Managing Type 1 Diabetes
By Dale Peterson, M.D. –
One of the most difficult tasks I have faced as a physician is delivering the news that the individual who has come to me has a serious condition for which there is no simple or immediate solution. The challenge is hardest when the patient is a child.
I was recently consulted by the parents of an eight year-old girl who had been found to have type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes. She had suddenly developed a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis and intensive care had been required. The child’s diabetes was being controlled by four insulin shots daily, but the parents were hopeful that I could direct them to a cure.
By conducting an Internet search they had learned that several natural cures for type 1 diabetes exist. One website claimed that supplementation of a B vitamin coupled with avoidance of dairy products will cure 90 % of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics. Another suggested that systemic enzymes alone or in combination with an unproven chemical tonic were capable of curing nearly all cases.
Sadly, the studies alluded to on the websites do not seem to exist. The names of the studies, the institutions where they were conducted, and the location of their publication were not listed. A search of published articles failed to find any article that suggested a natural cure for insulin-dependent diabetes.
What then do I tell the parents who desperately hope to find a cure for their daughter? I explain that while she continues to control her blood sugar levels with insulin injections, diet, and activity, we will do what we know will best support her body’s ability to repair itself. We will hope for the best, but recognize that if her islet cells do not recover we can do a great deal to prevent the dreaded complications of diabetes such as blindness, kidney failure, loss of nerve function, and narrowed arteries leading to a heart attack or amputation.
I have already used a body programming technique to tell the body’s immune system to stop attacking the cells that produce insulin. I have also instructed the body’s central computer to do what can be done to regenerate damaged cells.
I have recommended that she supplement niacinamide, a B vitamin that has been shown to slow or prevent further loss of islet cell insulin production. She is also to take benfotiamine, another B vitamin that has been shown to protect the body’s tissues from damage related to elevated blood sugar levels.
She will address the underlying causes of chronic disease development including free radical damage, inflammation, and loss of repair ability by taking antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, systemic enzymes, and a source of molecules called methyl groups that the body requires for daily maintenance and repair. She can take a supplement such as colostrum or beta glucan that modulates the actions of the body’s immune system. It will calm down the parts of the immune system that have been attacking her insulin producing cells while supporting those aspects that protect her from infections and other challenges.
Since type 1 diabetes is often complicated by the development of insulin resistance (referred to as type 2 diabetes) she will take a supplement that contains substances such as chromium, vanadium, alpha-lipoic acid, and herbs that help the body utilize insulin effectively.
Having taken these measures she has an extremely strong chance of living a long and healthy life even if she must continue to monitor her blood sugar and administer insulin as needed.
She will have taken advantage of the best that mainstream and alternative medicines have to offer. She will not have fallen into the trap of believing that blood sugar control alone is enough to prevent the complications that commonly occur with diabetes, nor will she have put herself at risk of entering another diabetic crisis by attempting to substitute products of questionable benefit for the insulin her body needs to survive.
Dr. Dale Peterson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Medicine. He completed his residency in FamilyMedicine at the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. He had a full-time family practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, for over 20 years and was a Chief of Staff of the Edmond Hospital. He was active in teachingfor many years as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine through the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Peterson left his full-time family practice in 1999 to consult with individuals who are seeking ways to restore and maintain their health through improved nutrition and other lifestyle changes. He founded the Wellness Clubs of America to give people access to credible information on supporting and maintaining their health. His monthly wellness letter, Health by Design, and his Health by Design E-Newsletter provide helpful information to individuals interested in preventing and conquering health challenges. His book Building Health by Design: Adding Life to Your Years and Years to Your Life was released in December 2010.
Dr. Peterson speaks regularly on subjects related to health and nutrition. He hosted a weekly radio program,Your Health Matters, on KTOK in Oklahoma City for five years. For the past nine years he has addressed questions from across the nation on his Your Health Matters weekly teleconference.He offers a free video LifeXtension course at www.drdalepeterson.com.