Most people think ‘sugar disorders” is another term for diabetes, but what leads up to diabetes can cause many problems, even before you get to the “diabetic” issues. Decreased circulation with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, etc., as well as numbness and tingling in the extremities and a decrease in the body’s ability to heal are all considered to be issues associated with diabetes, but there are several other phases of sugar disorders that can occur even before a diagnosis of diabetes is given.
The first phase of “sugar imbalance” is hypoglycemia: at times, a person’s blood sugar goes too low because their system is unable to keep a steady supply of sugar in the blood. This comes about from eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, etc. This, combined with missing meals and life stress, adds up to hypoglycemia.
“Susan” was a 26-year-old housewife who was referred to me by a psychologist, who believed that she really had no emotional problems but that her anxiety and panic attacks were a physical problem. Susan also suffered from a week of premenstrual symptoms, including breast tenderness and swelling, moodiness and water weight gain. At different times of the day she would feel tired and mentally foggy. Other times she would feel shaky with a heightened sense of anxiety, which could lead to a panic attack. At those times she could also feel irritable.
As I guided her to do, Susan followed a strict diet. She eliminated candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, soda, fruit juice, canned fruit and dried fruit. She also cut out all white flour and white rice. She ate a complex carbohydrate combined with a protein every four hours. She was advised to take some basic supplements, especially Vitamin C. She returned to my office in six weeks. She sat down and said, I’m fine!” I said, “What do you mean you’re fine? She said, emphatically, “I’m fine! I have no more anxiety, no panic attacks and I barely knew when my last period was coming!”
Susan’s is a classic case of hypoglycemia, unusual only in that most of her symptoms resolved in six weeks. It usually takes three to six months to overcome these symptoms.
Patients often are surprised when I discuss hypoglycemia with them, as they come to know that their symptoms of PMS are related to this condition, as well as other problems such as fibrocystic breasts, heavy menstrual bleeding with cramps, fibroids, endometriosis and other female problems. The relationship occurs since the hypoglycemia places a strain on the adrenal glands causing them to put out more cortisone. In order for the adrenal glands to put out more cortisone, they will “steal” progesterone from the latter half of the female cycle, leaving an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone resulting in these and even more female problems. Sometimes it is necessary to give a woman natural progesterone for at least a period of time to help even out this imbalance and relieve her symptoms.
Adult Onset Diabetes
“Melvin” is a 75-year-old man who came to me when he was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes. He also had high blood pressure and a heart problem, both treated with medication. I knew Melvin for years as a friend of the family. He was interested in the “new” way I was practicing medicine but always said it would be too many changes for him. When his internist told him he was diabetic and that his fasting blood sugar was 176, and that both his cholesterol and triglycerides exceeded 250, he was worried. He was a retired optometrist. In over 40 years of practice, he had seen many patients lose vision and even go blind from diabetes.
Melvin told me he was now ready to make changes. He went on the same diet as noted above, no sugar in any form except fresh fruit, and no refined carbohydrates. A food and allergy test was performed and he stayed away from his reactive items. The difficulty came when I suggested he take a number of supplements. He said that he could not swallow more than six vitamins a day; they made him gag.
I told Melvin that diabetes has recently been characterized as an autoimmune disorder. This means that the tissues and even cells have become “leaky” to a point where the body’s own immune system sees them as foreign. Further, since the body has been under stress, the cells stop recognizing insulin.
This is termed “insulin resistance.” Insulin in essence is a growth factor. When the system is under stress (whether it be “sugar stress,” allergy stress, or life stress) the body does not utilize growth factors. Both of the above factors, diabetes as an autoimmune disorder and insulin resistance, come about because the system is in disrepair. The body needs nutrients to do its repair work. I mentioned to Melvin that we could give him nutrients intravenously. He asked, “What do I have to do?” I said, “Just sit there.” He said “Great!” It is now a year since instituting these treatments, including a series of IV treatments twice per year. This patient’s cholesterol and triglycerides are both less than 200. His fasting blood sugar is now less than 100 (normal). He is thrilled. Even more exciting, he says that for the first time in years his feet do not become painfully cold when he walks outside in the winter. Since suffering a case of frostbite “in the war,” his feet have hurt in cold weather. Further, Melvin can now walk twice as far without chest pain or shortness of breath. All of this was accomplished without prescription medication!
Recently, a patient asked me if she could ever add sugar back She was referring to refined sugars, not fresh fruit. I replied that after her symptoms resolved, and her “repair” work was done, then most likely her system could tolerate it on occasion. Refined sugar as well as white flour play into health problems by causing stress on several hormone systems. The answer to the craving for sugar is vitamin C. In most instances, adequate doses of vitamin C will reduce or even eliminate sugar cravings. For most of my patients, determining the optimal level of vitamin C also results in an increase in energy, decreases in pain, and an improved immune system.
In every instance, making adjustments to the intake of food, vitamins, supplements, and natural hormones in the pursuit of good health is highly individualized, and is best done successfully with the guidance of a well-trained health care professional.