By Dr Ghayur Ayub
To understand the question, we have to know some basic facts about diabetes. For example, a compound known as glucose and a molecule called insulin play important roles in causation of the disease. The blood level of glucose depends on the presence and activity of insulin. The food we eat is converted to glucose. Insulin shifts that glucose into cells where it gets involved in three activities; some of it is converted into energy called ATP through Kreb cycle and Electron Transport Chain; part of the remaining is converted to glycogen; and the rest is changed to fat. The latter two are stored for rainy days. When the blood glucose level is low for whatever reason such as fasting, glycogen and fat successively convert back to glucose to keep up with metabolism. The released glucose flows in the blood stimulating beta cells of pancreas to release Insulin. Insulin on its part, pushes glucose back into the cells. This is the natural metabolic process between glucose and insulin and energy production at cellular level.
When we keep on ingesting large amount of glucose from food for years and the insulin keeps pumping it into the cells, the cells fill up to the brim leaving no space for more glucose. Such a situation is called Insulin Resistance and the person puts on weight and goes into a pre-diabetic state. When the signs and symptoms of high sugar start to appear and people start passing sugar in urine they are diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.
At the time of diagnosis, the doctors tell them two things. First, the sugar has gone out of control blaming it as the causative agent. This might be true in the beginning when control over the diet is lost for years pushing up the level of glucose which in turn raises the insulin level. But later on, it is the raised insulin which disturbs the glucose metabolism. Second, diabetes is an untreatable and progressive disease and patients have to carry on with treatment for the rest of their lives.
They are wrong on both counts. The point they miss is that the actual cause of diabetes is not glucose but the Insulin Resistance patients develop because of persistently high level of insulin. The resistance is developed because insulin keeps on trying to push glucose into the cells already filled with glucose. Instead of focusing on the cellular metabolism and emptying the cells of the stored glucose, the doctors put the patients on the first line of antidiabetic drugs which elevate the level of already raised insulin. The trick works for a while and blood sugar comes down by forcefully stuffing the cells with more glucose. Soon, the first line medication becomes ineffective when the insulin fails to push more glucose into the cells. The doctors put them on the second line of medication and the process goes on until they use all the drugs. In the end, they are left with the last hope – the insulin injections. Again, they keep on increasing the dose of insulin to the frustration of patients and worsening of diabetes.
While all this jargon goes on, the patients are attacked from three sides by; high level of insulin; poorly controlled glucose level; and the anti-diabetic drugs. All three have their own atrocious side effects on liver, kidneys, eyes, nervous system, cardio-vascular system, muscles ect. Liver being the metabolic centre and main detoxing organ takes the main brunt and goes into fatty changes. In the process, the glucose metabolism turns upside down and complications start to appear which are treated separately by the relevant specialists such as cardiologists, nephrologists, neurologist, eye specialists, amputation doctors ect.
All this is due to missing the point that it is the high blood level of insulin which plays havoc with metabolism of glucose at cellular level. The doctors in their wisdom keep pushing insulin to let glucose enter the already stuffed cells.
This anomaly has been proved by the researchers such as Dr Jason Fung who is a Canadian nephrologist and wrote two researched books on the subject. Other researchers also came to the same conclusion. All of them have proved with facts and figures that diabetes is a treatable dietary disease which has been treated wrongly with drugs. According to them, with proper management patients can be cured and in long run would not need antidiabetic medications.
According to them, the treating doctors should be concentrating on the Insulin Resistance of the cells which is the main cause of diabetes. That can be corrected by reducing the level of insulin and making the cells Insulin Sensitive thus converting abnormal metabolism of glucose to normal.
They came up with following suggestions.
1) Start proper diet regimes with low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat.
2) Start taking fibre in the diet.
3) Start any of the physical activities such as normal walk, walking up and down the stairs, jogging, aerobatic exercises, anaerobic exercises or high intensity intermittent training (HIIT). These activities shouldn’t be exhausting.
4) Start intermittent fasting.
5) Drink a lot of water.
In addition, they say it will be helpful if patients learn how to sleep soundly.
They have proved that with this management, the dose of antidiabetic drugs came down to half, less than half, and one fourth in a few weeks. Some patients stopped taking medication altogether proving that diabetes is a curable disease.
The researchers blame the existing way of treatment wherein the doctors prescribe drugs that enhance blood insulin level which is the main culprit. At the same time they advise the patients to exercise and be watchful of fatty diet. The researchers see a paradox in this approach as unsupervised exercise may cause the release of cortisol hormone which increases the blood level of glucose triggering insulin release and wasting muscle mass. They believe most of the treating doctors do not know that the actual cause of diabetes is not glucose; it is insulin and its resistance. The good news is that in near future the whole concept of diabetes and its treatment is going to change.