by Dr. James Howenstine, M.D.
(Posted on this site with written permission.)
An epidemic of diabetes is sweeping over the United States. One of the puzzling aspects of this problem is that conventional medicine seems to have no ideas about what is causing this problem and what needs to be done to reverse it.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 insulin dependent, and Type 2 insulin resistant. The patients with Type 1 must take insulin to stay alive, whereas the patients with Type 2 diabetes have high levels of insulin in their blood but are unable to properly use this insulin to burn sugar.
A 65-year-old electronic engineer named Thomas Smith was discovered to have diabetes with fasting sugars of 350 mg. and sugars after a meal of 550 mg. He went to a physician and when he learned that there was no cure, he embarked on an extensive literature search to find a cure. After 107 days of learning what to do about diabetes, his blood sugars were back to normal. No drugs or other therapy had been used. He has written a book titled Insulin: Our Silent Killer(currently out of print) in which he outlines the cause and path to recovery from Type 2 diabetes.
A primary problem appears to be massive consumption of sugar and fructose. In the year 1880 diabetes was uncommon (2.8 persons per 100,000 had diabetes) and the per capita consumption of sugar was 2 or 3 pounds a year. Now the average American is eating 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of sugar daily. Sugar is addicting. The food conglomerates know this and deliberately place sugar in more than 90% of processed foods which makes up most of the food consumed by the U.S. public. Currently more than 10% of U.S. adults have diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes, and careful screening of persons who have hypertension, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, obesity, hypoglycemia symptoms and arteriosclerosis by use of insulin tests would certainly raise this percentage much higher.
Sugar in the form of fruit contains fiber that delays absorption and thus moderates the rise in blood sugar values when fruit is consumed. Refined white sugar, sucrose, and dextrose lack fiber and nutrients. When consumed in food or drinks the refined sugar rapidly goes into the blood stream and produces a sharp rise in blood sugar values. The pancreas secretes large amounts of insulin to promptly return high blood sugar values to normal.
Sharp rises in insulin output may cause overshooting the desired blood sugar and it is common for these individuals to have blood sugar values plummet to low levels with symptoms of low blood sugar (weakness, sweating, cloudy thinking, lack of energy, hunger, shakiness).
High blood insulin levels precede elevations in blood sugar on which a diagnosis of diabetes is made. Blood fasting insulin levels over 15 U/ml are a reliable indicator of excessive insulin production as these values correlate well with the more complex euglycemic clamp study for insulin excess. If persons with obesity, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol and triglyceride values and persons experiencing hypoglycemia had insulin values tested those individuals with high insulin values could be screened out and advised that they were far along on the road to diabetes, which is inevitable unless life style changes are instituted.
With the passage of time this massive output of insulin provoked by huge sugar intakes takes a toll on the pancreas and reaches the point where the pancreas is unable to produce any greater quantities of insulin. When this occurs sugar no longer enters the cells in adequate amounts to prevent rising blood sugar values. The diagnosis of diabetes can be made with now elevated blood sugar values but the problem obviously began many years earlier with the first signs of insulin excess.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential to health because the body can not manufacture them so they need to be obtained from dietary sources. The omega 6 fatty acids are plentiful as they are found in corn, soybeans, sunflower, canola, hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds, nuts and oils. Omega 3 fatty acids are less available because they are found primarily in flax oil, perilla oil, grazed beef and fish oil. Another factor contributing to the lack of consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids is valid concerns about the mercury found in all fish.
The Omega 3 fatty acids prevent inflammation but Omega 6 fatty acids cause inflammation in the body. Many persons do not eat fish and few persons eat flax oil, so most persons consume far too much Omega 6 fatty acids and have too little Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. This contributes to the occurrence of inflammatory illnesses in a major way.
Cellular membrane dysfunction occurs when the body must manufacture and repair our cell membranes with the wrong fatty acids, because the right ones are not available from our diet. Our cell membranes require Omega 3 fatty acids for proper functioning. Because most persons in developed nations are currently obtaining their essential fatty acids primarily from Omega 6 fatty acids manufactured in factories at high temperatures using chemicals (salad oils, cooking oils, margarine) these persons are eating artificial chemical substances (similar to plastic) called transfats that are very injurious to health. When it comes time to make new cell membranes, their bodies are forced to use these abnormal chemical Omega 6 fatty acid substances to construct cell membranes. These abnormal cell membranes are what causes insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
When the cell membranes are made out of synthetic transfats the new membranes are sticky and stiff  instead of having the slippery smooth character of healthy cell membranes. As this outer cell membrane becomes damaged from transfats, less sugar is able to enter the cells. Therefore, more insulin must be secreted to keep the blood sugar levels down.
During the transition to Type 2 diabetes the number of insulin receptors in cells is gradually decreasing from the normal level of 2000 per cell to 1000 per cell which is the level noted when Type 2 Diabetes appears. When normal amounts of insulin production and blood glucose values have been restored by effective therapy the number of insulin receptors in cells returns to the 2000 range.
Inflammation is believed to play a major role in causing arteriosclerosis. The massive use of synthetic Omega 6 transfats by the American public has contributed to great increases in inflammatory illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Arthritis, Multiple sclerosis etc.
Current research also suggests that inflammatory reactions caused by infectious organisms contribute to arteriosclerosis. Infections such as pneumonia and gingivitis are associated with an increased incidence of strokes and heart attacks. Markers for inflammation such as increased levels of C Reactive Protein CRP and elevation of Sedimentation Rates have been discovered to provide valuable warnings that such patients are at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Insulin in large amounts causes inflammatory reactions in the body and it is well known that when diabetic patients are started on insulin therapy there is a greater likelihood of onset of heart attacks, strokes and gangrene.
A third adverse problem contributing to arteriosclerotic damage is increasing levels of low density lipoproteins and triglycerides which are common in diabetes. High levels of these fats in blood cause sludgy blood flow which may result in blood clots diagnosed as heart attacks and strokes.
Insulin is a hormone that stimulates the production of new tissue. When new fibrous and muscular tissue appears in the lining of arteries it has the appearance of what we call plaque. This narrows the opening in the artery that blood passes through. This may progress to produce symptoms of inadequate blood supply (anginal pain, temporary paralysis) due to oxygen lack. If greater artery narrowing occurs the tissue oxygen levels worsen, blood clots easily appear in these narrowed arteries with slowed blood flow and the end result is a heart attack, stroke or gangrene.
These plaques can be caused by high homocysteine values which appear in high insulin states. Failure to metabolize homocysteine to normal levels leads to aging with a greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and acceleration of the arteriosclerotic process.
An additional problem caused by the synthetic transfats consumed by 90% of U.S. citizens is suppression of the immune system. Suppressed immune systems have difficulty in killing the multitudes of cancer cells normally made daily by the human body. This probably helps explains why cancer of the lung was uncommon in the 1930s when 80% of U.S. males smoked cigarettes. By the time Archer Daniel Midlands stopped manufacturing flax oil in 1950 most Americans had already moved over to the use of synthetic fats for cooking and salad oils and had substituted margarine for butter. There was a steady rise in the incidence of lung cancer as Americans stopped using lard, butter, unrefined coconut oil and flax oil and switched to synthetic transfats.
This ability of the transfats to suppress immune function encouraged Dr. Eric Newsholme of the Department of Biochemistry at Oxford to treat two girls, who had become invalids from Guillan Barre Syndrome, with “sunflower oil” 2 tablespoons daily. Both girls made complete recoveries after previously failing to respond to immunosuppressive drugs.
When the pre-diabetic person is experiencing chronic high insulin values with too many carbohydrate calories, this insulin is converting some of the excess glucose into the fat triglyceride, which gets stored in fat cells which end up distended in an obese patient.
In this manner, high insulin levels are producing many of our obese persons. Obese persons need to have insulin levels checked, as many of them are certainly pre -diabetic. A long term follow up study in an English obesity clinic revealed that all patients eventually became diabetic.
Many persons becoming obese have been using monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame (NutraSweet), often unknowingly in packaged food. Both these substances increase insulin levels, cause obesity and have addicting properties. These are found in nearly all packaged foods which must be avoided.
Another dangerous food is white bread. In addition to being a poor food, as its nutrients have been removed, it contains alloxan to give it a nice white appearance. Alloxan has been used for many years to cause diabetes in laboratory animals and certainly has the capability of killing the insulin producing beta cells in the human pancreas. White bread and other baked goods are made using sodium aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulphate (baking powder). These aluminum substances contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The human body runs smoothly when there is an abundance of enzymes facilitating the chemical processes needed for health. In the 1930s when the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandated compulsory use of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium fertilizer by farmers it guaranteed that the citizens of our country would have poor health. This fertilizer does not contain the critical nutrient sulfur and over time the trace mineral content of our soil has steadily declined.
The soil our food comes from has been changed in our modern world. Chemical fertilizers have caused the protein content of vegetables to decrease and the vital trace minerals we need are no longer being replaced. Artificial fertilizers restore only 3 to 6 of the 20 minerals removed by plant growth. Composting is preferred to fertilizer because good composting returns to soils all the 20 minerals removed by plants. When trace minerals are lacking from the soil the enzyme levels in plants also diminish. Enzymes are vital to many life processes including digestion. Enzymes contain large protein molecules with added trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, manganese and copper.
Mineral deficiencies and imbalances in plants grown in polluted areas using contaminated water contribute to enzyme deficiencies in the general population. Lack of trace minerals in enzymes and the presence in the body of metals that damage enzyme function (lead, mercury) contribute to the declining health suffered by the U.S. population.
At least 75% of U.S. citizens lack adequate amounts of the vital mineral magnesium. Foods grown in depleted soil contain much less magnesium. This combined with the disappearance of real food from the U.S. diet, caused the magnesium intake by U.S. citizens to drop by more than 50% since 1900. The use of bottled and filtered water has contributed to this problem as it contains little magnesium. Magnesium is involved in acid base balance, carbohydrate metabolism, cellular energy production, synthesis of nucleic acids and protein, mineral absorption, bone construction, blood pressure control, muscle function and utilization of B complex vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
An example of how seriously depleted our soil has become is provided by a research study conducted by the legendary Dr. William A. Albrecht of the University of Missouri. One hundred bushels of Kansas wheat were tested in 1926 for mineral content. This same study was repeated in 1968 on wheat from the same farm. To get the same amount of minerals now required 1000 bushels. In 1940 U.S. soil contained an average of 60 minerals. The soil mineral analysis in 1996 now reveals that less than 20 minerals are still present. Oranges that contained 50 mg of Vitamin C fifty years ago now contain only 5 mg.
Louis Bromfield summarized this situation aptly: “As soils are depleted, human health, vitality, and intelligence go with them.” Control of blood sugar values is dependent on enzymes which contain trace minerals (zinc, manganese, chromium, vanadium, magnesium etc.). When these trace minerals are lacking in the diet proper carbohydrate control of blood sugar values is compromised and rising blood sugars may occur. The soil in the U.S. has lost 85% of its mineral content because of these despicable farming practices.
Diabetics are at increased risk for mineral deficiencies compared to the general populace because when their blood sugars are elevated they pass large amounts of urine, which contains valuable minerals and nutrients.
This article is being reprinted with permission.
1. Smith, Thmas Insulin: Our Silent Killer pg. 35 published by Thomas Smith, P.O. Box 7685, Longmont, Co. 80537
2. Smith, Thomas pg 36 ibid. Read his article on NWV.
3. Newsholme, Eric Lancet March 18, 1978
4. Quarterly Journal Of Medicine 1960s
5. Fats That Heal Fats That Kill Udo Erasmus page 317 Alive books Vancouver, Canada
Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. After 4 years of personal study he became convinced that natural products are safer, more effective, and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work. Dr. Howenstine can be reached by mail at Dr. James Howenstine, C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.