Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Allie Beatty of Allies Voice and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.
For every time someone told me the answer to diabetes is blood sugar control – immediately I knew the question cannot possibly be ‘how do I prevent complications”. Complications are now known to be caused from AGE (advanced glycation end products). AGEs are released into the body after glucose metabolism. If insulin helps metabolize glucose – why doesn’t the body make something that protects it from complications of diabetes? It does – it’s found in proinsulin.
The beta cells make proinsulin. Proinsulin is a combination of insulin and C-peptide. Insulin breaks off from proinsulin (like the launching of a space shuttle) to carry glucose out of the blood and into the cells. C-peptide lingers in the blood to ‘clean up’ the AGEs created from glucose metabolism. People with diabetes develop complications in their eyes, nerves and kidneys. Analogues (synthetic ‘insulin’) only lower blood glucose and leave AGEs in the blood to complicate the tissues of the eyes, nerves and kidneys. This occurs in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Mother Nature is forgiving and reasonable. For she realized these membranes would need a secondary source of prevention from complications if insulin and c-peptide were in short supply. As it turns out – vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, reverses damages from AGEs, much like C-peptide. Because vitamin B is water-soluble, and people with diabetes tend to urinate frequently – over time the body becomes dangerously depleted of vitamin B, including vitamin B1 – thiamine.
Studies have shown that vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential for the metabolism of glucose from the blood (aka ‘blood sugar’). Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is keeps your mucous membranes healthy and is essential for nervous system, cardiovascular and muscular function. It leaves me puzzled as to why doctors aren’t religiously checking patients’ with diabetes thiamine levels. Nearly every complication of diabetes can be prevented (and in some cases treated) with consideration to thiamine.
Alas, you know my gripe will eventually meander into the nefarious patents and suppression of BIG PHARMA. So I’ll spare you the drama and leave you with one simple call to action. Don’t wait for your thiamine levels to drop. Get yourself a good B-complex with plenty of thiamine. Keep a running tab on your thiamine levels and if they start to drop – discuss with your doctor a plan of action to replenish the Bs.
UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had a reaction to Allie's post. His thoughts:
This is misleading and it exaggerates the known benefits of thiamine supplementation in the diabetic. It is also harmful to the extent that diabetics think they can adequately protect themselves with supplements, (as it subconsciously de-emphasizes the critical nature of aggressive dietary and lifestyle changes), instead of changing their diet and exercise habits, which has the potential to remove the diabetes completely.
Sure, diabetics are low in thiamine (vitamin B1), as well as other micronutrients, and sure thiamine deficiency as well as deficiencies with other micronutrient) can accelerate the enhanced micro-vascular damage from diabetes. However, that does not mean that thiamine supplementation (alone) will prevent or even help prevent the micro-vascular complications to the kidney, nerves and eyes in diabetes. Those studies are ongoing and no definitive conclusions at this point can be made.
To encourage high dosages of supplemental B1, without mention of a diet, rich in B1 (vegetable and bean-based), will continue the nutritional folly of the last decades. There are thousands of micronutrients needed to maximize your health and type-2 diabetes is a disease that develops because of nutritional ignorance and the subsequent food addictions that develop from low nutrient eating. Becoming thin is the first step. When you eat the micronutrient-rich diet I recommend you get appetite suppression, dramatic weight loss, enhanced exercise tolerance, and most people can actually get rid of their diabetes. A type-1 diabetic can reduce their insulin needs by about half, and protect themselves from the complications of diabetes.
Caring for thousands of diabetic patients in my practice and weaning them off their medications while watching their condition melt away, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my medical practice. So if you have diabetes, instead of looking for a pill, supplement, or medication to protect you, which will never be maximally protective, I want to encourage you to take the bull by the horns and strive to get rid of your diabetes. That should be the take away message.
My nutritional protocol has already been confirmed by medical studies to be the most effective for lowering cholesterol, and a pilot study has also shown it to me the most effective for weight loss. For diabetics, it can be a life-saving. If you are diabetic, I implore you to learn more.
I now recommend that diabetics check their blood level of B1 (thiamine) and supplement appropriately, but the most important way to control the complications of (type 2) diabetes is to get rid of it via nutritional excellence and exercise.