Articles

AUGUST 2011

DR. KENNETH J. EMONDS, Ph.D. 64 Lafayette, Unit 10, North Hampton, NH 03862
New England Center for Orthomolecular Medicine 603-964-2007 603-964-2003 Fax


ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE AND DIABETES
St. George University, August 2011

Orthomolecular medicine is essentially "scientific nutrition." The term was coined by Dr. Linus Pauling, Ph.D., in 1968. It means literally: "to straighten out the molecules." By that, Pauling meant to give the body the naturally-occurring molecules that belong in the body, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients. In Pauling's shorthand: to give the right molecules in the right order in relation to each other – to "up regulate" the good genes, and "down regulate" the bad genes for the purpose of optimal health and well being.

Orthomolecular molecules belong in the body. These molecules are in contrast to Xenobiotic molecules: molecules "foreign to life." They do not naturally occur in the body. A closely related word "Xenophobia," or "fear of strangers" shares the same root meaning.

Xenobiotic molecules are in fact many of those molecules used in allopathic medicine. Incidentally, the root meaning of allopathic means "made from oil," as most of the synthetically restructured molecules made in the laboratory were literally synthesized from oil. The pharmaceutical industry was originally a subsidiary of the oil industry. Now it is a dominant economic force worldwide.

Dr. Pauling and the original pioneers in orthomolecular and environmental medicine were concerned about the deleterious effects of chemical pollution arising from the petrochemical industry. Tons of 80,000 chemicals are dumped each year into the environment, in our air, food, water and our bodies. Even the pharmaceutical chemicals are leaching into our water and rivers, and it is becoming a health problem – especially the hormonal and psychiatric drugs, as the water treatment facilities cannot filter all these molecules out. In fact, by chlorinating the water the treatment facilities are compounding the problem creating the trihalomethanes which are known carcinogens. Likewise, the bisphosphonates, and pthaliates from the plastic industry are contributing to a 38% increase in diabetes in obese people because these chemicals and PCB's build up in adipose tissue and are known to decrease glucose transport in both animals and humans. They are also hormone mimickers that disregulate the endocrine system. The pressing problem is the food itself that North Americans eat. It is a diet high in refined carbohydrates such as cereals, muffins, breads, rolls, pastries, cookies, doughnuts and soft drinks. These refined carbohydrates not only raise glucose and insulin to unhealthy levels, but they fail to supply the many vitamins, minerals, live enzymes and phytonutrients needed to properly utilize these empty calories.

Modern medicine has some great drugs to deal with diabetes. The problem is that these drugs can only do so much if the patient doesn't make the life style changes in diet and exercise. Also, remember that just as unhealthy food depletes the patient of vital nutrients – most drugs do the same thing. This is one reason why many drugs work for a while then lose their effectiveness. They either have to raise the dose or change to another drug. Most drugs are either metabolic blocking agents or amplifiers of hormonal activity. Either way they each deplete nutrients. This is why it is becoming increasingly necessary to complement drugs with the respective nutrients that they are depleting. Example: Lipitor or any statin drug depletes Co-Enzyme Q-10. The problem is how much does the person need to compensate? It is patient specific. Not only does it depend on age, health status of major organs, the DNA program and the dose of the drug, it also depends on the lifestyle of the patient. There is a way to discern this using the technique of electrodermal titration which I will demonstrate in the workshop that follows.

Let's focus on the disease itself.

Diabetes and its related syndromes and disorders are epidemic in the developed countries. As emerging nations progress they also are joining the health decline of the modern world despite impressive advances in modern technology, pharmacology research, genetics and advanced scientific healthcare delivery.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and other metabolic complications spreading to many systems and organs. The most common form of diabetes is Type II. This is usually an adult onset disease often with normal or highly elevated insulin levels in the face of insulin resistance. Type I diabetes is often referred to as juvenile onset or insulin-dependent diabetes. The high blood glucose results from a lack of insulin secondary to autoimmune destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. A third type is gestational diabetes which can occur during pregnancy. Insulin resistance develops secondary to the secretion of placental hormones which sets off a similar autoimmune cascade.

There is yet another type of diabetes often referred to as "pre-diabetes," "covert diabetes," or, as Dr. Gerald Reaven, MD coined the term in 1988, "metabolic syndrome" or "Syndrome X." Dr. Reaven defines a cluster of symptoms which include (1) insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, (2) obesity, (3) blood fat abnormalities, and (4) hypertension. These symptoms, if left untreated, eventually progress to more serious pathologies such as Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a multiple of degenerative, age-related inflammatory diseases from diabetes, arthritis to blindness and cancer.

At the present time, 55% of North Americans are overweight. 50 million have elevated cholesterol triglyceride levels, and 50 million suffer from hypertension. Everyone who is overweight already has insulin resistance.

It is estimated that even those people who are not overweight, probably still have rising insulin resistance because of a steady diet of refined carbohydrate, sugar, alcohol and soft drinks. This brings the estimate up to 65 million people walking around with some degree of covert diabetes and 16 million people actually diagnosed with clinical diabetes. This is a time bomb for the healthcare industry and the increasing costs are geometrically progressing.

In the actual disease process of diabetes, regardless of Type I, Type II, Type III or Syndrome X, the fundamental principles of biochemistry are being played out. Both Glucose and Insulin generate free radicals.

The higher the glucose level and the higher the insulin level, they generate exponentially huge numbers of free radicals which deplete the body's antioxidant reserves. Excess free radicals damage cells and destroy the body's natural protective mechanisms. Free radicals rob electrons from all cellular parts including cellular membranes and DNA, which can mutate or damage RNA and DNA – this process of free radical damage to DNA is a major cause of premature aging and cancer. This is why supplying the orthomolecular antioxidants is so critical in controlling or reversing diabetes.

Calorie restriction has the opposite effect. All research on animals and humans at the National Institute of Aging at Stanford and University of Wisconsin, found that all animals on a calorie restricted diet maintain more youthful bodies and minds compared to animals allowed to eat as much as they want.

Dr. McKay found in the 1930's that the lifespan of rats doubled when their food intake was cut in half. Dr. Spindler, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, studied the expression of 11,000 genes and found genetic expression of youthing genes were fourfold. No matter what age an animal or human begins caloric restriction it turns off aging and turns on the youthing genes. Caloric restriction increases insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance.

The research on caloric restrictions is perfect for the diabetic patient. The emphasis should be on live nutrient dense green, red, orange, vegetables for plenty of live enzymes and fiber. Complex carbohydrates like black beans, white beans, lentils, chick peas with plenty of garlic, onions, leeks, mushrooms, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc. Gabriel Cousins, MD wrote a very helpful book Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, his other book is Conscious Eating. These are great resources. I will present more on the food and food allergies which also drives the diabetes. Dr. Cousins is an orthomolecular physician who has documented reversal of Type I diabetes in impressive studies.

The many oral hyperglycemic drugs and especially the drug, Glucophage (Metformin,) have been a great help for control of this disease because they help lower blood glucose, and help insulin to bind more effectively at receptor sites, thus lowering the level and the destructiveness of these two substances, which become counterproductive at high levels.

Glucophage (Metformin) interestingly was a natural plant product from the French Lilac, also called Goat Rue. It has been synthesized in the lab for mass marketing. It is a very effective drug. Some patients however have gastrointestinal difficulty with it. Physicians can lower the dose and increase certain nutrients to help Metfornin be better tolerated. Many patients who are diabetic already have magnesium deficiencies and B-complex deficiencies. These nutrients will often aid the patient to better metabolize the Glucophage.

The following orthomolecular supplements are listed because of their effectiveness specifically related to diabetes research:

VITAMIN D-3
The most important nutrient is Vitamin D-3. It plays a role in insulin secretion. Lower serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk for glucose intolerance and diabetes. Research shows improved insulin sensitivity after diabetic women were given 4000 i.u. per day for six months. In another study, glucose and insulin metabolism improved and diabetic neuropathy patents experienced decreased pain.

Vitamin D is an immune modulator. It increases immune function in patients who are immune-deficient, and down-regulates hyper-immunity in patients with autoimmune disease. Diabetes is considered by most authorities to be autoimmune regardless of type. In experiments, Vitamin D deficiency reduces the release of insulin, leading eventually to irreversible glucose intolerance. Vitamin D controls over 1600 genes that we know of, so it modulates epiginomic activity to cathelicidins and other immune factors.

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha Lipoic Acid is extremely important in managing diabetes. Its primary role is to help burn glucose, converting sugar to energy that powers major organs such as heart and brain. It protects against free radical damage and recycles other antioxidants like Vitamin E and C. The German government approved ALA for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and actually helps prevent and reverse Syndrome X and other glucose related disorders. With the correct dose ALA lowers glucose and insulin levels – reduces insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity.

Alpha Lipoic Acid increases the efficiency of insulin which moves glucose into cells. It transports glucose into cells not related to insulin and it accelerates the Krebs cycle. It reduces and limits the formation of advanced "glycation end products" (AGE's.) It lowers the hemoglobin A-1C and stabilizes variable and erratic heartbeats in diabetic patients.

Alpha Lipoic Acid boosts the body's production of glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the body and eyes. It is absolutely helpful to detoxify poisonous substances in the liver.

OMEGA-3 FISH OIL
Omega-3 Fish Oil improves glucose tolerance reduces triglycerides and raises HDL. It is the steroidal base for all the important hormones in the body and is an extremely important anti-inflammoratory. It also decreases hunger and helps the diabetic feel satisfied with a caloric restricted diet.

VITAMIN E
Vitamin E is very important for saccharine diseases because it protects cells from the toxic effect of glucose. It reduces glucose levels, improves insulin sensitivity. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals and prevents glycosylation of protein which speeds aging. Vitamin E prevents the progression of degenerative diseases. Vitamin E turns off the gene that stimulates the growth of smooth-muscle cells in blood vessel walls, which combines with cholesterol to form occlusive narrowing. Vitamin E normalizes the ability of blood vessels to dilate and relax.

The British medical journal Lancet published a study by E. Nigel Stephens at Cambridge. He gave 800 i.u. of natural Vitamin E to 2000 patients with documented heart disease. The incidence of non-fatal heart attacks dropped by 77 per cent in the Vitamin E group.

Every degenerative disease is caused or exacerbated by free radicals. Vitamin E, in numerous studies, protected against free radical damage to the brain and nerve cells and to fight neurological disorders.

There are two categories of Vitamin E: Tocopherols and Tocotrienols. They each have molecular subsets; Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta fractions.

Both tocopherols and tocotrienols are involved in complex biochemical pathways protecting cells from those dangerous free radicals. Vitamin E prevents oxidation of cholesterol, and both types of E prevent fat deposit on vessel walls. They reduce blood clots and each protects in its own way the lipid sandwich of neurological tissue. They are important for stimulating natural killer cells of the immune system which fight infection and cancer, as well as all the saccharine diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism.

The tocotrienols target the same HMG alpha reductase enzyme system as the pharmaceutical statins, without the downstream destruction of ubiquinols such as Enzyme Q-10.

One other point about choosing Vitamin E for diabetic patients - most Vitamin E is made from soy. More than half the diabetic population is sensitive to soy and it will be counterproductive. Look for the natural Vitamin E made from rice oil.

VITAMIN C
Vitamin C and glucose possess similar chemical structures: Glucose – C6H12O6 versus Vitamin C – C6H6O8. Most animals convert glucose to Vitamin C in the liver or kidneys providing a ready supply. Most animals produce between 2,000 – 13,000 mg daily, equivalent to the daily human need. Under physical or psychological stress they produce much more.

Humans, primates, fruit-eating bats and guinea pigs produce no Vitamin C. Could it be possible that the increased cravings for sugar and glucose could be a craving for Vitamin C?

Diabetics are most often deficient in Vitamin C. Low Vitamin C levels are concurrent with and contribute to diabetic complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, eye disorders and immunological suppression.

Vitamin C lowers glucose, normalizes insulin's response to glucose. It neutralizes free radicals like other antioxidants and reduces glycosylated hemolglobin. Vitamin C boosts the activity of immune cells to fight infection and helps to reduce cholesterol levels. High blood levels of Vitamin C are associated with increases in HDL cholesterol and reinforces the structure of blood vessel walls.

Vitamin C reduces DNA damage and plays a key role in repairing DNA damage. It strengthens the collagen of healthy tissue to defend against invasion of cancer cells and has a pain-reducing effect. Diabetics have many of the same symptoms of sub-clinical scurvy.

CHROMIUM
Chromium is an absolute necessity for proper glucose and insulin function. Symptoms of chromium deficiency are actually the symptoms of Syndrome X: elevated glucose, elevated insulin, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol.

Chromium's key benefit is that it helps insulin function more efficiently. Chromium is a blood sugar balancer as well as a regulator. It is a natural type of Metformin without the side effects.

In a 1997 study of Type II patients taking 1000 mcg per day spectacular results were experienced – a drop in glucose and insulin to near normal, in just four months. Of course, the dose should be individualized to the patient. Some will need more.

The work shop session will demonstrate how the exact dose is achieved in individual patients.

ZINC
Zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in the body and it is crucial for glucose regulation, the proper function of insulin, and weight control.

Zinc is necessary to help the pancreas produce insulin. It controls insulin efficiency and protects insulin receptors on cells. Zinc deficiency seems to be involved in the development and perpetuation of obesity. Zinc affects blood levels of leptin, a hormone that modulates appetite, energy expenditure, and possibly body composition. Zinc deficient people produce less leptin. Leptin is produced in fat cells. If leptin levels are low from inadequate zinc levels a person may never feel full and continues to have food cravings and overeat, especially craving glucose to get energy and blood sugar up. Without zinc the insulin drops blood sugar more. Zinc levels are crucial to get correct, because too much zinc can lower copper levels and the good HDL cholesterol, as well as interface with glucose control and immune function. Zinc activates white blood cells and is used to up-regulate resistance in the immune system to fight infection.

MAGNESIUM
Magnesium deficiency is one of the factors that lead to the development of Type II diabetes. Magnesium is a catalyst of every essential molecule for almost every enzyme and hormone in the body. It is responsible for the production and release of one of the most dominant, most important hormones – Insulin. Without magnesium being adequate practically none of the hormones can communicate with their respective receptor sites. Magnesium activates cellular membrane pumps that govern most of the traffic in and out of the cells.

Magnesium seems to be protective against another serious complication of diabetes, retinopathy, damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Low levels of magnesium are correlated with the development and progression of this condition which can lead to blindness.

Sugar and simple carbohydrates deplete the body of magnesium, and anyone with a glucose disorder will usually need more than the average person. Most of the medications which are used for chronic degenerative conditions related to glucose disorder also deplete magnesium, and all the important B vitamins. Example: Metformin depletes B-12, B-6, folic acid and biotin. This can lead to a steadily silent rise in homocysteine, which is the real marker for cardiovascular disease and eventually cancer.

SELENIUM
Selenium is an important component of two vital enzymes, glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase which radically strengthens the network of all antioxidants protecting the body against the massive destructive assault of free radicals. It does not affect glucose or insulin directly, but certainly protects against the ravages of free radical cascades secondary to glucose disorders.

Selenium, like magnesium and Vitamin D and C, and so many of these nutrients are endemically low in most North Americans – because our depleted foods are high in calories, but low in these minerals and hormones.

MANGANESE
Manganese is a trace mineral which is a co-factor in many enzymes that help the body utilize Vitamin C and some B vitamins that catalyze and modulate glucose metabolism.

In guinea pigs (who like humans produce no Vitamin C,) a deficiency of manganese results in diabetes and frequent birth of offspring that develop abnormalities of pancreatic secretion of insulin. Manganese supplementation completely reverses the abnormalities. In humans manganese supplementation significantly lowered blood glucose levels in patients who are sometimes unresponsive to insulin.

CoQ-10
Co Enzyme Q-10 plays a key role in mitochondrial energy production in all cells. It is also an antioxidant. In 1978 the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went for the discovery of Co Q-10's function of producing energy.

Co Q-10 prevents free radical oxidation of LDL, thereby stopping an early step in developing heart disease. It can also increase HDL and help normalize the insulin response to glucose in heart cells and helps heart muscles regain lost energy and stop the slow degeneration of the heart muscles itself. Diabetics are the most predictable patients to develop congestive heart failure, because the glucose energy conversion gets blocked at the electron transport level in the mitochondria of heart cells. It is an absolute necessity in the care of any glucose disorder.

FLAVINOIDS Polyphenols, which are also called bioflavinoids, are the most dense antioxidants and outnumber vitamins and minerals in most foods. There are over five thousand different flavinoids in plants. They range from the healthful polyphenols in green and red tea to plant pigments in blueberries and raspberries, and all the beautiful colors of the green vegetables, beet and orange foods. Flavinoids are the plants principal defense against their own form of free radicals in their own glucose and chlorophyll production. People who eat all these appetizing colors acquire the plant's free radical quenching benefits.

Most flavinoids have anti-inflammatory properties. Quercitin is a bioflavonoid which not only is a powerful anti-inflammatory, but it also has anti-diabetic properties. It inhibits the enzyme, aldose reductase, which promotes the creation of sorbitol, a very destructive sugar which drives the degenerative symptoms of diabetes.

In short, the eating of fresh live, colored food creates an enormously healthy nutrient dense diet which counters all the glycemic diseases. Avoid anything white. Eat a technicolor diet. The carotenoids make carrots orange, tomatoes red. These incredible substances contain these mixed carotenes, lutein and lycopenes and over 600 substances. These polyhenols, flavinoids and carotenes are the perfect antidote and foil to the life-threatening refined carbohydrates.

SILYMARIN AND MILK THISTLE
The seeds of the Milk Thistle have been used medicinally for 2000 years. The use of Milk Thistle drops hemoglobin A/C significantly. It lowers glucose, lowers sugar in the urine, lowers insulin requirements, lowers insulin resistance, lowers free radicals and lowers liver enzymes. This is a winner, but not all patients can use it. It is an herb and some will be allergic to it. If the allergic diabetic can keep their food, inhalant and chemical allergies under control, this will be tolerated and may fit into a totally integrated treatment regimen. Dose, like the other nutrients, is patient specific.

GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE
This is an herb from India's Ayurvedic Tradition to reduce excess sugar. Some research in insulin dependent diabetics has found that it can increase insulin secretions by the pancreas.

Gymnema promotes regeneration of beta cells of the pancreas which produce the insulin. This can be of help to Type I and Type II diabetes. Some researchers have reported improvement in neurological pain symptoms in arms and legs within a couple of weeks. They also report greater mental sharpness and better mood stability. Again, because it is an herb it is best to test for allergic proclivities and dose for each individual patient.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture research found that cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves can improve insulin sensitivity, along with coriander which can reduce glucose levels.

This is merely the tip of the volcano regarding the thousands of orthomolecular substances which can be used to control the dreaded disease of western civilization.

Orthomolecular medicine incorporates the science of biochemistry, immunology, allergy and environmental medicine with the art of taking a patient and respecting the biological individuality of that patient and creating a treatment plan based on exact dose therapy, using electrodermal titration to fine tune the therapy for this unique patient. I will demonstrate how this is done in our workshop that follows.

Bibliography