietary plan, yet most people with diabetes have to do so to maintain control. Find a doc who recognizes you know more about controlling your glucose levels than s/he does and who welcomes your involvement in making changes.
- Cut yourself some slack. Even those of us who do “everything right” sometimes experience unusual highs or lows in glucose levels. Don’t blame yourself and don’t assume that every unusual occurrence was caused by you. Review what happened prior to the high or low and then think about anything you could have done to change it. Let the unexpected become learning situations. Also recognize that unusual fluctuations may occur which cannot be attached to a specific cause. Accept it, learn from it and move on.
- Stop limiting yourself! Make a list of five things you think you “can’t” do because you have diabetes. Now create a schedule of ways you can gently attempt each of those things. Don’t try to go from zero to sixty overnight. Venture into the new activity in small doses. (Limit the list to legal things, please. In the US, diabetics cannot be astronauts, scuba dive, hold a pilot’s license, be police officers in some states or drive passenger vehicles. Set your sights on legal activities which are similar.) Evaluate things you’ve been told you should “never” do to see if it makes sense to not do it. Were you told you should never get a pedicure? Think about potential risks and then devise a work-around, such as taking your own tools. For the record, I think there are a variety of common activities diabetics are often warned against that make no sense at all. If you want to get a piercing or tattoo, wear open-toed shoes, have a body part waxed, etc., consider the risks and take proper precautions.
How ’bout you? Is diabetes your identity or a tiny part of what defines you?
Note: I know many people will respond negatively to this post. This is purely my opinion. Please keep your comments balanced and kind.
I recently heard an extremely ill woman comment she couldn’t figure out why she was so sick. She went on to say she had gotten a flu shot, and obviously believed that should have protected her. My research has led me to conclude otherwise. I need to confess this article is extremely long. I felt the importance of the information warranted a longer format.
I want to state very clearly that getting vaccinated is a very personal choice. I support everyone who chooses to get the vaccination, and encourage those who are undecided to do further research. I am not “anti-vaccine,” I am simply pro-research.
I am one of the people mainstream medicine insists “must” have a flu shot. I’m considered “high risk” because I have Type 1 Diabetes and have multiple other auto-immune conditions. I do not get flu shots and never get sick. In fact, I spent the last five years working in environments where I was exposed every day to multiple people who had active flu infections. In spite of that, I never became infected and never had so much as a sniffle. Unfortunately, mainstream media and mainstream medicine use a wide variety of scare tactics to convince people they will become sick if they are not vaccinated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Following are my top eleven reasons for not getting a flu shot:
- Infection is based on lifestyle, not exposure: The belief that everyone who gets exposed to the flu becomes ill is outdated and untrue. If it were true that exposure causes illness, none of us could enter a public place without becoming ill. The truth is that our lifestyle and our body’s environment are what determine whether or not we get sick. This is why my teenagers got sick in 2008 with a nasty case of the flu, but neither my husband nor I became ill while caring for them. Their lifestyle and high-sugar eating habits lowered their body’s ability to fight the flu, while ours provided natural immunity.
- Low probability of correct strains used in vaccine: There are close to 300 different strains of flu, yet each year the CDC chooses 3-5 strains of Influenza Type A and 1-2 of Influenza Type B to include in the flu vaccine. They use scientific methods to try and predict which strains will be the most prevalent each year, but they are often wrong. Additionally, flu strains constantly adapt and mutate. This means the likelihood of the CDC choosing the correct strains is less than 5%. The CDC admits: “In some years when vaccine and circulating strains were not well-matched, no vaccine effectiveness can be demonstrated in some studies, even in healthy adults. It is not possible in advance of the influenza season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched, and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness.”
- Those who were vaccinated have higher infection rates than those who were not: More than seven studies proved flu shots do not reduce infection rates and may actually increase them. Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Canada , shared findings proving increased infection rates were consistently found for two years following vaccination in both humans and ferrets who received flu vaccines. These findings were true across seven different studies done on flu vaccines for 2008 and 2009. The findings agreed with statistical comparisons of over 30,000 people. The vaccines used in 2008 and 2009 are very similar to those being used today. (Ferrets are used in influenza studies because their physiology most closely mimics that of humans’ in influenza infections.)
It also needs to be pointed out that pediatric deaths due to flu were dropping prior to 2003. The decrease in deaths can be attributed to improved health conditions, better nutrition programs in schools and preschools, and other lifestyle improvements. Pediatric deaths caused by flu skyrocketed after the CDC insisted that all children older than six months of age receive a flu shot. The increase in death and infection rates following the CDC’s mandate is not coincidental and is too large to be ignored.
- Zero science to support effectiveness of flu shots: A review of 5707 articles and 31 studies found little evidence to prove that flu vaccines actually reduce infection rates. The researchers also found that although the vaccines provided “moderate” protection some years, they provided little or no protection other years. The researchers also found that flu vaccines offer zero protection for anyone over age 65 or younger than age 7. Another group, the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, studied 41 clinical studies and concluded the data showed flu vaccines provide zero reduction in infection or death across all age groups. The Cochrane group also studied 260,000 children between the ages of 23 months and six years and found the flu vaccine to be no more effective than a placebo at preventing illness. In 2009, many providences in Canada stopped recommending flu vaccines for anyone under 65 years of age. Their infection rates have not increased.
Commenting on other studies proving the ineffectiveness of flu shots, Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and Director of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance said, “We have overpromoted and overhyped this vaccine … It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”
- Most illnesses called the “flu” actually are not: Researchers found that only 6-8% of illnesses called “flu” were actually caused by a true flu virus. The other illnesses were caused by other viruses or bacteria, none of which would be included in a flu vaccine. Additionally, the CDC drastically increases their statistics by making the assumption that all deaths caused by pneumonia originated with a flu infection. This is simply not true. Although having the flu can increase the likelihood of a pneumonia infection in anyone with a compromised immune system, pneumonia is a bacterial infection and flu is a viral infection. Not all cases of pneumonia are caused by the flu, which means the CDC’s statistics are grossly inflated and are designed to create fear.
- The “Original Antigenic Sin” Argument: This term refers to the fact that a vaccine only protects you against specific illness strains, whereas catching an illness provides immunity against that illness and against multiple others with similar chemical structures. In other words, if you get a flu shot which claims to protect you against Strains A and B, that’s all you have protection against. If you catch Strain A, you wind up with immunity against Strain A and potentially against hundreds of other flu strains which contain similar proteins. This may be why flu vaccines are virtually worthless for anyone over age 65. They have already been infected with and exposed to enough flu strains that they have naturally occurring immunity against a wide array of flu strains.
- Flu vaccines suppress the immune system: The ingredients in flu vaccines stimulate the immune system to combat a few strains of flu, yet suppress it against all other viral and bacterial invaders. This is why so many people get sick with colds and other illnesses shortly after receiving the flu vaccine. Based on the other evidence shared in this post, it makes little sense to lower the body’s overall ability to fight infection by receiving a flu shot.
- Increased risk of cardiac problems and oxidized cholesterol: A 2007 study found that flu vaccines cause an inflammatory response that increases the risk of cardiac problems and which also causes oxidation of the low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol). The oxidation of LDL cholesterol means that the very small cholesterol molecules capable of passing through vessel walls become oxidized, or hardened, in arteries, which directly contributes to arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and other coronary disorders. This potentially deadly effect only lasts for a maximum of fourteen days, but needs to be considered by anyone having a pre-existing cardiac condition. The inflammation can also cause a condition called “Arteritis,” in which the walls of large arteries become inflamed. Depending on the body region affected, arteritis may cause visual disturbances, headaches, jaw pain, and more. A study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that pregnant women are especially susceptible to the inflammatory effects of flu vaccines and that receiving a flu vaccine led to higher rates of pre-eclampsia, spontaneous abortion, and increased complications following birth.
- Toxic ingredients: Most flu vaccines contain one or all of the following –
– Mercury (Thimerosol): Thimerosol is a common preservative used in vaccines. Most flu vaccines contain enough mercury from Thimerosol to be deemed toxic by the EPA if they are taken by anyone weighing less than 265 pounds. Because mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, this information should be regarded with concern by anyone weighing less than 265 pounds. Note: There are a few vials of vaccines made without Thimerosol, but they are typically saved for children and pregnant women. You have the right to request them, and definitely should if you weigh less than 265 pounds, are pregnant, or are having your child vaccinated.
– Adjutants: Adjutants are ingredients added to vaccines which serve to stimulate the immune system. The most common adjutant used in flu vaccines is Aluminum, a heavy metal which is associated with many neurological illnesses. Primary among the neurological illnesses associated with aluminum toxicity is Alzheimer’s.
– Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. When combined with aluminum (as it is in the flu vaccine and many the vaccinations), formaldehyde is known to increase the likelihood of neurological damage.
– Eggs: Although not directly a toxin, all flu vaccines are grown on cultures from chicken eggs. This means the vaccines could be deadly to anyone having a severe allergy to eggs. Please be aware of this. The incidence of severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines is rising at an alarming rate, largely because many of the people administrating vaccines are not trained in their side effects and are not in a facility equipped to deal with anaphylactic shock. If you choose to get a flu shot, please get it in your doctor’s office and not in your local grocery store.
- Negative reactions: Flu vaccines are known to cause the following reactions, some of which are deadly and some of which can cause permanent disability: injection site reaction, fever, convulsions (especially in children), narcolepsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic auto-immune neurological condition which can result in permanent disability), allergic reactions including anaphylactic shock, increased risk of heart attack, encephalitis, neurological disorders, thrombocytopenia (a blood disorder causing low platelet counts, fatigue and potential blood loss from bruising or internal hemorrhage), and more..
- Studies found Vitamin D more effective than flu shots: There is a good reason the flu only occurs during the winter months. Even in tropical climates, flu rates increase during the rainy season. The common factor? Sun exposure. Unprotected exposure to sunlight stimulates the body to produce Vitamin D. Studies conducted by John Cannell and associates found a direct connection between Vitamin D deficiencies and increased respiratory illnesses in adults and children. The studies also found that as little as 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis could prevent the flu and other respiratory illnesses 500% more effectively than flu vaccines. Another study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Vitamin D deficiency caused higher infection rates of flu and other respiratory illnesses. Per Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, “The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu.” Vitamin D stimulates the body to produce over 300 different antimicrobial peptides which help the body combat viral and bacterial infection. My personal recommendation is that anyone living in a cold climate should take a minimum of 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis and should get their blood serum levels checked at least once each year. Ideal blood serum levels should be maintained between 50-80 nmol/L.
Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
The vitamin D-antimicrobial peptide pathway and its role in protection against infection – Linus Pauling Institute
Those of you who know me, know I have a deep passion for helping anyone affected by any form of diabetes. This is partly because Type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic, partly because the incidence of Type 1 diabetes is increasing, and partly because I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1967. I’m blessed to say I’ve lived on both sides of the “diabetes fence” and have learned a thing or two along the way.
The first thing I learned about dealing with diabetes is that what my doctor and diabetes educator told me frequently did not work. Their recommendations seemed to guarantee I used excessive amounts of insulin, had sky high blood sugars and never truly felt well. More than once I’ve had a client storm into my office, slam a sheaf of papers on my desk, and exclaim: “She’s trying to kill me!” They were referencing the dietary plan provided by their diabetes educator. This post explains why the mainstream approach often fails. (Please note the photo used in this post is courtesy of DeathbyBrokeh and is not a picture of one of my blood sugars.)
NOTE: Please follow your physician’s instructions. Do not make any changes to your care protocol without first discussing them with your physician and care team. People with Type 1 diabetes must use extreme caution and test blood glucose levels frequently when making any change to lifestyle or eating habits.
Before I dive into criticism, let me say the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has come a long way in the past forty years. They have ceased recommending a single dietary approach and are beginning to recognize that alternative eating styles “may” (in their words) have value. They admit a low glycemic eating style improves control, yet refuse to endorse it or encourage its use. They believe people with diabetes won’t comply with a diet rich in low glycemic foods, and they fail to recognize the other benefits gained from this eating style. The battle to overcome tradition in mainstream medicine is huge, so I’m encouraged to know the ADA is starting to cautiously embrace eating styles different from the status quo.
Let me also say I am NOT a fan of extreme eating styles which claim to reverse all forms of diabetes. I have seen many people’s health harmed, sometimes irreversibly, by following diets that greatly restrict nutrition. These extreme attempts at healing scare me. I prefer to use a much more balanced approach that supports the body’s own healing ability and which allows the body to rebuild and rebalance itself. It is also important to state that many people are able to reverse Type 2 diabetes, but there are less than 20 documented cases of Type 1 diabetes being reversed. I believe it’s possible, but I do not believe we know enough about autoimmune illnesses to consistently combat Type 1 diabetes and restore pancreatic function. I help people reverse Type 2 diabetes every day in my practice, but each person is very different. Not everyone is able to reverse it, and extreme caution must be used. I have tried many extreme eating styles. Each extreme style has benefits, but almost all ultimately create systemic imbalances which harm health.
The standard eating style endorsed by the ADA recommends that every person with diabetes, regardless of age, sex, weight, activity level, or type of diabetes, eat a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. A single serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams, so consuming 130 grams of carbs every day equates to eating 8.7 servings. That is a lot of carbs! The large amount of carbs recommended concerns and shocks me. I eat 2-4 servings of low-glycemic carbohydrates every day. Doing so allows me to avoid gaining weight, maintain normal glucose levels, and use less insulin. (Please read Surprising Facts About Insulin for information on the damaging effects excess insulin has on the body.) I currently maintain A1C’s* between 5.5-6.0 and have no diabetes complications. I am extremely blessed to enjoy vibrant health in spite of having had diabetes for more than 46 years.
* In simple terms, the Glycosulated Hemoglobin (A1C) is a blood test that measures blood sugar averages. Normal is considered 4.5-6.0.
The concept of encouraging diabetics to eat high amounts of carbs and then telling them to take large amounts of insulin to counteract the effects those carbs have on blood sugar makes no sense.
The primary reason the ADA form of eating does not work is that it does nothing to improve insulin sensitivity and fails to combat the cause of high blood sugars. Effectively controlling all forms of diabetes requires maintaining adequate insulin sensitivity and eating in a way that does not greatly elevate blood sugars. The ADA style of eating tends to decrease insulin sensitivity in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics because it encourages eating large amounts of high-glycemic carbohydrates. (Insulin resistance is as large a problem in Type 1 diabetics as it is in Type 2 diabetics. Learn more about it here: Top Ten Signs You Have Insulin Resistance.) This approach often leads to higher levels of diabetic complications.
The ADA recommends such high amounts of carbohydrates because it fails to recognize how the body converts food to energy and believes carbohydrates are necessary for normal brain function and normal energy levels. This is simply not true. The body’s best source of energy is fat. Yes, fat. Healthy fat, not hydrogenated oils and inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. The body converts fat to energy 80% more efficiently than it converts carbohydrates to energy. Fat is essential for the health of cell membranes, neurotransmitters in the brain, and cardiac cells. For more information on fat and to bust a few myths, read Why You Need to Eat More Fat and Surprising Facts About Cholesterol.
The fact is our bodies don’t need high amounts of carbohydrates. Your body can very effectively function on small amounts of carbs. (I spent two years eating NO carbohydrates that affected blood glucose levels, so I know it can be done, but I don’t recommend it.) The ADA believes carbohydrates that raise blood sugar are necessary for proper brain function. This is not true. The brain runs on pure glucose. As long as there is adequate glucose in the blood stream, the brain will function well. People with Type 1 diabetes rarely need to eat carbohydrates to maintain adequate levels of glucose in the blood stream. The only time they truly require carbohydrates is their blood sugar falls below normal levels. Again, the concept of encouraging diabetics to eat large amounts of carbohydrates and then making them take high amounts of insulin to counteract the effect on blood sugars is counterproductive.
So what style of eating is best for diabetics? The simple fact is that each person’s style of eating must be customized to their metabolism, lifestyle, schedule and many other factors. There is no single style that works for everyone. Each person with diabetes or metabolic challenges must work to find the best style of eating that works for them. In general, an approach that does not encourage excess carbohydrate consumption, focuses on incorporating exercise and healthy eating habits, and one which focuses on using low-glycemic carbohydrates works best for most diabetics.
I am committed to helping diabetics improve their control and live life more abundantly. I have high success rates because I have spent almost 50 years living with diabetes every single day and have an intimate familiarity with what it takes to successfully incorporate diabetes control techniques into daily life. I’ve lived both the good and the bad of diabetes. Nothing brings me more joy than helping others achieve increased control and health. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your options, please contact me via email or call 317.489.0909.
A study at the University of Michigan found people with diabetes have a 35% higher chance of having Glaucoma than people who do not. The study went on to say the reason for the higher rates of glaucoma in diabetics is “unknown.” My purpose for writing this article is to explain the nutritional reasons that diabetes and glaucoma often go hand in hand.
Before going further, let me state this very clearly: The purpose of this article is to provide education. Both diabetes and glaucoma are serious conditions requiring medical intervention. All eye conditions must be diagnosed and treated by an ophthalmologist. It is imperative that everyone with diabetes have an eye exam including a retinal exam and a glaucoma screening once yearly at a minimum. Never change your medication dosage without consulting your MD and/or ophthalmologist. If you wish to reduce the amount of glaucoma medication you take, consult with your ophthalmologist. Ask him or her to check your ocular pressure every three months, adjusting your dosage as needed. Failure to work with your ophthalmologist could result in blindness. Please do not take matters into your own hands. None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any health condition.
I was diagnosed with glaucoma in April of 2000. I reversed my glaucoma in less than six months using simple lifestyle changes and it has never returned. (I know it has not returned because I continue receiving ophthalmologic care on a yearly basis.) As someone who has had diabetes for over 45 years, I have dedicated my life to researching the biochemical effects of diabetes and to helping those who have it avoid complications. My research led me to draw distinct conclusions about why diabetics are more likely to have glaucoma.
In the simplest terms, glaucoma is an increase in the internal pressure of the eye. (This is known as the “intraocular pressure.”) In the most common form of Glaucoma, Open Angle Glaucoma, the increase in intraocular pressure often occurs because the eye’s drainage system, the trabecular meshwork, fails to drain excess fluid from the eye. This creates increased pressure within the eye. Left untreated, the increased pressure harms the ocular nerve, causing loss of peripheral vision in the early stages and blindness as the disease advances. Glaucoma typically has no symptoms. Those who have it rarely notice its effects until it progresses to the point it harms vision.
Why do diabetics have such high rates of glaucoma? Some suspect it’s due to peripheral nerve and vessel damage caused by high glucose levels. This may be true, but if we dig into the chemistry of diabetes – and insulin – a much simpler cause comes to light. Glucose has a very similar molecular structure to Vitamin C. When cells become resistant to and stop absorbing insulin, they therefore also may stop absorbing vitamin C. (Insulin resistance occurs in Type 2 Diabetes due to excess insulin produced by the body; and in Type 1 Diabetes due to the need to inject high amounts of insulin.) What is one of the first effects of a Vitamin C deficiency? Increased interocular pressure. (For more information on insulin, read: Surprising Facts About Insulin.)
Other deficiencies known to contribute to increased intraocular pressure include deficiencies in vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, iron and others. All of these deficiencies are very common in people with diabetes. The fact that nutritional deficiencies contribute to or may cause glaucoma cannot be denied. Scientists in Russia have known this for years and very successfully treat glaucoma using a much different protocol than what is used in the US. Quite frankly, the US is one of few countries where glaucoma is treated purely with prescription medications. Other countries combine prescription medications with nutritional support.
Multiple studies showed taking oral Vitamin C reduces interocular pressure by as much as 30% within half an hour. In spite of this being a known fact, very few ophthalmologists tell their patients to take a Vitamin C supplement. For many patients, taking 500 – 2000 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis reduces their interocular pressure to the point they no longer need prescription medication. One study found Vitamin C was very effective at reducing eye pressure even for patients who did not respond to prescription medication.
So can we reduce ocular pressure simply by taking Vitamin C? In part, yes; however, additional change must occur to allow the body’s cells to adequately absorb the Vitamin C. A key factor to allowing the body’s cells to absorb Vitamin C is to reduce the amount of insulin needed (or being produced by the body) and to improve the cells’ insulin sensitivity. This is typically accomplished by eating a low-carbohydrate diet, eating high amounts of antioxidant-rich foods on a daily basis, and other lifestyle changes.
I recommend taking oral vitamin C throughout the process of improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin levels. Some people use vitamin C eye drops to bypass the digestive tract and get the vitamin C directly to the eye tissues, while others use intravenous vitamin C to deliver it directly to the blood stream. Although all three delivery methods are known to be effective, taking vitamin C orally is certainly the most convenient.
Vitamin C is known to benefit diabetics in a variety of ways. In addition to aiding glaucoma, the antioxidant effects of vitamin C are known to help prevent cataracts by preventing the formation of compounds that can lodge in the lens of the eye. Vitamin C is also known to be beneficial for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic complications. Vitamin C has also been shown to be effective at helping reduce high blood pressure when used in conjunction with other lifestyle changes. The use of vitamin C for both diabetes and glaucoma is beneficial in most cases.
For me personally, the combination of high doses of oral Vitamin C, a strict low-carbohydrate eating style, and high intake of antioxidants quickly restored my intraocular pressure to normal. Since then, I continue eating limited amounts of carbs and still eat high amounts of vegetables, but reducing the amount of insulin I take on a daily basis seems to have been the key to permanently reducing my intraocular pressure. Reducing the amount of insulin I need on a daily basis allowed my cells to absorb Vitamin C and naturally decreased systemic inflammation. One of the greatest joys of my life is knowing I was able, by God’s grace, to permanently eliminate my need for glaucoma medication.
I’ve had diabetes for over 46 years. I’ve lived on both sides of the “medical fence” and have devoted my life to helping other diabetics and anyone dealing with metabolic disorders. I have helped 100’s of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics improve their glucose control, reverse their need for medication, lose weight and more. I have higher success rates than other practitioners because I live this on a daily basis. I know I can help you. Please contact me to schedule a consultation.
Virno M, Bucci M: Oral treatment of Glaucoma with Vitamin C, The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Monthly, Vol. 46, 1502-1508, Dec. 1967
Liu KM, Swann D, Lee P, Lam KW . Inhibition of oxidative degradation of hyaluronic acid by uric acid. Curr Eye Res 1984;3:1049-1053
Schachtschabel DO, Binninber E. Stimulatory effects of ascorbic acid in hyaluronic acid synthesis of in vitro cultured normal and glaucomatous trabecular meshwork cells of the human eye. Z Gerontol 1993;26:243-246
This post is a very personal one. I’d like to share a tale of what happens when an insured diabetic needs medication but can’t get it.
Current estimates show there are over 90 million people in the US who have diabetes or pre-diabetes. That equates to almost 30% of the population. Approximately 8 million people have diabetes but are not aware of it. The end result of this epidemic is that diabetes has become a huge liability for the mainstream medical community. In the midst of trying to help everyone they can, the medical community has developed a fear their efforts will result in someone’s death. (This fear exists for other medical conditions, but nowhere is it stronger than in diabetes.)
Three weeks ago my insulin pump stopped working. The manufacturer replaced the pump, yet 12 hours later the same problem occurred. Still assuming the problem was related to equipment, I insisted the pump manufacturer replace the insertion sets I was using. Insertion sets attach the insulin pump to the body and have a short tube – a “cannula” – which sticks into the skin to a depth of about ¼ – ½”. (See picture. The cannula is the tiny piece of plastic at the far right.) Unfortunately, the new box of insertion sets had the same problem. After about 12 hours, the insulin pump returned error messages stating it could not deliver the insulin. The area where the cannula entered the skin was always inflamed, a bit itchy and very painful, but had no indicators of infection.
I experimented with multiple locations on my body and always had the same problem. Final conclusion? I had developed an allergy to the plastic used in the insertion set’s cannula. This meant I had to take a “pump holiday” and return to using injections to control my blood sugars while I researched insertion sets with a stainless steel cannula. Not using my insulin pump presented a problem because the only insulin I had a prescription for was fast-acting Humalog, which has a lifespan of about two to four hours, This short duration of effectiveness meant I had to inject insulin every two to three hours. It also meant controlling my sugars while I slept was virtually impossible. I needed a prescription for Lantus, a long-acting insulin with a lifespan of approximately 24 hours. This is where the story gets interesting.
I called my GP, who told me she would not give me a prescription for Lantus because the liability was too high since I had never taken it before. I offered to come in for an appointment, but she refused. She told me to go to an emergency room. I called an emergency room and was told the physicians there would be unwilling to prescribe Lantus for a patient whom they had no history on and for whom they could not follow as an in-patient. I called my endocrinologist, whom I had not seen for almost two years*. I knew they could not prescribe for me without seeing me, and I begged for an appointment. The best they could do was to “squeeze” me in ten days later. They also suggested I go to an emergency room to get the insulin I needed.
*Please note: The fact I had not seen my endocrinologist for over two years does NOT mean I was not receiving care. I adjust my insulin levels as needed, and I was getting necessary blood work such as A1C, thyroid profile, etc. from my GP. I was staying on top of things and consistently maintain A1C’s between 5.7-6.0. I want to clarify that I maintain very strict control over my diabetes and always get the blood work needed to monitor my control. I was recently told my experience was “my fault.” Please know it was not and that I was doing everything necessary to maintain perfect control of my glucose levels.
In the midst of this, my blood sugar control went haywire. I typically awoke with sugars higher than 500, even if I got up at 3 am to take insulin. During the day, I had to inject every one to two hours in order to maintain decent control. I quit eating carbs completely and still had to inject frequently. My energy levels plummeted, and I began to fear my poor control would have a permanent effect. At this point, I had gone almost two weeks without my pump. The early days were spent negotiating with the pump manufacturer; the later days were spent begging providers for a Lantus prescription.
Determined to get what I needed, I went to an immediate care center. The triage nurse told me the doctor would not be willing to prescribe what I needed. I begged and confess I bullied a tiny bit. Luckily, the on-call physician was in the reception area and heard my tale. He asked me a few questions and agreed to prescribe what I needed. He was the first physician who had shown more concern for my health than for his own liability. I am forever grateful to him.
Let’s review: I’m fully insured. My glucose levels were above 500, meaning I was in an emergency situation and desperately needed different medication. I have 45 years of experience controlling diabetes, so I am not a new diabetic who presents a large risk. I’m a Naturopath who speaks nationwide on endocrine disorders and controlling diabetes, so I have knowledge and training most people with diabetes do not.
In spite of all of that, not one of the MD’s I spoke with was willing to prescribe what was obviously a medically-necessary medication. Failure to prescribe this medication could have resulted in my death. Even when I shared that my glucose levels were running above 500, no one was willing to incur the liability of prescribing the medication that was desperately needed. My best option for care would have been to allow myself to go into a diabetic coma, at which point they would have gladly assisted. I instead chose to take matters into my own hands and be my own advocate in a very strong way.
If I had any other condition, physicians would have prescribed what I needed without question. ALL medications have side effects. ALL medications can result in death if not taken correctly. Only a diabetic would be denied care due to physician’s fears of liability. Physicians regularly prescribe narcotic pain medication to patients, often without providing adequate instruction. Those narcotics could just as easily cause death from overdose as insulin could, yet getting them is incredibly easy.
There’s something wrong with this picture.
The current medical system has put so many shackles on physicians that a patient in desperate need of care cannot receive it. When an insured patient is refused care by an emergency room, solely based on fears of liability, there is a desperate need for change. Based on current trends, I predict things are going to get worse, not better.
What are your thoughts?
Insulin is an important hormone for everyone, whether they have diabetes or not. It performs many functions in the body that most people are completely unaware of. The purpose of this article is to show you how important insulin is and why you may need to start paying more attention to it. Unfortunately, we live in a society where many people’s cells have stopped absorbing the insulin their body produces. This insulin resistance creates a domino effect of negative consequences, even though many people never have elevated blood sugars. All of us have insulin resistance to some degree. The resistance is partially caused by aging, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. However, it is very simple to regulate insulin production and insulin sensitivity. (The picture you see is a cross section of the beta cells of the pancreas that create insulin.)
Let’s get started! The following facts about insulin may surprise you.
Insulin is found in almost every life form, including single-celled creatures
Any chemical that is found in every life form on earth must be vitally important. For most single-celled organisms, insulin’s role is to control and advance aging. The older the life form becomes, the more insulin it produces. Insulin is therefore vitally connected to the aging process. When people become insulin resistant, causing their body to produce excess insulin, their cells age and deteriorate much more rapidly. Controlling insulin production and resistance is vital to slowing the aging process.
Insulin allows the body’s cells to store and create energy
We’ve all been convinced that insulin’s role is to lower blood glucose levels. Truth is, that is not insulin’s job. Insulin’s primary role in the body is to create energy. Plain and simple. The insulin your body creates should allow your cells to create energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, it means those cells can no longer create energy. Fatigue and exhaustion follow. This is why many people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are often so tired.
Insulin signals the body to store fat
Insulin is a fat storage hormone, especially when it is not absorbed by the body’s cells. Excess insulin in the blood stream tells the body to start storing as much fat as possible. This is why people with insulin resistance and diabetes often find it impossible to lose weight. It is also why people with those challenges often have extremely elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s just that simple.
High cholesterol has a stronger connection to insulin than it does to fat consumption. I recently worked with a lady who came to me with a cholesterol reading of over 300 and a triglyceride level of over 1500. What did I do? I recommended an eating plan that was very low in carbohydrates and very high in healthy fats. (Yes. You read that right. I gave her body what it needed. A low fat diet does not help weight loss, nor does it improve coronary health.) She lost forty pounds in three months and had normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels within six weeks. Focusing on insulin instead of her blood lipids made the difference.
Insulin delivers magnesium
One of the most important jobs insulin fulfills is to carry magnesium into the cells. Experts currently estimate that seventy percent of the US population is magnesium deficient. There is a large probability this deficiency is not solely due to bad eating habits, but is also linked to insulin resistance. For information on the negative effects of magnesium deficiency, please read Why You Need More Magnesium.
One of magnesium’s jobs is to relax the blood vessels. A primary result of a low magnesium level is that blood vessels constrict and blood pressure rises. Over 80% of people with diabetes or insulin resistance also have high blood pressure. The connection is purely related to insulin. Unfortunately, the cells in blood vessels never become resistant to insulin. These cells continue absorbing all the insulin that is present. The excess insulin in the walls of the blood vessels makes them hard and predisposes them to being covered with plaque. Both of these factors create elevated blood pressure. Left untreated, these factors create serious heart disease. Few people speak about regulating insulin levels as a means of preventing and reversing coronary disease, but it is one of the simplest ways to improve heart health.
Insulin triggers hormones that create a feeling of fullness
Insulin is a hormone that tells the body when it’s time to stop eating. This makes perfect sense. As we eat a meal, our body releases insulin to turn that food into energy. As those insulin levels rise, it should trigger a feeling of fullness once a sufficient amount of food has been eaten. When the body stops absorbing insulin, it prevents the signal that tells the person it’s time to stop eating and allows people to eat far more than they need without feeling full. This is another reason why people with insulin resistance and diabetes have such a hard time losing weight. The key is to improve the body’s ability to absorb insulin. It is very simple to improve insulin sensitivity using lifestyle changes and sometimes a few inexpensive supplements.
Insulin lowers blood glucose levels
Last on the list is that insulin lowers blood sugar. Insulin’s least significant role in the body is lowering glucose levels. The fact is that elevated glucose is merely a nasty side effect of poor insulin metabolism.
Do you deal with insulin resistance? Is this a new concept for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Please contact me at 317.489.0909 if you would like to start the process of improving your health and slowing the aging process by improving your body’s ability to absorb insulin.
I am often asked what my thoughts are about whether or not coffee is “healthy.” As with most health issues, your personal physiology determines whether or not coffee is beneficial for you. Many people are shocked that I am not opposed to coffee. To be quite honest, I recognize that coffee does have health benefits. I also recognize that some people have such poor diets that a morning cup of java provides the only antioxidants they receive during the entire day.
If you’d like to learn how to brew the healthiest coffee possible, please read my article, How to Brew a Healthy Cup of Coffee: Cold Brew.
In the points that follow, please note that a “cup” of coffee is 8 ounces. Most coffee mugs hold far more, so use caution.
Coffee may provide the following benefits. Please note that some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity may counteract some of the positive effects I’ve shared below.
- Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants.
- Coffee contains certain minerals that are lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD), including magnesium, potassium, chromium (necessary for proper blood sugar control), zinc, and others.
- A Harvard study found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee per day have a 15% lower risk of depression than women who do not drink coffee.
- Coffee is rich in Trigonelline, a chemical that helps protect your teeth from bacteria that can cause decay.
- Over 17 different studies found that people who drink one to four cups of coffee daily have lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes and some forms of cancer.
- In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains high levels of 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid, a chemical that protects cells from free-radical damage.
- Coffee is rich in niacin, a B vitamin that is essential for cardiovascular health, normal brain function, normal digestion, cell health, energy production and more.
- Multiple studies found that those who drink two to four cups of coffee daily have lowered rates of Alzheimer Disease, liver disease, gallstone formation, Parkinson’s Disease, coronary rhythm disorders, heart attacks and more.
- Several studies found that coffee consumption does NOT elevate blood pressure and actually improves coronary health. Hallelujah! If you have high blood pressure, test your pressure before drinking a cup of coffee and 20 minutes after to determine if drinking decaf might be a better option due to your personal sensitivity to caffeine.
- A 13-year study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 found that coffee drinkers who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a 10-15% lower rate of mortality than those who did not. The researchers said this effect cannot be directly attributed to coffee and that further research is needed, but those numbers are certainly interesting!
Coffee beans contain over 1600 different chemicals. Unfortunately, not all of them are healthy. Drinking coffee may have the following harmful effects:
- Coffee has been shown to increase levels of LDL cholesterol, although the exact reason is not known.
- Consumption of two or more cups of coffee per day has been associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Percolated or drip coffee is very, very acidic, which creates an overly acidic pH in the body. To counteract the acidity, the body will pull calcium out of the bones and teeth to alkalize the body’s pH. My personal belief is that acidic brewing methods lead to osteoporosis and not the coffee. See the section below for healthy ways to brew coffee.
- Coffee is known to interfere with sleep and may cause irritability and anxiety in some people. Drinking naturally decaffeinated coffee may lessen this effect.
- Coffee hampers the absorption of iron and has been connected to iron deficiency anemia. Women who take iron supplements should never take them within two hours of drinking coffee. (Iron supplements are best absorbed on an empty stomach, so taking them right before bed – at least two hours after eating – works best for most people. Please note that iron interferes with the absorption of some prescription medications. Check with your pharmacist to find out which medications should not be taken with iron supplements.)
- Brewed and percolated coffee can irritate the lining of the digestive tract and may worsen the symptoms of digestive disorders, heartburn (GERD), ulcers and more.
- Combining coffee with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is known to cause liver damage.
The Healthiest Way to Make Coffee
Here are my tips for enjoying coffee in a healthy way:
- ONLY DRINK ORGANIC COFFEE. I cannot stress this enough. Coffee plants are often sprayed with gallons of chemicals. Since most coffee is grown outside of the US, those chemicals may not be regulated. Although it would be nice to think that roasting the beans removes those toxins, the opposite is actually true.
- Enjoy it in moderation. Try to drink no more than 16 – 24 ounces per day.
- Don’t substitute coffee for water. Coffee is a strong diuretic which can cause dehydration. Always drink extra water for every cup of coffee you drink.
- If you drink decaffeinated coffee because you are sensitive to caffeine, only drink coffee that was decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process method of decaffeination. The standard method of decaffeination uses chemical solvents, some of which remain in the coffee after processing. These chemical solvents may be toxic and should be avoided.
- Coffee is known to challenge the adrenal glands. The caffeine in coffee stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete hormones. Anyone who has adrenal fatigue should avoid coffee. Decaffeinated coffee has less of an effect.
- Coffee raises blood sugar. When the adrenal glands are stimulated, the hormones they secrete stimulate the liver to release glycogen, a form of sugar the body stores for energy. Decaffeinated coffee has less of an effect.
- Don’t drink it for dessert. Many people immediately ruin coffee’s health benefits by loading it up with sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemical creamers, flavored syrups, whipped cream and more. Black coffee is the healthiest. Adding a bit of stevia or a tiny amount of natural milk or milk alternative is fine, but don’t go crazy.
Healthy Brewing Techniques
My personal belief, based on much of the information shared above, is that cold brewed coffee is the healthiest. Cold brewing is very simple and provides all the taste (and caffeine, if you choose) of drip coffee without the acidity. I will share the cold brew method I use in my next blog post. Trust me when I say my method is far simpler than the methods shared online. I can brew a pot of cold brew in less than 15 minutes.
If you prefer drip coffee, please only use a non-bleached filter. There is some evidence that a non-bleached, paper filter removes some of the chemicals in coffee that could potentially have a harmful effect.
If you’d like to learn how to brew the healthiest coffee possible, please read my article, How to Brew a Healthy Cup of Coffee: Cold Brew.
Did this article surprise you? I help many people evaluate their lifestyle habits to identify changes that may help improve their wellness or help them avoid future challenges. To schedule, please email me or call 317.489.0909.
What are your thoughts about coffee? Do you drink it? How do you ensure you get the benefits without the risks? Please share!
Candida overgrowth has become an epidemic that is often unrecognized. I developed this Candida Self Assessment to help you identify whether or not Candida may be a factor that is negatively impacting your health. Please note that not all fungal overgrowths include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.
Unfortunately, Candida often gets ignored and few medical professionals recognize that Candida overgrowth can negatively impact every body system. Even fewer realize Candida overgrowth can be a contributing factor to many very common chronic conditions. This Candida Self Assessment is a very simple way of identifying habits, history and symptoms that may indicate your body has a yeast imbalance. This test is shared for educational purposes only and is not a diagnostic tool.
If you would like to learn more about Candida, please visit the following articles:
Please note that the Candida Self Assessment will not give you a diagnosis of Candida overgrowth and that Candida is not the sole cause of the factors mentioned in the assessment. The self assessment is simply a tool to use to evaluate whether or not Candida may play a role in your health challenges. The Candida Self Assessment can be used to help you determine if you should consider seeking assistance from a health professional to begin the process of balancing the yeasts in your body.
To take the Candida Self Assessment, score 1 point for every “YES” answer to each of the following questions. The scoring profile follows the assessment.
Candida Self Assessment
Do/did/were you now or during the past three years:
- Told you have a heavy metal toxicity?
- Belch frequently?
- Crave alcohol?
- Crave breads, pastas, crackers, etc.?
- Drink more than 16 ounces of beer or wine per week?
- Drink more than 6 ounces of distilled alcohol (vodka, rum, etc.) per week?
- Feel depressed?
- Feel fatigued frequently?
- Feel you have “brain fog?”
- Have a coated tongue?
- Have abdominal bloating or gas?
- Have acne?
- Have white, flaky patches on the skin?
- Have ADHD/ADD or lack of impulse control?
- Have amalgam fillings?
- Have an inability to concentrate?
- Have an inability to lose weight or an inability to gain weight?
- Have asthma or hay fever?
- Have athlete’s foot?
- Have dandruff?
- Have diabetes or hypoglycemia?
- Have discomfort during intercourse?
- Have dizziness?
- Have dry mouth?
- Have ear pain?
- Have elevated liver enzymes?
- Have endometriosis or infertility?
- Have fluid in the ear or frequent ear or sinus infections?
- Have food allergies?
- Have frequent bad breath?
- Have frequent boils?
- Have frequent colds or flus?
- Have frequent headaches?
- Have frequent heartburn?
- Have frequent hives?
- Have frequent hoarseness and/or postnasal drip?
- Have frequent insomnia?
- Have frequent irritability?
- Have frequent mood swings?
- Have frequent nasal congestion or stuffiness, especially on rainy days?
- Have frequent numbness or tingling?
- Have frequent rashes?
- Have frequent sore throat?
- Have frequent urinary tract infections?
- Have frequent vaginal yeast infections?
- Have frequent water retention?
- Have hemorrhoids?
- Have impotence?
- Have inflamed prostate?
- Have irritation in folds of skin or in areas where joints bend?
- Have irritation near areas rubbed by waistband, underwear elastic, bra, etc.?
- Have itchy skin?
- Have jock itch?
- Have loss of sexual desire?
- Have frequent mouth sores or blisters?
- Have mucous in stools?
- Have muscle aches?
- Have occasional or frequent constipation?
- Have occasional or frequent diarrhea?
- Have pain or swelling in your joints?
- Have persistent anal itching?
- Have persistent vaginal itching or burning?
- Have poor memory sometimes?
- Have premenstrual tension?
- Have psoriasis or eczema?
- Have rapid mood swings?
- Have ringworm or other fungal skin infections?
- Have thrush (oral yeast infection)?
- Have toe or fingernail fungus?
- Have urinary urge or frequency?
- Sometimes have abdominal pain?
- Take an antacid or prescription such as Nexxium, Prevavid, Protonix, Prilosec, etc.?
- Take antibiotics in the past five years? (Score 1 point for each time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Take Prednisone or other corticosteroids? (Score 1 point for every time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Taken oral birth control for more than two months in the past five years?
Candida Self Assessment Scoring:
- 0-10 Points: Congratulations! The likelihood of Candida affecting your health is very low. Keep up the great work!
- 11-25 Points: The likelihood of Candida being a factor that is affecting your health is likely, but the effects are probably minimal at this point.. You may benefit from making lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of Candida in your system.
- 26-55 Points: Candida is probably an issue that is negatively affecting your health. Taking action to reduce Candida will most likely benefit your health in multiple ways.
- 56-75 Points: It is highly likely that Candida is negatively affecting your health in multiple ways. Taking action now to reduce Candida will most likely improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally.
If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Pamela. She uses a customized Candida protocol that not only helps kill Candida but also strengthens your body to help it naturally balance Candida. The 12-week program is comprehensive and very effective.
Are you familiar with Candida? Was your score a surprise? Please share!
I once heard a man say he couldn’t believe childbirth could hurt worse than an ingrown toenail. (I’ll withhold comment on that statement.) Anyone who has an ingrown toenail knows how painful they are. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail starts to cut into the skin surrounding it. Toenails should typically grow upward, but occasionally start to grow in a way that cuts into the skin instead of growing over it. One hypothesis is that ingrown toenails have nothing to do with the nails and are caused because the weight placed on the foot causes the skin around the nail to “bulge” around the nail and puts enough force on the nail that the edge of nail cuts into the skin. If you think about the amount of pressure put on the foot with every step, this makes a lot of sense.
Regardless of the cause, ingrown toenails hurt. Although ingrown nails typically occur on the big toe, they can happen on any toe or finger if certain situations exist. Left untreated, an ingrown toenail can create an open wound and may become infected.
Please note that any wound on the foot needs immediate treatment. If you have diabetes or know you have poor circulation, please seek medical intervention for any foot wound. Left untreated, these wounds can worsen to create life-threatening situations caused by non-healing sores. The American Diabetes Association has estimated that the death rate from foot ulcers may be as high as 55% when ulcers are left untreated or when mainstream medical treatment fails. Please note that ANYONE can get a foot ulcer from a severe ingrown toenail, not just people with diabetes. My father died from a sepsis infection resulting from an ingrown toenail. Please do not ignore ingrown toenails. Please don’t continue self-treating any foot condition that does not respond quickly to home treatment methods.
Let’s look at some of the possible symptoms of an ingrown toenail, what potential causes are for an ingrown toenail, and what some possible treatments are.
Pain is the primary indicator of an ingrown toenail, but other symptoms may include:
- Mild pain and faint redness and swelling may be seen in the early stages. This is the best time to take action and address the issue.
- Pain may be extreme. Even a tiny bump of the affected toe can cause extreme, sometimes excruciating pain
- In time, the redness and swelling around the ingrown portion of the toenail will increase.
- Infection surrounding the ingrown toenail may occur, which may cause cloudy, white or yellow liquid to ooze from around the nail.
- The area around the toenail may be very hot to the touch. In extreme cases of infection, a person may develop a fever. If this occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
- Extra skin may begin to grow around the affected area as the body tries to protect itself
A variety of causes are suspected, although the specific cause for each person varies and is based on lifestyle habits, weight, shoe choices, etc. Causes of ingrown toenails may include:
- Improper hygiene
- Improper methods of trimming toenails
- Wearing tight shoes
- Excess weight
- Fungal overgrowth – causes thickening of the toenail and may create an ingrown situation
- Injury or trauma – past injury or trauma to a toe or finger may cause an ingrown nail in some situations
- Genetics – whether it’s truly genetic or more a case of lifestyle habits being passed from generation to generation, people who had a parent with an ingrown toenail are more likely to have one themselves
- Poor self awareness – people who ignore the early warning signs of an ingrown toenail tend to develop more severe problems as the problem progresses. People with circulatory problems need to check their feet on a daily basis to check for any developing issues.
The following may help prevent ingrown toenails:
- Don’t cut toenails too short: Cutting toenails extremely short, although more convenient, can potentially make it easier to develop an ingrown toenail because it allows the nail to grow into the skin instead of growing over it.
- Cut toenails in a square shape, not tapered: Toenails should be left square, not tapered into pretty curves. This helps create separation between the skin and the nail and may help prevent ingrown toenails. Cut toenails straight across. It’s fine to file the corners if you find they snag socks and hose.
- Stop wearing tight shoes: Yes, this includes high heels with tapered or pointed toes. One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are too tight. The cramped space in the shoe pushes the toenail into the skin and sets the stage for an ingrown toenail. If you must wear shoes that are tight for tapered, try to wear them only for short periods of time, or remove them frequently.
The following methods may be used to assist ingrown toenails in the very early stages and to help prevent infection. If these techniques don’t bring quick relief, seek medical attention.
- Switch shoes: Stop wearing any shoes that put pressure on the toes. Switch to shoes with wide toes and with a heel less than an inch high. In the summer, try to wear sandals that put no pressure on the toes and which expose the toes to fresh air.
- Avoid colored socks: The dyes used to create colored yarns often leech out of the socks when the socks are exposed to damp, sweaty feet. An ingrown toenail may provide an opening for these toxic compounds to enter. Stick to white, cotton socks until your situation improves.
- Wash feet twice daily: It is important to keep the area surrounding an ingrown toenail clean to avoid infection. Wash the foot twice daily with warm water and soap, then thoroughly dry it.
- Soak the foot twice daily: Soaking the foot will help reduce inflammation and will soften the skin enough that the toenail may be able to withdraw from the inflamed area. Soak in a solution of one half gallon warm water with 1/4 cup Epsom salts, 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 1/2 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Soak for 10-20 minutes and then thoroughly dry the foot.
- Elevate the toenail: If the toenail has not yet grown into the skin very far, roll a small piece of gauze into a small cylinder and insert it under the toenail. This may be slightly painful, but will help “redirect” the growth of the toenail. Leave the gauze in place for one week, changing the gauze after every wash or soak, at least twice daily.
- Don’t go to extremes: Please don’t execute minor surgery on yourself. If none of these methods work to eliminate your ingrown toenail, please get professional help. Very simple surgery can be done by a podiatrist or MD to remove the portion of the toenail that is growing into the skin. The surgery is usually done in a doctor’s office and recuperation is very quick. For most people, the ingrown toenail does not occur after surgery.
- Forget the V: There is an old wive’s tale that says cutting a “V” in a toenail will help eliminate an ingrown toenail. This is false. Toenails grow from the base of the nail upward, so cutting a V in the end of the nail has no effect on how the toenail grows. It’s also a great way to ruin socks and hose.
I cannot stress enough that any foot ailment needs to be addressed quickly and should be handled by a professional if home remedies don’t bring relief quickly. As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. These statements are not intended to replace medical care and are solely shared for informational purposes.
It is a simple – although often overlooked – fact that most people in the US are obese because they are insulin resistant. It is true that we live in a society that constantly overeats, but the rising rates of obesity are primarily due to the fact our bodies simply cannot process and metabolize the high amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates we eat. (I use the term “we” very loosely.) If weight loss were a simple math equation where weight loss occurrs if more calories were burned than were eaten, obesity would not be an epidemic. The simple fact is that our society subsists on foods laden with low-quality, high-glycemic carbs. The Standard American Diet (which I like to refer to as the “SAD”) creates metabolic imbalances that cause weight gain. If losing weight has been a problem for you, please read my article, The Top 7 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight for more information on the potential physical reasons that prevent weight loss. I promise to share more about battling insulin resistance in future posts. For today, let’s simply acknowledge that insulin is a fat-storage hormone. Eating excess carbs causes your body to secrete high amounts of insulin, which causes the body to produce and store fat instead of burning it for energy. When people eat high amounts of foods requiring the body to produce large amounts of insulin, their cells may eventually become “overwhelmed” with the constant flow of insulin. Cells which are overwhelmed with insulin will protect themselves by not absorbing and using the insulin. The excess insulin in the blood stream causes the body to store even more fat. This is what is commonly referred to as “Insulin Resistance.” If someone has even low levels of insulin resistance, it means their body does not use the insulin their body produces. This causes their body to produce higher amounts of insulin to try to lower blood sugars, which causes worse insulin resistance and increased weight gain. The solution to this problem is to reduce the amount of insulin being produced. The most direct way of allowing the body to produce less insulin is to pay close attention to the types and quantities of carbohydrates eaten. Please note that in this blog post, I use the word “carbs” to refer to simple carbohydrates your body metabolizes into simple sugars. Foods that fit this category include breads, cookies, rice, juices, candy, desserts, donuts, pastas, processed grains, etc. I am not referring to vegetables. Fruits are natural, but must be treated respectfully when dealing with insulin resistance. Some fruits elevate blood sugar very rapidly and require high amounts of insulin, which can contribute to weight gain for some people. The simplest – although not complete – approach to weight loss involves eating fewer carbohydrates. Following are simple tips to help cut the carbs without losing nutrition:
Substitute lettuce or kale wraps for bread
Not all bread is bad, but it is ALL extremely high in glycemic impact. High glycemic foods rapidly raise blood sugars and require large amounts of insulin. It is a very sad truth that almost all gluten free grains (with the exception of quinoa and millet) have a higher glycemic impact than wheat and require more insulin to be metabolized. This explains why some people experience extreme weight gain when going gluten-free. (Some people lose weight, but the incidence of people gaining weight after going gluten-free is rising rapidly.) Eating a grain-free diet is ideal for a variety of reasons, but most people have such a strong emotional attachment to grains that eliminating them completely seems impossible. Wrapping your sandwich ingredients in lettuce or kale may take some adjusting, but it’s a great option and the lettuce requires zero insulin.
Be extremely careful with portion sizes
People from Europe are often astonished at how much food people in the US eat at every meal. Europeans eat to live, whereas people in the US live to eat. Europeans eat extremely small (aka: NORMAL) portion sizes and don’t snack as often as we do. In the US, we supersize everything … especially portions. Here’s a quick run down of recommended portion sizes of popular carbs:
- Rice: 1/2 cup (Yes, seriously.)
- Pasta: 1 cup
- Grapes: 10
- Beans and Lentils: 1/2 cup
- French Fries: 10 (I’m not kidding. Probably best to skip this one.)
- Dairy: 1 cup (Dairy counts as a carbohydrate serving, even though it contains protein.)
Start every meal with a salad or big bowl of veggies
Filling up on veggies before attacking the other items on your plate often leads to eating fewer carbohydrates. It is also a very easy way to increase your consumption of veggies, and you know you need more.
Eat veggies first, protein next, then carbs
The order you eat foods can affect how much of it you eat. Again, filling up on veggies first and then eating your protein will leave less room in your stomach for the carbohydrate on your plate.
Stick to one carb per meal
You don’t need more than one carb serving per meal. Trust me. The simple act of limiting yourself to one carb serving per meal will often create rapid weight loss. It also eliminates the “3 o’clock slump” many people experience when their blood sugar plummets after a high-carb lunch.
Think about breakfast in a new way
The dietary surveys I use with my patients reveal that most people eat 3-5 servings of carbs and no protein every morning before they leave the house. I’m not sure why we associate carbs with breakfast, but we need protein and healthy fats to boost energy and keep us going until lunch. A typical breakfast I see listed includes three or more of the following: bowl of cereal or oatmeal, banana on the cereal, toast, pancakes/waffles, glass of orange juice, fruit smoothie, etc., etc. Mega carbs and zero protein or fats. This creates a syndrome where your blood sugar skyrockets after breakfast, but plummets a few hours later. This can make you hungry and may make you crave sugar around 10 am. Adding protein to your morning regimen can make a huge difference in how you feel mid-morning and right before lunch. Combining protein with healthy carbohydrates for breakfast helps stabilize blood sugars. Having a huge veggie omelet with a single piece of toast is a great option. I know one lady who has guacamole on zucchini slices with a slice of turkey most mornings. She feels great and has lost 10 pounds doing this. For more creative low carb breakfast ideas, read Top 11 Low Carb Breakfasts. Other great breakfast options include:
- An apple with almond butter
- 1 cup of berries in a smoothie with an avocado, handful of spinach and a cucumber
- 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1/2 cup nuts and seeds and 1/2 cup almond milk
- Two eggs and 1/2 cup of mixed berries.
Let yourself think outside of the box and stop eating nothing but carbohydrates for breakfast … you’ll feel and look better as a result. Are you eating to live or living to eat? What changes can you make to help you make better choices at every meal? I wish you luck and success!
I’ve recently received many questions about whether or not Green Coffee Extract and Raspberry Ketones actually work. These questions multiplied after a well-known MD with a nationally-syndicated television show promoted these supplements. I’ve also been receiving multiple spam email messages about both supplements. I confess the spam made me question the validity of these supplements, so I decided I needed to do more research. I also have to admit my research was difficult, as most of the sites containing “research” were also trying to sell one or both of the products.
Update, May 8, 2013: I do not recommend using these supplements. Please do not contact me to ask if I think it’s a good idea for you to take them. I do not, regardless of your health issues. Thank you.
Please be aware there are no “magic bullets.” Weight gain or an inability to lose weight always has a cause. Eliminating the cause is key to finally losing weight. Please read my article, The Top 7 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight, for more information on weight loss and on physiological issues that may prevent it.
If you are struggling with weight loss and need help or coaching, please contact me to schedule a consultation. I have literally helped hundreds of people lose many thousands of pounds. I use an approach that provides coaching and education in nutrition, fitness, metabolic balancing, and eliminating sabotaging thought patterns. I would love to help you reach your health goals. I will not let you fail. Please feel free to contact me at 317.489.0909 or via email. PLEASE NOTE I CANNOT ANSWER MEDICAL QUESTIONS VIA EMAIL. You must schedule a consultation to receive advice.
Very few double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have been done on these supplements. The ones that were done were either very, very small (less than 20 participants) or were done on mice and not humans. The information that follows shares what I found when I researched both supplements. As always, this information is shared for informational purposes only and was not evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness. Please do not take any supplement without first discussing it with your physician and checking for prescription interactions.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
The only study I could find that researched the effectiveness of Green Coffee Bean Extract on weight loss was done by JA Vinson,BR Burnham, and MV Nagendran. This study did find the extract helped with weight loss, but was only conducted on 16 people and was conducted over a very short period of time. In my opinion, a study of 16 people does not qualify as a valid study, as the control group is simply too small to prove the effects would be the same in a larger group. Additionally, I could find zero information on how the “control” group was chosen, which again causes me to question the validity of the study. It is also important to note that the company who paid for the study is a company which manufactures and sells green coffee bean extract. (Please read my article, Simple Ways to Evaluate the Validity of a Research Study for more information on ways to know whether published conclusions are valid or not.)
Potential Positive Benefits of Green Coffee Bean Extract:
- Green coffee bean extract is known to contain many anti-oxidants, which are known to boost health and protect cells from damage from toxins, aging, and free radicals. (That does not mean it helps with weight loss.)
- Green coffee bean extract contains chlorogenic acid, a chemical which is thought to help balance blood sugar levels. (Insulin encourages the body to store fat instead of burning it, so reducing blood sugars and reducing the amount of insulin produced is a proven method of assisting weight loss. However, there is no evidence to prove this supplement works or that it effectively reduces insulin levels.)
- Some studies have shown that green coffee bean extract may help suppress appetite and may have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure.
Potential Negative Effects of Green Coffee Bean Extract:
- The frenzy surrounding green coffee bean extract has caused a multitude of supplements to be released which don’t actually contain green coffee bean extract, which contain harmful fillers or which contain a very low-quality extract. Use caution when purchasing green coffee bean extract and only purchase from highly reliable suppliers.
- Some people respond negatively to the supplement. (Any supplement has the potential to create an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.)
- The supplement does not work for everyone. Physical and hormonal issues preventing weight loss may not be helped by this supplement.
- The caffeine in green coffee bean extract may have a negative affect on some people.
My Conclusions About Green Coffee Bean Extract:
As with most products claiming to boost weight loss, green coffee bean extract is no magic bullet. There are many other methods of reducing insulin in the body, so taking this supplement may boost weight loss efforts a little bit, but won’t produce dramatic results for most people. My recommendation is to follow a low-glycemic eating plan and to use your head. On an interesting side note, roasted coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, so drinking a single, eight ounce cup of ORGANIC coffee may have the same effect as taking these supplements.
The only studies I could find that have been done on raspberry ketones were done on mice, and one was only done on mice who were being fed a high-fat diet. Raspberry ketones have been around for a very long time. The only “new” thing about them is that the marketing. Let’s be honest, the fact a supplement was recommended by a doctor on TV doesn’t mean it works, it just means it gets an insane amount of marketing attention. There is plenty of anecdotal “evidence” stating raspberry ketones assist with weight loss, but I could not find any scientific evidence that proved it.
Potential Positive Benefits of Raspberry Ketones:
- There is some evidence that indicates raspberry ketones might alter the levels of a adinopectin, a hormone that is typically lower in obese people and which has been shown to be a factor in insulin resistance. (Insulin resistance is often a precursor to and major factor in Type 2 Diabetes. That does not mean this supplement helps with weight loss.)
- Raspberry ketones may also stimulate the release of the hormone norepinephrine, an adrenal hormone which affects metabolism. (The problem is that it may negatively affect the adrenal glands and ultimately reduce one’s ability to lose weight.)
- As with green coffee been extract, raspberry ketones do contain anti-oxidants which may have some health benefits, but no weight loss benefits.
Potential Negative Effects of Raspberry Ketones:
- The supplements sold are artificial raspberry ketones created in a lab and are not the real thing
- Norepinephrine can have a very negative effect on health. It can cause anxiety, raise body temperature, and raise blood pressure.
- Stimulating the adrenal glands to release norepinephrine could cause adrenal fatigue, which would ultimately have a very negative effect on weight loss efforts.
- All of the potential negative effects I cited for green coffee bean extract also apply to raspberry ketones.
My Conclusions About Raspberry Ketones:
Similar to the conclusions I drew about green coffee bean extract, I think the claims made about raspberry ketones are all hype. They may assist with weight loss in a very small way, but they are not extremely effective. The fact raspberry ketones affect adrenal hormones concerns me. Adrenal function directly affects weight gain and loss. Taking raspberry ketones has the potential to harm adrenal function, which would ultimately result in weight gain. I can’t honestly recommend taking this supplement. As with any supplement, if you choose to take it, please discuss it with your physician first. Please monitor blood pressure carefully. If elevated blood pressure occurs, or if you begin to notice anxiety or hot flashes after taking it, please discontinue use immediately.
If you are struggling with weight loss and need help or coaching, please contact me to schedule a consultation. (Liability issues prevent me from answering questions or providing advice if you are not an established client.) I have literally helped hundreds of people lose many thousands of pounds. I use an approach that provides coaching and education in nutrition, fitness, metabolic balancing, and eliminating sabotaging thought patterns. I would love to help you reach your health goals. I will not let you fail. Please feel free to contact me at 317.489.0909 or via email
Update added October 24th: Yes, these products can be taken together, but I do not recommend their use. They both do basically the same thing, so taking them simultaneously will not necessarily boost your weight loss efforts. There are much easier ways to lose weight which are free.
This post covers a variety of behaviors and lifestyle habits that people with diabetes rarely tell their doctor. I need to state a disclaimer before diving into this post. Please note I am not condoning the activities and actions I’ve shared below. I’m simply sharing what I know to be true and what I see occur frequently in the diabetic community. Please follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and do not deviate from them.
Most of you know by now that I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes (the auto-immune, insulin-controlled type) for over 45 years. In the time I’ve had it, I’ve devoted years of research to the disease of diabetes. I have also dedicated myself to understanding how diabetes affects a person’s emotions, not just their body. One of the most fascinating things I’ve discovered from chatting with thousands of people with diabetes is that there are some very common habits many of them share, but which few of them tell their medical staff. Some of these habits are harmless, while others could be potentially harmful.
Why do diabetics break the rules? The most common reason is because the rules don’t work for them. Although MDs live in a world of black and white absolutes, every diabetic knows that much of what they’re told about controlling their disease does not work for them or apply to their specific case. Their body never read the diabetes text book and doesn’t do the things the text book says it should. Most of us wish our doctors understood that control is highly individualized and that not all care guidelines work for all people. People with diabetes soon learn which topics are “safe” to discuss with their doctor and which will earn them a quick lecture. They grow weary of being told they’re “wrong” or being told one of the control tactics they rely on “can’t possibly work.” The truth is that every person’s body and lifestyle is highly unique and requires a unique approach to maintaining control. What works for me may not work for anyone else, and what works for them may not work for me. Doctors don’t have time to consider these “gray areas,” so diabetics keep this “secret info” to themselves.
The list that follows includes the top six things I’ve found diabetics rarely tell their doctor. Do you know of others? Please share!
I take a lot of supplements to help control my diabetes
This one is perhaps the most common. I hear this not only from diabetics, but from many different people with many different health conditions. Why do people not tell their doctor about their supplements? People I chat with share one of three basic reasons: 1) They are tired of their doctor telling them the supplement doesn’t work (even though using it has improved their health); 2) They are taking the supplement(s) instead of taking a prescription (see the next point); or 3) They know their doctor doesn’t believe in supplements and don’t want to risk upsetting him or her.
Obviously, it is IMPERATIVE to tell your doctor about every supplement you take. Your MD needs to know what you’re taking so that s/he can advise you about any potential interactions with your prescriptions. A growing group of MDs is learning about supplements and accepting their use. If yours is not one of them, perhaps it’s time to find one who is more accepting of the lifestyle you’ve chosen.
There are a wide variety of supplements that can help people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes maintain better control. However, these supplements must be very carefully researched before being added to one’s regimen. It can be dangerous for a Type 1 diabetic to begin taking supplements without checking their blood sugar more frequently. No one taking a prescription medications should begin taking a supplement without first discussing the potential interactions with their doctor or pharmacist. My favorite resource for researching potential interactions between prescription medications and natural supplements is the PDR for Non-Prescription Drugs, 33rd Edition.
I don’t take some of the prescriptions you write for me
This is another very serious item. If you are not going to take a prescription your doctor prescribed, you must tell him or her. It is your choice to not take a prescription, but you owe your MD the courtesy of being honest about it. When you share this information with your MD, take your research, be direct without being emotional, and make it clear your decision is final. If your MD has an issue with this, perhaps it’s time to find someone who is a better fit for your needs. (On a side note, there are times it may be better to take the prescription. Please do significant research before deciding to not take a prescription. As an example, I take insulin. There are no viable alternatives that are 100% effective, so I consider myself blessed to have it available.)
I don’t use alcohol when I take my shot or check my blood sugar
I can’t say that 100% of diabetics fall into this category, but a huge number of them do. Remembering to pack alcohol swabs is just one more thing on an already long list of items that have to be carted around on a daily basis. Many diabetics have found – contrary to what their MD told them – that not using alcohol doesn’t make much difference. They don’t wind up with skin infections, and their insulin continues working perfectly. It’s a personal choice. (This is only true if they are healthy and are under good control.) From a bird’s eye perspective, I don’t think this is a big deal, provided their blood sugars are under good control, they don’t have any other auto-immune conditions, and they are not in a dirty environment filled with toxins. It’s always best to use alcohol, but the likelihood of developing a complication if none is available is fairly small.
I use my syringes and lancets more than once
Most people are horrified to learn that many diabetics re-use their syringes. Let me make it perfectly clear they are not sharing their needles, they are simply using them twice in order to save money The same is true of the lancets used to prick their finger to check their blood sugar. Is it the best way to treat their disease? No. Is it one that has a huge negative effect? Not really. I don’t recommend it, but based on the hundreds of diabetics I know who do this, the effects are too small to even be measured. Re-using syringes is never a good idea, but the effects will probably be minimal for someone who is under good control, is in a clean environment and who does not have other auto-immune conditions affecting their immunity.
In all honesty, if a diabetic cannot afford syringes and lancets, I’d much rather they re-use them than not take insulin at all. A diabetic who needs insulin and stops taking it will wind up in the hospital and deathly ill very quickly. Diabetics who re-use needles run a risk of infection and run a risk of injecting bacteria into their insulin bottles. The potential for disaster is huge, but the fact is that very few ill effects are seen. I don’t advise re-using syringes, but if you’re in a situation where you’re forced to re-use one, please do not exert much energy to worrying about the after-effects. Again … this does not refer to people sharing needles. I’m not talking about a family of diabetics using each other’s syringes. I’m talking about an individual who re-uses their own syringes.
I leave my insertion set in for more than 3 days and refill my reservoirs
This item applies to people with diabetes who use an insulin pump. Insulin pumps use a reservoir that looks somewhat like a short, squat syringe with no needle. The diabetic fills the reservoir manually and then inserts it into the pump. One end of the reservoir is connected to a long tube. The other end is connected to the body via an insertion set. The insertion set contains a very tiny plastic cannula (a form of tiny needle) that is inserted into the abdomen, arm or buttocks. The pump injects insulin into the diabetic’s body on a continuous basis. The amount of insulin infused into the person’s body is controlled by information the diabetic (or his/her support staff) programs into the pump. Programming the pump and inserting the insertion set is a very simple process. An insulin pump is the closest thing we have to a functioning pancreas.
Most pump companies instruct their users to change insertion sets and reservoirs every three days to avoid infection and to ensure insulin delivery continues at the correct dosage. Many diabetics I know leave their insertion sets in for longer periods. I also know a few who refill their reservoir instead of replacing it. These diabetics swear they can’t tell a difference. (One told me she can leave her insertion set in for more than 10 days before infection develops. I would say that’s pushing the limit on the insertion set’s ability to maintain adequate delivery.)
Why do they do it? It’s very simple. Many diabetics are uninsured, and many are underinsured. Many insurance companies have changed their deductible program and have raised deductibles above $10,000 per family. This means that most diabetics receive NO assistance with their pump supplies, in spite of having insurance. On my insurance plan, our regular prescriptions are filled for a co-pay and don’t apply to the deductible, but my insulin pump supplies do not. My insurance company will not pay a dime toward my supplies until my family meets our $10,000 deductible. There is no logic behind this, as helping their insureds maintain good control is the best way insurance companies can avoid more expensive claims. Almost four billion dollars each year are spent on diabetic amputations. That number could potentially be lowered if insurance companies would re-think their approach to handling insurance claims for basic care needs.
A 90-day supply of infusion sets and reservoirs costs anywhere between $500-900 dollars. That’s a huge expense for many people. It is an expense that motivates many diabetics to stretch a 90-day supply of materials into a 180-day supply or longer. They don’t do it as a form of rebellion; they do it because they have no other choice.
The diet you told me to follow kept my sugars sky high, so I found a new one that works for me
I hear this more than any other concern voiced by people with diabetes. A mother with a 10-year old recently came into my office and said her son’s dietitian recommended he eat seven servings of high-glycemic carbohydrates per day. She said he used over 100 units of insulin per day eating that diet because his blood sugars were so high. He also felt horrible most of the time. I worked with her to create an eating plan her son could easily work into his daily activities. The plan I recommended focused on low-glycemic carbohydrates in smaller quantities. Within two weeks, this young man’s energy had returned to normal levels and his insulin needs had lowered to around 60 units per day. (Lowering the amount of insulin needed to maintain control is helpful because of the hormonal side-effects of insulin.) I’ve also had clients come to my office who said they argued with their diabetes educator because they felt the amount of sugars and carbohydrates they were eating was excessive. These patients typically get a slap on the wrist and are told they must obey. Sadly, many who find they can maintain better control using a different eating style than the one their doctor’s staff recommended are labeled “non-compliant.”
This brings us back to individuality. Every person’s body responds to carbohydrates and other types of foods in different ways. Most people with diabetes know which foods affect them more than others. (For me, a quarter cup of white rice will send my blood sugar through the roof in about five minutes. I can’t eat it, even though it was one of the main foods recommended by the diabetes educator I saw many years ago.) It is impossible to use a “cookie cutter” approach to eating styles for people with diabetes. Each person must start with a basic recommendation and then tweak it to fit their needs. Many endocrinologists and their staffs are not willing to allow their patients to deviate from their strict guidelines. This is sad, because it makes many diabetics think they have to hide things from their endocrinologist.
I recognize and fully expect this post will generate controversy. I’ve shared the truth, but I know many will react in anger. I’m ok with that.
Do you have diabetes? Do you hide things from your doctor? What do you think needs to change in the world of diabetes to encourage more open dialog between endocrinologists/doctors and people with diabetes? I firmly believe change occurs one person at a time. Let’s start here!
*Links in this post are affiliate links shared to provide a visual representation of the mentioned item.
Many people are currently trying to eat less sugar and fewer carbohydrates. The reasons for this are related to attempts to lose weight, eliminate Candida or pursue a new level of wellness. Most of these people look at smoothie recipes and sigh with frustration because they believe it’s impossible to create a delicious smoothie that is low in carbohydrates. (Even carbohydrates from natural fruit sugars can be challenging to anyone with Candida, insulin resistance or diabetes.) It is very possible to make delicious smoothies that are sugar-free, fruit-free and very low in carbohydrates. Fruitless smoothies can be delicious and can easily become a very addicting habit. Fruitless smoothies are the perfect solution for anyone trying to embrace a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, lose weight, reduce Candida overgrowth, etc. The smoothies I’ve shared below are also perfect fits for the Paleo lifestyle which is currently very popular, and make great options for anyone with insulin resistance or diabetes.
A wide variety of creamy, great tasting smoothies can be made without fruit. My breakfast many mornings is a delicious, all-vegetable, smoothie that is low in carbs, high in protein and which keeps me going strong for many hours. This type of smoothie not only provides huge amounts of energy, but also keeps me feeling full until lunch and beyond due to the tremendous nutrition provided. By using a low-carbohydrate, high-protein blend, my bloodsugars stay very stable. Fruit-laden smoothies that don’t contain protein can cause blood sugar spikes. These blood sugar spikes later fall because they don’t have protein to keep them stable. These falls may cause hunger and fatigue mid-morning as blood sugar levels plummet. A combination of carbohydrates with protein creates a slower, smaller rise in blood sugar and helps maintain blood sugar levels at a more stable level.
- Use sweet veggies such as yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, etc., to add natural sweetness to smoothies
- Add avocado to make smoothies creamy and thick without using sugar-laden yogurt
- Use Stevia as a sweetener if needed
- Use neutral tasting veggies such as cucumbers and zucchini to add bulk to smoothies without adding a lot of taste
- Add dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, etc., to increase the nutritional content of smoothies
- Use liquids such as coconut water, aloe vera juice, coconut water kefir, unsweetened nut or coconut milk, the leftover soak water from sundried tomatoes or nuts, or vegetable juices to add flavor, sweetness, and additional nutrition to smoothies
- Add a protein powder to balance blood sugars and extend the feeling of fullness
- Use organic spices to taste to add flavor. Don’t limit yourself to sweet spices … have fun with spicy spices to create soups and gazpachos!
- Strategically add ingredients such as protein powders, green powders, superfoods, seaweeds, powdered greens, maca, raw cacao powder and others to add unique flavor and increase the nutritional content of smoothies.
Vitamineralicious Smoothie Delight
A lack of minerals can wreak havoc on health. The smoothie that follows is rich in minerals from vegetables, but also adds an extra punch by including a liquid trace mineral. You can boost the mineral (electrolyte) content of this smoothie by using coconut water or coconut water kefir as the liquid.
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 scoop Hemp Protein Powder
1 tomato, diced
1 handful kale or spinach (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon organic lemon Juice
1 serving green powder
1 cup unsweetened milk alternative of choice OR 1 cup of coconut water kefir or coconut water
1/2 – 1 cup Purified Water (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
Stevia to taste (optional)
Red Light District Smoothie
This smoothie is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C.
1 diced organic red pepper
1-2 cup(s) water from soaking sun-dried tomatoes, purified water or organic tomato juice (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
1 handful red lettuce
1 teaspoon organic Cinnamon
1 avocado (optional)
Stevia to taste (optional) or experiment with many flavored stevias
Diabetic Chocolate Shake
This smoothie is delicious! Add ice to make it more like a shake. If you really want to make it shake-like, add a scoop of So Delicious Dairy-Free Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream. (It’s to die for! That’s not an affiliate link … I just love their products!) Be aware that adding the coconut ice cream will increase the carbohydrate content of this shake.
1/2 cup organic cacao powder or organic cocoa
1/2 – 1 cups unsweetened milk alternative of choice
Stevia to taste (I use chocolate liquid stevia)
Experts estimate that 80% of the US population is deficient in Magnesium, a very basic mineral that is essential for good health and which is used by every system in the body.
A lack of Magnesium in the body may cause any of the following:
The problem with these symptoms is that many are very vague and most could be caused by a wide variety of other issues. Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for a medical professional to consider a magnesium deficiency and act accordingly when faced with symptoms that indicate one. Additionally, plasma levels of magnesium measured during blood tests are very inaccurate because only 1% of magnesium in the body is stored in the blood. The majority of magnesium in the body is stored in the tissues, making blood tests almost worthless. We live in a society where mainstream physicians are taught to place more weight on blood test results than on symptoms, which makes it even less likely that a person exhibiting multiple symptoms of magnesium deficiency will be given magnesium. (There is a blood test that is more accurate, the ionized magnesium test, but it is not widely available.)
As the huge list of symptoms indicates, magnesium is necessary for the proper functioning of every body system. A deficiency can have devastating consequences. Magnesium is the most prolific mineral in the body and is responsible for almost 400 different biochemical reactions in the body. A short list of the body functions magnesium directly influences include:
- Allows the body to absorb calcium and to place it where it belongs
- Essential for the production of energy
- Essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats
- Relaxes muscles so they remain flexible
- Essential for the activation of B vitamins
- Helps build bone and keep it flexible enough to not shatter
- Helps maintain a normal electrical flow of nerve impulses in the heart
- Essential for hormone balance (especially during PMS and menopause)
- Essential for initiation over 300 different enzyme reactions essential for health
- Essential for proper digestion
- Essential for the production of key brain chemicals
- Essential for normal kidney and liver function
Obviously, you need magnesium. If you eat a standard diet, drink alcohol, or drink coffee, you are probably magnesium deficient. Many people are magnesium deficient because of digestive disorders and malabsorption. (Please read Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion for tips on improving digestion.)
It is possible to maintain adequate magnesium levels by eating high levels of dark leafy greens, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds on a daily basis. If you’re eating well and don’t have absorption problems, you’re probably not deficient. If you don’t eat well, drink alcohol or can’t get by without your daily cup of java, you need to be getting supplemental magnesium other ways. (Coffee and alcohol sap the body of magnesium very quickly. It is not unusual for alcoholics to have anxiety and sleep disorders as a result of their magnesium deficiency.)
Drinking a daily Green Drink is a wonderful way to get sufficient magnesium and other essential nutrients. If you don’t care for the taste of green drinks (which taste like grass, to be blunt), try Green Vibrance Capsules by Vibrant Health. It is one of my favorites and is one I use frequently.
If you prefer to increase your magnesium using supplements, do NOT take Magnesium Oxide. It is a form of oxide that your body cannot absorb. It is worthless. Read labels and make sure whichever supplement you purchase does not contain magnesium oxide. Most people do best taking 200-800 mg of magnesium on a daily basis. I recommend starting with 200/day and very gradually working up (not exceeding 1200 mg) until your symptoms disappear. Having loose stools is a good indicator that you’re taking too much. If you develop diarrhea, take less magnesium.
I recommend doing or using the following to increase magnesium levels, in conjunction with a healthy diet:
- Take a very warm bath three times weekly with 2-3 cups of Epsom salts in the bath. Your skin will absorb the magnesium, eliminating the need for it to be absorbed through the digestive system.
- Use Magnesium Oil: Magnesium oil is not an oil, but has an oily feeling due to the high concentration of magnesium in the liquid. Note that it is necessary to use high doses of magnesium oil in order to receive a high amount of magnesium. Most oils need to be used in doses of eight sprays, three times daily.
- Take Magnesium Glycinate: Magnesium Glycinate is one of the more easily absorbed forms of magnesium. The magnesium molecule is bonded with glycine, which is an amino acid. The human digestive tract is maximized to absorb amino acids, and glycine is known to improve digestion, so the combination of the magnesium and the glycine greatly increases the absorption levels. The amount of glycine absorbed is minimal, so please do not use magnesium glycinate instead of a glycine supplement if you need supplemental glycine.
My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies and other causes of illness. I have helped thousands of people improve their health, reverse symptoms and reduce their need for medication. If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none were intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Check with your medical practitioner before starting or stopping any supplement or medication.
Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 120.
Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Many people do not realize the prescription they are taking to address one health issue is depleting nutrients that may cause other health problems. Unfortunately, few patients are told about nutritional deficiencies that can be caused by prescriptions. This results in health issues developing which may be a mystery but which can typically be reversed very quickly simply by replenishing the nutrient that was depleted by the prescription medication. In a strange twist of fate, many of the prescription medications I listed below deplete the body of a nutrient that is essential for preventing or controlling the very condition the prescription is used to remedy. Unfortunately, many doctors are not aware of the nutritional deficiencies caused by the medications they prescribe. As a patient, it is imperative to look up each prescription medication you take to see if you should be supplementing to replace what it is depleting. In my office, I review each client’s prescriptions medications to ensure they are taking measures to prevent a potential deficiency.
The table that follows provides a list of just a few of the most common prescriptions that can cause a nutritional deficiency. I’ve provided information about the prescription medication, the nutrient(s) it is known to deplete in the body, and information on which supplement might be used to help counteract or prevent deficiencies. I’ve shown one possible supplement per deficiency, but many options exist. I’ve merely shown the one I like or use personally. Please note this is a very tiny list and is not complete. If you’d like to pick up a book providing excellent, detailed information on deficiencies caused by prescriptions, I highly recommend Suzy Cohen’s Drug Muggers: Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients and Natural Ways to Restore Them.
Please also note this table does not list interactions which may occur between foods or supplements taken with prescriptions. Please consult your MD, read the information that comes with your prescriptions, and research to determine which supplements and foods should never be taken with your prescription medications.
NOTE: This information is being shared for educational purposes only. If this information concerns you, please discuss it with your MD before making any changes to your care plan. Please DO NOT begin taking any supplements without checking with your MD. Additionally, never stop taking a prescription medication or alter the dosage without the express consent of your MD or other healthcare practitioner. None of these statements were reviewed by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.
Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Prescription Medications
|Medication||Deficiency Caused||Potential Source of Replenishment|
||Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)||Co-Enzyme Q10 is essential for heart health, so it is concerning that statin and drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes cause a severe depletion in this nutrient. Some studies indicate congestive heart failure’s base cause is a deficiency in CoQ10. If you take a statin drug of any of the antidiabetics listed, I strongly encourage you to take a Ubiquinol Supplement on a daily basis. I recommend taking .5-1mg per pound of body weight. Your body must convert CoQ10 into Ubiquinol in order to absorb it, so it is much more efficient to simply take the Ubiquinol.
*Almost all antibiotics deplete Vitamin B12. A complete list would not fit in this table.
|Vitamin B12||There are many differing opinions about how much Vitamin B12 a person should take to replenish a deficiency caused by a prescription medication. Luckily, Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, so it is very difficult to develop an excess without taking ridiculously high amounts. My recommendation is to take a minimum of 2000mcg of sublingual, Methylcobalamin B12 on a daily basis. I also recommend having your B12 levels checked every three months if you are taking a medication known to deplete B12. Please see my post, Surprising Facts You Need to Know About Vitamin B12 for more information about how important Vitamin B12 is and how many health issues may result from a deficiency.
||Magnesium||Magnesium is essential for lowering blood pressure, yet almost all blood pressure medications deplete the body of this essential nutrient. Seems somehow backward, doesn’t it? Several studies found that 70-85% of the US population – children included – are magnesium deficient. (See my post Why You Need More Magnesium for more information on the importance of Magnesium and information on which types are most beneficial.)
||Melatonin||Oddly enough, Melatonin is a hormone that is essential for maintaining serotonin balance and for maintaining a positive outlook. Deficiencies can cause depression and insomnia, and may also increase the effects of aging because Melatonin is such a strong antioxidant. Dosage of Melatonin varies from person to person. I generally recommend starting with 1-3 mg each night and increasing the dosage (up to 10 mg) until restful sleep is easily attained. If you take Melatonin and it does nothing for you, that’s a good indicator that you are not deficient. However, most people taking anti-anxiety medications are deficient and find their symptoms improve very quickly once a Melatonin supplement is started.
Please read Facts About Iron-Deficiency Anemia to learn more about combating anemia.
|A word of warning about iron: Do not take an iron supplement unless you know you need it. Additionally, iron may interfere with the absorption of many prescription medications. (One example is that it should never be taken with thyroid medications such as Synthroid or Armour.) For best absorption and to prevent interactions with medications, I recommend taking iron supplements on an empty stomach, at least two hours before or after taking prescription medications.Many forms of over-the-counter iron supplements are almost impossible to absorb. This is why many of them cause constipation. I prefer to use forms of iron which are very easily absorbed and therefore do not cause digestive upset or constipation. My recommendation is to never purchase iron supplements from standard drugstores, as I have yet to find one that carries iron in a form that is easily absorbed. (Please let me know if you find one!)
Have you suffered from a nutritional deficiency you later learned was due to a prescription? How did you counteract it? If you’re taking one of the medications listed, I’m curious to know if your doctor told you in advance about the possibility that it might cause a deficiency? Were you warned and given a list of recommended supplements? I hope you were!
My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies and other causes of illness. I have helped thousands of people improve their health, reverse symptoms and reduce their need for medication. If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
Please note that the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links but that my use of an affiliate link in no way encouraged my listing of these supplements. They truly are my favorite supplements, most of which I use myself.