The Diabetes Control & Complications
Trial established that diabetics won't get complications if the blood sugar
is normal, but their six times elevated risk of heart disease remains. Hence, I
take supplements to protect me from heart disease, as well as to protect my
general health. If there should be any doubt about vitamin status, the truth
can be determined with the Spectracell
test which looks at how long white blood cells survive in growth medium low in
one nutrient: If the cells die quickly, there can be no doubt of a
deficiency in that nutrient. If taking supplements for a period of time doesn't
improve the test result, I change the brand of supplement until the test
The antioxidants lessen free radical
activity and so retards ageing. I think of them protecting my fat
from rancidity (called "lipid peroxidation")
and preventing damage to my DNA. Diabetics have more
damaged DNA, which means they have inadequate antioxidant protection. Age
spots mean excess free radical activity. Antioxidants help with heart
disease because oxidized LDL cholesterol is closely correlated with heart
disease, and because they normalize the excessive clotting tendency of
diabetics' blood (better than aspirin) which lessens heart attacks.
The antioxidants work as a team: vitamin C
revitalizes vitamin E and the others, and is itself revitalized by a
selenium-dependant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase.
Vitamin A and its precursor, beta-carotene, protect the skin and mucous
membranes. Vitamin C protects the watery parts like the blood serum, E protects the cell membranes, and so on. You can,
however, have too much of a good thing - after all, without the oxidation of
glucose, we'd have no way to power our metabolic processeses.
- Vitamin C: 2+ grams:
the studies are crystal clear: the more C, the less disease, and one
fourth of all Americans get less than 65% of the RDA
of 60mg, which is itself far too low! Vitamin C transport
is insulin-dependent, which is to say that insulin resistance causes some
sort of intra-cellular scurvy. Beyond correcting the diabetic tendency
towards increased clotting, C lessens infections, allergies, heart
disease and stroke, heart attacks, gout, gallstones, obesity,
cataracts and glaucoma. It supports the adrenal glands, improves wound
healing and lowers blood pressure,
blood sugar and glycosolated hemoglobin. Should
be taken with the bioflavonoid quercetin with
which it is found in food. The sicker you are, the more you need.: before
antibiotics, it was used in India in intravenous 100 gram quantities to
combat cholera which killed almost all the control group
who received no C. I take it buffered with calcium and magnesium. Vitamin
C blocks the so-called sorbitol
pathway more effectively than the prescription drug aminoguanidine
without its side effects, lessening complications such as cataracts.
- Vitamin E: 800IU
lessens inflamation, cataracts, macular
degeneration, lung problems and neuropathy while protecting against heart
disease by both lowering LDL
cholesterol and lessening its oxidation. Lowers glycosolation,
triglycerides and clotting tendency. Low vitamin E raises the chance of
contracting Type II diabetes by four times.
- beta-carotene: I
hope I get plenty from the colored vegetables I eat, like green, red and
yellow peppers because the fall of beta-carotene levels with age is associated with
at least 200 mcg per day because it's vital for the kind of immunity which
protects against cancer, and levels fall with age.
acid: has been used in Europe with great
success to lower glycosolation.
One or more of the carbohydrate metabolism factors are
probably depleted in every diabetic:
- The Vitamins B work together
and so should be taken as a team. I take a supplement containing 100mg
of the major players. The Bs are depleted by
diuretics, cooking, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. B1 (thimain) protects against and reverses neuropathy and cardiomyopathy. B2 is an antioxidant and regenerates
glutathione, a major player in detoxification; low levels of B2 appear to
cause cracks at the corners of the mouth. B3 (niacinamide) lowers insulin requirement and preserves
beta cells at high doses; supplements cut Type I diabetes by 50% in
schoolchildren; B6 (pyridoxine) acts as a diuretic and
lowers blood pressure while dilating the blood vessels by promoting
beneficial prostaglandins; stabilizes the blood sugar and lessens
clotting, glycosolation and homocysteine (a
strong risk factor for heart attacks and strokes: the Harvard Physicians
with the lowest levels had 50% more heart attacks); also helps carpal
tunnel syndrome and improves memory. Folic acid is widely deficient, and, with B6 and B12,
a strong risk factor for heart disease; also helps in peripheral vascular
disease and phlebitis. B12 is depleted in vegetarians and
by smoking and ageing; a deficiency can mimic neuropathy and Alzheimers or present as depression or insomnia;
lowers homocysteine. Biotin at heroic doses of 15 mg or
more halts neuropathies, leg cramps and restless leg syndrome, and lowers
insulin requirements by lowering blood sugar - it acts like insulin.
400 mcg taken as picolinate or glucose tolerance
factor lowers insulin resistance in those people deficient in it by
increasing insulin receptor activity, probably the people who are depleted
in it. Chromium is so low as to be indetectable
in the aortas of heart attack victims, but present in the aortas of
accident victims. Sugar (but not unrefined carbohydrates) causes its excretion,
and it is very difficult to replenish the body's store with supplements.
- Vanadyl sulfate at 25mg to 100mg per day somehow
mimics insulin's action and lowers insulin. The effect persists for some
weeks after ceasing its administration.
- Magnesium (I
take 600mg) is necessary for prostacyclin and
prostaglandin E1 production, which dilate the blood vessels and lessen the
clotting tendency; further, it lessens the excitability of the heart
muscle, lowers blood pressure, corrects irregular heart rhythms, lessens
the clotting tendency, and stabilizes the blood sugar. Together, these
effects reduce the chances of heart attack and a host of other health
threats. Depleted soils and food refining means that most people get less
than the RDA. Since magnesium isn't
stored, the body clearly expects it to be present in every bite - and
every episode of magnesium deficiency is likely to do more damage. With this
many benefits and such a clear cut national deficiency, I can't understand
why nothing (except "further monitoring" by the USDA) is
being done about it.
(10mg) is usually low in diabetics which worsens
glucose handling. The heart muscle is depleted of manganese in heart
disease. Manganese also has an antioxidant function in Mn-SOD,
the manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase enzyme which protects the mitochondria, the
tiny cellular fireplaces in which glucose and fatty acids are burned for
deficiency severely worsens glucose tolerance and raises insulin levels.
I'm don't test as deficient so I don't take it.
However, copper supplements should be chelated
because copper ions actually promote free radical production in the
so-called Fenton reaction. This is also true of iron - taking the ferrous
sulfate which is often prescribed for anemia is fraught with risk
according to what I read in Antioxidant Adaptation, its
Role in Free Radical Pathology (Steven Levine and Parris Kidd, Allergy Research Group, 1985). Copper
and zinc work together in CuZn-SOD, the enzyme
which protects against free radicals within the cell outside the
- Calcium and
magnesium work as a team, so I take them in a 1:1 ratio.
- Zinc (20mg)
is essential for immunity and wound healing, and has a vital antioxidant
function with copper.
The essential fatty acids are the first to be burned for
energy when the glucose metabolism is compromised, and so are generally
depleted in diabetics:
- Evening Primrose Oil
provides gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the
precursor of the beneficial prostaglandin E1 which dilates the blood
vessels and lessens the clotting tendency; thus, it lowers blood pressure,
lessens the risk of heart disease and combats the deterioration of ageing.
GLA production falls with age, and is inhibited by high blood sugar and
low magnesium or zinc. Most diabetics have a blockage of the D6D enzyme
which makes GLA. This diagram from my book Food for Vitality
shows how evening primrose
oil corrects the metabolic blockage in diabetes; and this one shows
that you'll likely feel terrible if your prostaglandin
E1 is low.
- The Omega 3 fatty
acids cause my insulin resistance to skyrocket if I take them as
supplements, so I eat cold ocean fish like salmon and sardines instead.
Flaxseed contains the basic omega 3 fatty acid, linolenic acid, but cold ocean fish have the
elaborate derivatives needed for brain structure and so forth already
And finally, I take these because they help me sleep:
is released from the pineal gland when the lights go out; it is made from
the neurotransmitter serotonin while the lights are on.
- 5-hydroxy tryptophan or 5-HTP is the immediate precursor
of serotonin and passes through the blood-brain barrier, boosting supplies
of serotonin. Low serotonin is associated with irritability and
depression, and very low levels are found in the homicidal. 5-HTP is as
effective or more effective at raising serotonin as the popular Serotonin
Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac.
Can There Be Any Doubt?
The Third Report on Nutrition Monitoring in the United
States found vitamin E intake to be below
the RDA for all groups, while vitamin B6,
folic acid, zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium and selenium were below the RDA
or were low in serum in subgroups. This nutritional catastrophe deserves
immediate action but instead there are only recommendations for further
That the food supply has less than the RDA
of a nutrient doesn't necessarily mean a deficiency. Nevertheless, studies show
that diabetics are, in fact, often depleted. However,
the American Diabetes Association maintains that supplements are unnecessary,
"People with diabetes have the same requirements for
vitamins and minerals as people without diabetes. If you are eating a variety
of foods, rich in vegetables, fruits, cereals, and grains, then you are most
likely getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Large doses of
micronutrients have not been shown to help diabetes or blood glucose control.
In fact, large doses of some vitamins, especially those that are fat soluble,
can be harmful. If you think you may not be getting all the vitamins and
minerals you need, check with your dietician before resorting to supplements. A
few changes in your food choices may correct any nutritional deficiency." American Diabetes Association Complete
Guide to Diabetes 1997 p. 240-41
I let my membership lapse when I read this in a prior edition. No possible
interpretation of the scientific literature cited here supports any part of
this extraordinary statement. If someone drinks a huge amount of water, he will
lose vitamins and minerals in his excess urine. When a
diabetic's blood sugar exceeds his kidneys' "renal threshold", urine
output increases, carrying vitamins and minerals out of the body along with the
excess glucose. Even well-controlled diabetics have high blood sugar
from time to time, so one might expect diabetics tend to be low in
micronutrients, especially those relevant to diabetic complications such as
magnesium (heart disease), zinc (poor immunity) and chromium (insulin
resistance). And this is what is found.
Since diabetics have difficulty metabolizing glucose, their cells turn to
fats for energy. The essential fatty acids are the easiest to burn, so most
diabetics are deficient in them. Diabetic neuropathy responds to
essential-oil-rich evening primrose oil and the vitamin which helps its metabolisation, B6.
As to large doses of fat-soluble vitamins being potentially harmful, such
harm has actually been reported vanishingly rarely.
A likely reference for the ADA
stance (note similarity of the first line) reads as follows:
The nutritional requirements of people with diabetes do not
differ from those of the population at large. However, people with diabetes
have an increased prevalence of disease requiring special consideration such as
hypertension, renal failure, and congestive heart failure; additionally, the
use of diuretics and other medications may affect requirements for vitamins and
minerals. NIDDM is most common in older generations in whom general nutrition
may not be adequate. International Life Sciences
Institute Present Knowledge in Nutrition 7th ed. 1996
What a contrast!
The ILSI is conservative to a fault but they make the ADA
look wildly prejudiced, in the sense of having formed an adverse opinion
without examination of the facts. Curiously, the major contributors to the ADA
are the suppliers of insulin, needles, glucose meters and the other
paraphernalia of diabetes care, while the trustees of the International Life
Sciences Institute come from the major food refiners.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Good
It is sobering to think of the sickness and premature death consequent on
the American Diabetes Association's recommendation of a low fat, high
carbohydrate diet without supplements. Had the ADA
stuck to its original ketogenic diet for the
treatment of diabetes, it seems likely to me that complications of diabetes
would be rare today instead of epidemic, even without supplements. The numbers
are staggering, and the human tragedy they represent is heart breaking.
I think I prefer my own advice:-
Diabetics are almost all nutritionally depleted because
vitamins and minerals are lost in their urine, because they generally have
medical conditions which increase requirements, because their bodies burns more
essential fatty acids for energy, and because diabetics' diets are often
themselves deficient. The optimum levels of some protective vitamins cannot be
achieved with food alone. Supplements can dramatically lessen the risk of heart
disease and stroke in diabetics, and correction of deficiencies can, along with
exercise, lessen the severity of the condition.
Back to Home, or on to what this
diet does: ketosis ...