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Saturday, June 9, 2012

[AlternativeAnswers] Dr Bate's Weekly Newsletter -6/9 - Vitamins/Minerals for Diabetes

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 28, 2012

*Substituting Vitamins and Supplements for Pharmaceuticals in Type 2

Commentary by Stuart Lindsey, PharmD

(OMNS May 28, 2012) Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the
drugstore, we are going to question authority yet again. Readers may
remember Dr. Stuart Lindsey as the Frustrated Pharmacist (
http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n05.shtml). He's back and at it
once more, this time presenting an important supplement-based approach to
type 2 diabetes. This essay presents ideas that are very possibly a large
part of the solution. As with all OMNS releases, it is not meant to
substitute for medical advice. Persons should consult their own doctor
before making any health decision. - Andrew W. Saul, Editor

The current treatment of diabetes is among the least successful in
medicine, despite billions of dollars spent on research. Many scientists
make a career of studying diabetes. Medicine has succeeded in making
diabetes very expensive for the patient while making the disease a cash cow
for the numerous businesses that cater to the diabetic. We should expect to
see some improvement in diabetic treatment, but in fact the basic protocols
haven't changed much in twenty years. Is research getting close to a
solution? In my opinion as a practicing pharmacist, the answer is no.

For fifteen years I was the pharmacy manager for an independent
neighborhood drug store. I saw the results of many people over the long
term as they were introduced to the "sugar-med treadmill." After prolonged
consumption of their diabetic medications, their health did not improve.
This was disturbing to me. The long term diabetics all seemed to have the
same group of symptoms: they were overweight (due to hyper-insulinemia),
edematous (having swelling under the skin), and they all suffered from poor
exercise tolerance and had a generally unhealthy appearance. Many of them
had peripheral neuropathy (malfunction of nerves), often associated with
pain in their hands and feet. Only rarely did they believe their diabetes
treatment was actually improving their health.

My interest in the lack of results from standard treatment of diabetes came
into sharp focus when pain in my feet led to my being diagnosed with type 2
diabetes. From my observations at work, I already knew that the drug
treatments for peripheral neuropathy were questionable. Introducing
amitriptyline, gabapentin and Lyrica, which are sedatives and pain killers,
made the people sleep a lot. Medically, it's obvious that sedating nerves
doesn't solve anything. When such patients step up to daily long term
narcotics and finally get some pain relief, they still haven't solved their

Current medical practice relies on the HgbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) level
as a measure of blood sugar over several months. The glycated hemoglobin is
caused by high levels of sugar binding to hemoglobin inside red blood
cells. When it builds up, this means that the body's biochemicals and
organs are being damaged by too much sugar. It was interesting to note how
many of the diabetic patients were in the normal range (i.e. HgbA1c < 6.5)
but were still in agony over their feet. The problem was that seeing a
normal value of HgbA1c, the doctor would hesitate to change the treatment.
Apparently, severe foot pain wasn't a symptom that needed attention.

I decided to explore the whole HgbA1c issue. The biggest argument you see
in diabetes is that diabetes is a 'disposal' issue. A high level of blood
sugar is a type of metabolic malfunction that needs to be corrected. Blood
sugar has a geography problem. The body seems driven to urinate the sugars
out of the body instead of jamming the sugars across supposedly
malfunctioning membranes and burning the sugars intracellularly. Medical
practice can apply insulin and many types of drugs to insure that the
body's tissues metabolize the sugars. Most current diabetic research is
targeted at 'breaching the barrier' and making the supposedly
malfunctioning membranes more permeable to carbohydrates. When those extra
sugar calories are crammed into cells you get advanced glycation
end-products (AGE's) that are a threat to the body.

In 2005, a UK researcher named Paul Thornalley wrote a paper detailing how
many diabetic symptoms are due to a deficiency of thiamine (B-1).[1]
Elevated blood sugar promotes a type of toxicity in the kidneys that causes
thiamine to be excreted by the kidney at a rate much higher (sixteen to
twenty-five times higher) than normal, leading to an acute deficiency of
thiamine. From other studies, it is known that deficiencies in all B
vitamins, as well as vitamin C and D are common in diabetics.[2] This can
cause most of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which include:
polyneuropathy, nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (eye damage) and
eventually heart failure. This raises the question of whether the symptoms
are from diabetes or acute beriberi?

When I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, I immediately balked at taking
the standard diabetic drugs. My doctor wanted to place me on statins,
metformin and Byetta, all of which I refused to take. Having researched Dr.
Thornalley's theory of diabetes being an acute thiamine deficiency, I
started a regimen of vitamin and mineral supplements. Although the pain in
my feet was quite severe, I wanted to avoid the regular drug regimen
because it relied upon taking lots of pain killers that don't cure the
problem. I reasoned that when the body's B vitamin levels are depleted due
to high blood sugar, replenishing body stores through diet alone is
difficult, so supplementation will be necessary.

I started taking a dietary supplement of thiamine (benfotiamine, 250mg
4x/day). I also added of vitamin B-6 (250mg/day) and pyridoxal 5 phosphate
(P5P, 100mg/day) magnesium (aspartate, citrate, malate, or chloride) and
acetyl-l-carnitine (1000 mg/day) depending on the severity of my peripheral
neuropathy symptoms. More recently I've learned of the importance of taking
vitamin C to reduce inflammation and prevent oxidation from high blood
sugar levels.[2] My doctor did not approve of my self-treatment but was
curious. I told him that I was willing to go back to the standard of care
if this didn't work.

"Positive factors for treating type 2 diabetes are magnesium, exercise,
weight control, chromium, dietary fiber, the B-vitamins, vitamin E,
vanadium, vitamin C, and complex carbohydrates. I have been using the
positive factors for the past 40 years. When patients followed such a
program, the results are very good." Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD [3]

The most overt of the neuropathy symptoms started to subside rapidly.
Within a week, the shooting pains in my ankles were mostly gone. All of the
other symptoms of numbness of the toes and overall pain of the feet
including the "boot effect" (the feeling that you have your boots or socks
on) were mostly gone in three weeks. Now I know this treatment may not be a
cure for diabetes. But it is a valid and reasonably inexpensive way to
control the symptoms, which are held at bay as long as you keep your
thiamine levels high. If you quit taking thiamine and the other B vitamins,
the symptoms come roaring back.

I looked for the inevitable deterioration of my health that had been
predicted. Ignore your blood sugar levels at your peril I was told. I was
going to have kidney problems, my pancreas would stop cooperating and my
vision would become blurry as the elevated sugars damaged my retinas. But
the only sign of an active problem was the neuropathies in my feet which
were quite painful at times: numbness of my toe area and shooting pains in
my foot joints. I also had the feeling that the circulation of my feet was
poor as my feet were always cold.

After two years I finally got blood tests. I still felt very good having
lost some weight, with no vision problems, and my energy level and
psychological attitude were all fine.I was actually afraid to look at the
results and finding out that I had finally outsmarted myself and got hurt.
There is a quite a propaganda machine built around the treatment of
diabetes. As I drove over to retrieve my blood tests I did a mental check
of how I felt. I decided I couldn't have a lot wrong with me as I just felt
too good. My blood tests were amazingly free of problems related to
elevated blood sugar, and I had few other related discernible health
defects. This thiamine treatment did not change my HgbA1c (which is
currently 9.1, and that is high) or my resting blood sugars (fasting blood
sugars still between 180-190, and those also are high). Values like these
are supposed to indicate a poor quality of health. My recent blood tests

Creatinine, urine 86.7mg/dl. Scale 20-370; low normal.
Microalbumin/Creatinine ratio 9.2mg/GCr. Scale 0-30; low normal.

Creatinine and microalbumineria values are the so called "Canary in the
Coal Mine" indicators. The kidneys are supposed to go first when Advanced
Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) have started your march to health failure
because you didn't keep your HgbA1c values within range. I think my
two-plus years is long enough for this to play out. I had my eyes checked
for sugar damage to my retinas. I have no sugar damage to my eyes
whatsoever. I am 61 years old and have 20-25 vision in both eyes. Jonathan
Wright, MD, is among those who have noted that skin tags may be connected
to diabetes; interestingly enough the skin tags on my arms have all

However, my health hasn't failed due to hyperglycemia, although it is still
a problem. In my case, the unusual positive results are evidently due to my
nutritional approach. I substituted supplements of several essential
nutrients for pharmaceuticals and stayed in relatively good health. And I
continue to try supplementing with other nutrients such as antioxidants
which are known to help prevent diabetes. [2] This suggests that the health
issues are actually caused by nutritional deficiencies that can be easily

I am hoping this simple (and non-toxic) experiment on myself will lead the
field to discussing the validity of substituting vitamins in diabetes
treatment. The treatment of diabetes as it now stands is complicated and
expensive. I am spending about $130/month on supplements, and during this
two year experiment I have not given my doctor a single dime for advice on
how to regulate my HgbA1c value. I imagine I've saved more than twice that
amount by avoiding paying for drugs and doctor visits. Is this justified?
If my health remains good and I have no other serious problems, I believe
it is.

If all diabetics would supplement with B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E,
and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, they would lessen their
problems with insulin and blood sugar, and the other serious symptoms of
diabetes.[2] The reason is that most people in our society, especially
including diabetics, have deficiencies of these essential nutrients that
are known to be related to diabetes. But this essay is also an attempt to
unseat some basic tenets of the medical fiasco known as diabetes. The
prevalence in 2011 of type II world-wide according to the World Health
Organization (WHO) is 346 million, and some 3.4 million people dies in 2004
as a consequence of the disease. The WHO predicts that the deaths
attributable to diabetes will double between 2005 and 2030. [4] With this
kind of projection a "Manhattan Project" kind of response seems necessary.

So what is the intellectual problem that seems so intractable to the
medical research community? The standard treatments to lower blood sugar
and HgbA1c were recently tested in medical trials. The ACCORD trials were
meant to validate once and for all that the closer a patient got to a
HgbA1c level of 6% the healthier a person became. Instead there was 22%
increase in mortality from heart failure.[5] This unexpected value caused
the FDA to terminate the trial midstream. Is it possible that the HgbA1c
value should not be a primary goal in evaluating diabetes treatments?

If you go to PubMed and enter the keywords "thiamine deficiency" and
"diabetes" you will get dozens of references that describe how many
symptoms of diabetes are caused by a thiamine deficiency it generates.
Deficiencies of B vitamins and other essential nutrients are important in
diabetes.[2] This should be required reading for all doctors who treat or
research diabetes. Currently in conventional management of diabetes,
supplement based nutrition therapy is utterly neglected. The National
Diabetes Fact Sheet reported that in 2007, the direct medical costs of
diabetes nationally was estimated at $116 billion (USD). [6]

Diabetic patients can feel overwhelmed by a diagnosis of hyperglycemia, but
are often comforted by the complicated explanations and sudden increase in
activity and attention directed at them. The possibility that they are
being misled just doesn't come up. Even if patients decide to do their own
research it can be confusing. The cause of diabetes is basically unknown,
but they are told that with some major alterations to one's lifestyle and
lots of drugs liberally applied they can lead a relatively normal life.
However for the truly curious, a large block of mainstream nutrition ideas
of which the doctors are mostly ignorant can be freely accessed on the
internet. When a patient presents this alternative information to the
doctor today, they are comforted and told that they are already getting the
cutting edge treatment. But even three years after the revelations of the
ACCORD trials there has been no major correction of the type II treatment
protocols that addresses the unexplained mortality issues revealed by the

Even if my vitamin arguments are only partially correct, the implications
for mainstream medicine are staggering. These ideas need wide discussion
the field, because patients with diabetes need some new ideas.

To Subscribe at no charge: http://www.orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html
*Alternate Health Digest*

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That's it for another week of alternate health news. Hope something helps
you and yours in this issue.

Phil Bate PhD - Orthomolecular Psychologist (30 plus years)
Inventor of NT Therapy - An inexpensive, effective approach &
"at home" therapy for ADD- autism, insomnia, depression etc
http://drbate.com -

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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