1. CANCER SCARE: Diabetes drug recalled for contamination!

    It’s not paranoia, friend…

    They really ARE trying to poison ya!

    Some of today’s top meds are TOXIC… even when they’re made PERFECTLY and taken CORRECTLY.

    But guess what? They’re NOT being made perfectly.

    And as the industry cuts corners to raise profits… there’s some nasty junk getting in the mix.

    And this is a whole lot worse than finding bug bits in your candy bar.

    There’s POISON in the medicine, my friend -- and an alarming new report reveals the latest.

    One of the most popular drugs for diabetes could contain a cancer-causing compound.

    So today, I’m going to shine a light on what’s going on behind the scenes… and then give you another much BETTER and far SAFER option for diabetes control.

    What’s in your metformin will SHOCK you

    It didn’t make big headlines in 2020 because… well… there were a couple of other things going on.

    But there is an absolute CRISIS developing around metformin.

    The past year was marked by recall after recall after recall of generic extended-dose formulas of the drug…

    Because it was CONTAMINATED with a cancer-causing chemical.

    It’s N-nitrosodimethylamine, better known as NDMA -- the same garbage that led to MULTIPLE recalls of blood pressure meds and heartburn drugs, if you remember.

    Here in 2021, we’re already seeing more of the same… with a new recall announced just days into the New Year.

    But don’t kid yourself that this is an example of the FDA working to PROTECT you.

    Seems to me they never WERE… and they never WILL BE.

    When this scandal began, the FDA initially sent out a note saying there’s no problem with metformin – and patients should keep right on taking it.

    It’s only when the contamination became too big to ignore that the FDA finally took long-delayed action.

    If you’ve got diabetes, there are 2 steps you need to take:

    1. Check your stash. If you’re on any extended-release metformin, visit the FDA’s website to see if it’s on the (extensive, and growing) recalls list… or check in with your doctor and see if they have any more information.
    2. Take action so you’re not SCREWED by the next big recall.

    If you have diabetes, it’s not too late to REVERSE the disease itself… and reduce or even ELIMINATE your need for medication including metformin.

    Start with a diet EXTREMELY low in carbs… which should get your glucose to snap back to normal.

    In addition, consider natural therapies such as…

    • berberine
    • chromium
    • Gymnema sylvestre
    • cinnamon, and
    • vitamins B3, C, and

    Don’t quit your meds on your own, of course, but work with your doctor – ideally a naturopathic medical doctor experienced in helping patients with diabetes.

    In Your Corner,

    Dr. Allan Spreen

  2. Popular diabetes drug linked to SKIN-CRAWLING side effect

    The old saying is that they treat you like a number.

    But now, it’s even WORSE than that.

    They don’t even treat YOUthey just treat the NUMBERS!

    They’ve got their noses so deep in the chart with cholesterol… blood pressure… blood sugar… and everything else…

    That they barely even NOTICE the human being standing there.

    And if you have diabetes

    New research reveals how this DANGEROUS obsession with numbers could leave you suffering from an ugly mix of BURNING pain and DEADLY risks.

    A BLISTERING indictment of a diabetes med

    There’s a class of drug out there for diabetes called DPP-4 inhibitors

    And docs just LOVE ’em.


    Because it’s GREAT at helping hit those numbers.

    It cuts blood sugar levels without the most common risk of most of the other drugs. And it doesn’t bring them down TOO low.

    Yeah, great for those NUMBERS.

    But for YOU? Not so much!

    The new warning finds these drugs could cause your skin to literally crawl with what’s known as bullous pemphigoid -- or itchy, painful blisters that can pop up in some of your most sensitive spots.

    Overall, the drugs – which include big-sellers like saxagliptin, sitagliptin, linagliptin, and alogliptin – can increase the risk of this condition by 42%.

    In seniors, that risk jumps by 62%.

    And if the drug doesn’t cause your skin to bubble up with blisters…

    It can WRECK your joints with an agonizing condition so severe that when the FDA announced that risk in 2015… the agency said it could be “disabling.”

    But that’s not even the WORST part of it…

    Because these drugs offer a CLEAR lesson in the danger of treating the numbers.

    See, the idea of treatment in diabetes ISN’T to match your glucose up to some number on a chart…

    It’s to have BETTER control over the disease… and a LONGER life.

    Yet a study a few years back found these drugs DON’T deliver there.

    Even when they “work” by your doctor’s measures… even when your glucose is smack in the middle of the happy zone on the chart… the study found NO real survival benefit compared to a placebo!

    What the heck’s the point???

    I’ve got a better option here -- one that treats YOU and not some number on a chart.

    Start with a diet low in carbs, especially sugar. If you’re strict about it… and by that I mean going full Atkins or Paleo or whatever you wanna call it… that could be all you need.

    But I get it. Not everyone can be THAT strict.

    You can also BOOST your nutrition, especially vitamins B3 and C

    And look at natural therapies for blood sugar control such as chromium… berberine… Gymnema sylvestre… and/or vanadium.

    In Your Corner,

    Dr. Allan Spreen

    P.S. You can STOP prediabetes from turning into diabetes – and in 2 easy steps!

    Click here to find out how.

  3. FDA label change spells BAD NEWS for diabetes patients

    Scary drug warnings have you down? Well, friend, the FDA is here for you. The agency just took action to make millions of American diabetics feel better about a popular diabetes med… One that’s been linked to horrific side effects… including a warning about foot amputations… right on the label. You’d have to be NUTS to take this drug with...
  4. The SKIN-CRAWLING side effect of a popular diabetes drug [Ew!]

    The old saying is that they treat you like a number. But now, it’s even WORSE than that. They don’t even treat YOU – they just treat the NUMBERS! They’ve got their noses so deep in the chart with cholesterol… blood pressure… blood sugar… and everything else… That they barely even NOTICE the human being standing there. And if you...
  5. The SKIN-CRAWLING side effect of a popular diabetes drug [Ew!]

    The old saying is that they treat you like a number. But now, it’s even WORSE than that. They don’t even treat YOU – they just treat the NUMBERS! They’ve got their noses so deep in the chart with cholesterol… blood pressure… blood sugar… and everything else… That they barely even NOTICE the human being standing there. And if you...
  6. [WARNING] FDA signs off on DANGEROUS diabetes drug

    FDA signs off on DANGEROUS diabetes drug A major drug company has got a diabetes drug that’s so dangerous… the instructions almost BEG you not to take it. Not at first, anyway. It says it SHOULDN’T be “first-line” treatment for the disease. When you consider how bad many of the “first-line” treatments are, that’s saying something. But instead of...
  7. Mainstream now admits THIS can beat diabetes [MAJOR turnaround!]

    It’s time to update that old saying about fooling some of the people, some of the time… At least when it comes to diabetes. No one’s being FOOLED by the mainstream anymore! They’ve figured out the truth: You can STOP, REVERSE, and even CURE this disease… And you can do it without drugs. I’ll tell you EXACTLY how in a...
  8. Beat one of the WORST RISKS of diabetes… without meds!

    Not long ago – you probably even remember the days – diabetes patients looked like Civil War veterans, hobbled by missing feet and legs. They hopped around on peglegs and false feet… and some were confined to wheelchairs. No one uses peglegs or hooks for hands anymore (except pirates). But people are losing limbs all over again, because… An ENTIRE...
  9. Get PERFECT blood sugar… without risky meds

    REALLY???? THIS is what passes for PROGRESS at the FDA? A few years back, the agency screwed up big time by allowing a dangerous drug for diabetes onto the market with little true testing. What could possibly go wrong? Well, obviously, EVERYTHING went wrong… But leave it to the screwballs in the mainstream to see this as a positive. They’re actually...
  10. [Shocker] The only thing ‘complicated’ about your diabetes is your MEDS!

    There’s a health crisis hiding in plain sight. Nearly EVERY doctor has SEEN it… yet almost NONE have been able to RECOGNIZE it. And even those who know something’s wrong can’t explain it. But I can… Millions of Americans with diabetes are quietly suffering from a debilitating nutritional deficiency. Docs CAN easily test for it, but almost none DO. It’s time to...
  11. Mainstream press misses link between diabetes drug Actos and cancer

    I hate to say I told you so. But every time I come down tough on drugs, it turns out they really deserve it. Take for example, the diabetes drug Actos. A few weeks back, I slammed Actos, despite new research (covered in TIME and The New York Times) that it decreases your risk of developing diabetes. Turns out, I should have come down harder on that darned drug. In fact, this week researchers published a report that found an association between Actos and a certain form of cancer. Plus, this isn‘t the first study to uncover a link between Actos and increased cancer risk. I‘ll give you all the grisly details in a moment. But first, let‘s back up a few months...

    Proof that mainstream reporters eat whatever‘s fed to them

    A month ago, Actos sounded like a wonder drug. Everywhere you looked the mainstream press kept repeating the same statistic...men and women with pre- diabetes who took Actos lowered their risk of developing full-blown diabetes by 72 percent. Sounds impressive, right? Actos may prevent diabetes! But remember the key flaw I told you about (and the mainstream press conveniently omitted)? The study was exceptionally small. In the end, we‘re talking talking about a total difference of 35 people! Considering that 300 million pre-diabetics live in the U.S., how could any doctor give Actos to just one of them based on such slim evidence? And here‘s the icing on the cake... Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Actos, actually conducted this shaky study. In my book, it was purely a PR scheme to boost sales. Actos‘s patent expired in January of this year. But Takeda Pharmaceuticals struck a deal to delay entry of generic versions of the drug until August 2012. Was this their last-ditch effort to boost sales before the generics hit the market? Or maybe... Was it their last-ditch effort to boost sales before something far worse hit the fan...?

    Researchers link Actos to cancer

    The FDA tries to keep tabs on all prescription and OTC drugs once they hit the market. So when you take a drug, even a drug like Tylenol, and have a bad reaction, you‘re supposed to report it to the FDA. Similarly, when you go to see your doctor and talk about your bad reaction to a drug, your doc should report it to the FDA. The FDA keeps track of all these "adverse reactions" -- no matter how small -- in a massive database. This is called the FDA‘s Adverse Event Reporting Program. The FDA compiles and publishes the data annually. But in the case of Actos... A group of Italian researchers analyzed all the adverse events reported to the FDA between 2004 and 2009 for 15 diabetes drugs on the market, including Actos and metformin. When they analyzed the reporting odds ratio (ROR), they found a "definite risk" linking Actos and bladder cancer. The risk of bladder cancer and the other diabetes drugs was "much weaker." The researchers aren‘t sure why Actos may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. But they think it may have to do with certain receptor cells in your body. You see, Actos works by opening receptor cells so they will become more responsive to insulin. But this may also encourage them to turn cancerous. Now here‘s what troubles even more...

    Actos may be linked to even more problems

    The FDA‘s Adverse Event Reporting System isn‘t perfect. (I know. It‘s shocking, right?) You see, it‘s completely voluntary. It stands to reason there could be more cases of bladder cancer that we don‘t know about. For example, say Joe Smith from Indiana began taking Actos in 2004 for diabetes. Then, out of the blue, he got bladder cancer in 2008. Maybe his doctor never thought to connect Actos to his bladder cancer. None of this business about bladder cancer had hit the press yet. Now, let‘s say Joe is one of the lucky ones and went on to survive bladder cancer. He‘s no longer in treatment. Now we know about the cancer link. But his doctor never reported it to the FDA back in 2008 because back then, no one did. Hopefully, this new study will start to spread some awareness. Just don‘t count on the FDA to move quickly. They have known about the possible link between Actos and bladder cancer for at least a year. In fact, last year the FDA began to take a closer look at Actos after receiving early results from a long-term study by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. That study showed patients with the longest exposure (or highest cumulative dose) to Actos had in increased risk of developing bladder cancer. It will be interesting to see if TIME or The New York Times follows up on their Actos report, won‘t it? (I‘m not holding my breath. Before sending this week‘s GUIDE TO GOOD HEALTH off to my editor, I ran a quick Google search. At that point, The NYT still hadn‘t run anything about the new data linking Actos to bladder cancer. That‘s a full three days after the research hit the newswire. I‘m betting they just let it slip on by.) Well, maybe TIME Magazine will run something in its next issue. After all, the mainstream press is our last unbiased bastion of truth. (Yeah right.)
  12. TIME misses key flaw in bogus drug study encouraging Actos for diabetes

    Last month, The New York Times and TIME magazine both ran articles that reported on new research for a diabetes drug called Actos (pioglitazone). According to the new research, men and women with elevated blood sugar levels who took Actos were less likely to develop diabetes than a placebo group. You can make the case that the reporters wrote balanced arguments. In fact, both reporters raised concerns about giving a diabetes drug to patients without full-blown diabetes. Plus, both reporters warned you about the drug‘s very serious side effects. But there‘s one major problem with both articles: They fail to point out a key flaw in the new research. In fact, the results of this study are so shaky, TIME and The NYT had no business giving it any ink. (You‘ll learn exactly why the results are so shaky in a moment, I promise!) But first, I want to point out something about Big Pharma... The new Actos research reflects Big Pharma‘s new marketing strategy. Don‘t just take our drugs to treat disease. Take them before you develop the disease too! Unfortunately, the national news media seems all too willing to take this strategy seriously. But, in my book, it‘s all about boosting sales. Here‘s what they don‘t tell you... Actos‘s patent expired in January of this year. But Takeda Pharmaceuticals -- the company that makes Actos -- struck a deal to delay entry of generic versions of the drug until August 2012. So, this is the company‘s last-ditch effort to boost sales over the next 12 months. Get men and women who don‘t have diabetes to take a diabetes drug. What a novel idea! Is it any surprise, then, that Takeda Pharmaceuticals partially funded this bogus study? Yep. Who didn‘t see that coming from a mile away? The good news is there are lots of ways to prevent diabetes without resorting to a drug like Actos. In fact, a new study proved that even small amounts of one key mineral could lower your blood sugar by nearly 10 percent. I‘ll tell you all about that study in a moment, but first let‘s look at the details of the latest Actos research... Study raises red flags from the start U.S. researchers gave Actos to 602 men and women with pre-diabetes for two years. (To be clear, these folks did not have full-blown diabetes, just elevated blood sugar levels.) During that time, 7.6 percent of the volunteers who took a placebo developed diabetes. By comparison, only 2.1 percent of volunteers who took Actos developed diabetes. According to TIME and The NYT, this means volunteers who took Actos reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 72 percent. Sounds great, right? The lead researcher for the study called these results "astounding." Well, not so fast Dr. Ralph A. DeFronzo. Let‘s look at the results from your study using the raw data. Here‘s what really happened in your "astounding" study... Of the 602 men and women who started the study, 10 patients who took Actos developed diabetes. On the other hand, 45 patients who took the placebo developed diabetes. So...we‘re talking about a total difference of 35 people! Just 35 people. Talk about ignoring the big fat elephant in the room. Did the reporters omit this information because it lessens the argument? I can‘t be sure but what I do know is that the mainstream press needs to take a long hard look at the study data. There are 300 million pre-diabetics living in the U.S. alone. Should we really even consider giving this drug to any of them based on the results that 35 fewer people developed diabetes? In my opinion: No. I don‘t care how much The NYT and TIME warned their readers about weight gain and fluid retention. When you leave out a key piece of information like that, you‘ve really dropped the ball. And that‘s not all... Actos linked to heart risk and bladder cancer Many people consider Actos a safer alternative to other diabetes drugs, but it‘s not. Here‘s why... It belongs to the same class of drugs as Avandia. As you‘ll recall, the FDA greatly restricts the use of Avandia because it may increase your heart attack risk. So, how about Actos? Could it increase heart attack risk too? Of course, it could. In fact, a 2010 study found that Actos caused as many heart problems as Avandia. Plus, the FDA is investigating a link between Actos and bladder cancer. I suspect they will find the longer you take Actos, the greater your risk. Now, I promised you some good news in this whole mess. And here it is: there are non-drug solutions to getting your blood sugar under control... Tackle diabetes naturally First off, there‘s diet and exercise. As I mentioned earlier, this can cut your diabetes risk by 58 percent. Plus, a new study found that magnesium might help too. For this study, researchers divided 52 men and women with diabetes into two groups. One group got 365 mg of magnesium per day for six months. The other group got a placebo. Overall, the magnesium group improved in two out of three tests for insulin sensitivity. Plus, their blood sugar levels after fasting improved by about seven percent. Though this study is small in scope, researchers point to large-scale meta-analysis that confirms their results. In that analysis, researchers found that men and women lowered their diabetes risk by 15 percent with each 100 mg of magnesium taken. So, just think...taking 300 mg magnesium each day could lower your risk by 45 percent. Not too shabby. If you want to learn more about how to lower your diabetes risk without drugs, go back and look at my Guide to Good Health from 8-12-10. In this report, you‘ll find three important steps you can take to improve your blood sugar control.
  13. Embrace the benefits of cinnamon: The world’s oldest spice

    Holiday spice slashes blood sugar in just 12 weeks

    If you‘re diabetic, there‘s one simple change you can make to your routine -- yes, even during the holidays -- to improve your blood sugar control: Eat more cinnamon.

    That alone could make the difference in how well you manage your blood sugar. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine found that cinnamon significantly improves blood sugar in just 12 weeks...plus, it even improves blood pressure in diabetics who take it every day!

    World‘s oldest spice has many health benefits

    I‘ve written before about the benefits of cinnamon. It is one of the oldest spices known to man and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In fact, cinnamon contains powerful polyphenols, which have been shown to:

    • Boost brain function
    • Thwart infections
    • Zap bacteria
    • Speed healing
    • Relieve menstrual pain
    • Improve circulation
    • Soothe gastrointestinal discomfort
    Cinnamon is also beneficial to anyone at risk for heart disease or stroke...and that covers just about everyone! Cinnamon contains oils that naturally thin the blood. In fact, these compounds prevent platelets from clumping together in your arteries, so unwanted blood clots don‘t tend to form. Cinnamon also contains compounds that effectively reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and slash triglycerides.

    Lastly, cinnamon is widely regarded -- even among conventional docs -- for its role in regulating blood sugar. First off, cinnamon slows down how quickly your stomach empties after eating a meal.

    This means that -- even if you‘ve eaten a meal with a high-glycemic load -- not all of the sugar gets dumped into your blood stream at once. Instead, the sugar enters your blood a little bit at a time. This gives your body adequate time to respond and produce insulin.

    Cinnamon also re-activates your body‘s worn-out insulin receptors. It also blocks the enzyme that damaged these insulin receptors in the first place.

    A surprisingly small amount is all it takes

    For the most recent study, researchers recruited 58 men and women with diabetes and randomly divided them into two groups. One group received about ¼ a teaspoon of cinnamon each day for 12 weeks. To be more specific, they took 2 grams of cinnamomum cassia, the common variety cinnamon found on your grocery store shelf. But they took it as a capsule. The other group received a placebo.

    After the 12 weeks, the blood sugar levels of those taking the cinnamon fell eight percent. Plus, their systolic blood pressure came down about 3 ½ points and their diastolic number fell about 5 points.

    Not too shabby for something as simple as adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to your morning oatmeal or even your coffee.

    The placebo group didn‘t fair nearly as well. In fact, they didn‘t see any blood pressure improvements during the course of the study. In addition, their blood sugar actually rose 8 ½ percent over the 12 weeks!

    The USDA has even jumped on the cinnamon bandwagon!

    Last July government scientists found that diabetics who took cinnamon for just 40 days:
    • Lowered their fasting blood glucose levels by 18 to 29 percent
    • Slashed triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent
    • And cut total cholesterol 12 to 26 percent
    And that was just by taking ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon of cinnamon each day. When study participants stopped taking the cinnamon, all their improvements disappeared.

    Get control of your blood sugar this holiday

    Now, I realize that December isn‘t the month most of us choose to make major health overhauls. But you can do this: Sprinkle cinnamon on your apples, oatmeal, yogurt or coffee.

    Strive to get at least ¼ a teaspoon each day if you‘re prone to blood sugar issues. Then, by January, you may want to have your blood work checked to see if your levels have improved.

    There‘s nothing special to know about buying good cinnamon. Any variety off your grocer‘s shelf will do the trick. Though, I‘d go for "organic" cinnamon if it were available.

    Keep it in a sealed glass container in your cabinet. Ground cinnamon will stay fresh this way for about six months, and cinnamon sticks will last about a year. You can extend cinnamon‘s shelf life by keeping it in the refrigerator.

    To check for freshness, smell the cinnamon. It should smell sweet. If it doesn‘t smell sweet, throw it out. It‘s time has come to an end.
  14. Manage your blood sugar safely, without Avandia side effects

    Last month, the FDA restricted sales of the diabetes drug Avandia. From now on, you can only get it if you‘ve tried every other drug on the market without success. Or, if you‘re already taking Avandia, you‘ll be allowed to continue to take it as well. (Hopefully, this one doesn‘t apply to you.) But you‘ll have to attest that you understand the serious risks involved...namely that taking Avandia ups your chances of having a heart attack and stroke. And that risk is nothing to sneeze at. According to a recent New York Times article, "One study estimated that from 1999 to 2009, more than 47,000 people taking Avandia needlessly suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, or died." Sensibly, the European Union banned the drug all together. The good news is, in many cases, natural methods can help control your blood sugar. Visit www.northstarnutritionals.com and run a search of previous Guide to Good Health articles. Just type "DIABETES" into the Guide to Good Health search box. You‘ll find 42 recent articles about how to naturally lower your blood sugar. One recent article tells you how men and women with diabetes lowered their fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29 percent in just 40 days without drugs or major changes in their diet. How‘d they do it? Just click here to find out.
  15. Thankfully, you can still lower your cholesterol without statins!

    Today is Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful that even a mainstream doc like David Katz from the Yale University School of Medicine has admitted the obvious: You can lower your cholesterol without taking statin drugs. In fact, according to Dr. Katz's new research, you may be able to lower your cholesterol, even if you're diabetic, by eating one of my favorite snack foods. Preventing heart disease if you've got diabetes If you're diabetic, your blood sugar is constantly on your mind. And rightfully so. But what about heart disease? Heart disease is a major complication of diabetes. In fact, if you've got diabetes you're just as likely to suffer a heart attack as someone who's already had one. The build-up of plaque in your arteries is usually to blame. So how do you guard against a heart attack if you've already got diabetes? Without blinking an eye, most doctors will write you a prescription for a statin drug. And sure, these drugs can lower your cholesterol. But they can also cause permanent muscle damage as well as other serious side effects. Plus, in one major study, men and women who took statin drugs died of a heart attack just as often as those who didn't take them (but just took better care of themselves). More than one way to skin a cat If you've got diabetes and high cholesterol, you don't have to resort to statin drugs. In fact, Dr. Katz found that diabetics could potentially lower their "overall cardiac risk" just by eating walnuts. Dr. Katz and his team asked 24 middle-aged diabetics to take part in their study. Half of them maintained their established eating pattern. The other half ate a small handful of walnuts (56 grams) each day for eight weeks. After eight weeks, the walnut eaters experienced:
    • Improved cholesterol levels
    • Improved blood sugar
    • Improved health of blood vessels
    What makes walnuts so great for your heart? Well, for starters, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, similar to the kind you find in fish. But isn't fish oil better for your heart? Fish like salmon and tuna contain powerful omega-3 fatty-acids called EPA and DHA. Without a doubt, these nutrients play a vital role in protecting your heart. Even the American Heart Association admits as much. According to their web site: "Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death; decrease triglyceride levels; decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque; and lower blood pressure (slightly)." But walnuts (as well as flaxseeds and chia seeds) contain a lesser-known nutrient called ALA that gets converted into EPA and DHA in the body. And ALA seems to play a unique role in regulating cholesterol in the body. In fact, in another study, published earlier this year, walnuts lowered cholesterol better than fish in healthy individuals. Now, I'm not saying to forget the fish. Rather, just toss in a handful of walnuts, too. Keep unsalted, organic walnuts in your kitchen. Sprinkle them on salads or your oatmeal. Just make sure to get a handful a day to support healthy cholesterol levels.
  16. Reading between the lines

    As an M.D., I’m required to complete continuing education classes to keep my license. The idea is to keep us docs up-to-date with current medical procedures. I’m a bit of a research junkie, so I usually exceed the recommended hours in no time. Well, last week I took a quiz in the clinical journal American Family Physician. This journal is kind of like the Ford Taurus of medical journals. It‘s true mainstream medicine. Nevertheless, I need to subscribe to it. And taking their darned quiz earned me a couple of continuing ed hours. The questions are based on articles published in the journal. This month’s quiz covered all the general topics, such as splints and casts as well as heart disease and diabetes. Testing bias hiding on every page? The quiz was going along smoothly enough. I was feeling pretty confident in my “Ford Taurus” medical knowledge, I have to say. But then I got to question #4 and hit a road block. The question was about diabetes. Of course, diabetes has been on my mind a lot lately. In last week’s Guide to Good Health, we looked at a new study showing that people with the highest intake of vitamin D and calcium have a 64 percent lower prevalence of ever getting the disease. Here’s the link: http://www.northstarnutritionals.com/article_list.php?docs_id=111 if you want a refresher. In any case, the question asked, “Which one of the following medications has been shown to reduce mortality rates in patients with type 2 diabetes?” a. Sitagliptin (Januvia) b. Rosiglitazone (Avandia) c. Exenatide d. Metformin (Glucophage) Getting answers from mainstream medicine Any guesses which drug is the “correct” answer? Oh, pardon me. I mean which drug is the “correct” answer according to the good folks at American Family Physician? I’ll tell you that in a moment. But first, let me point out what had me scratching my head. You see, in my opinion, there is no right answer when the question is all wrong! The real way to reduce mortality rates in diabetics is to cure the disease, not control the symptoms with a drug. It’s a bum question. One that makes the American Family Physician’s apparent bias toward drug solutions stick out like a sore thumb. Well, should I have been surprised? This “scholarly” medical journal is filled cover to cover with ads for drugs. Of course their question only offers four drug answers. Trading one problem for another The all-mighty quiz writers tell us the correct answer is “D: Glucophage (or Metformin). This wildly popular drug is often used as a first-line of defense for people with pre-diabetes or for people with mild diabetes. And yes—it will modestly bring your blood sugar under control. But it’s not without its downfalls. In one clinical trial over 50 percent of the patients who took Metformin reported diarrhea as a side effect. And more than 25 percent reported nausea and/or vomiting in the same trial. Lastly, long-term use has been linked to increased homocysteine levels and malabsorption of vitamin B12. No biggie, right? Wrong. High homocysteine is not a small problem. High homocysteine has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. So basically you‘re just trading one problem for another. Yes, Glucophage may help control your blood sugar. But at what cost? The solution that works Here’s some good news, folks. You can conquer diabetes. There are non-drug options that work. A recent study out of Duke University examined the effects of a low-carb diet on blood sugar in diabetics. They found that 95 percent of patients who followed a low-carb diet either reduced their need for insulin or discontinued it all together after 24 weeks. This means you’ll need to cut out all the sugar and simple carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice, even most pasta and crackers) in your diet. Complex carbs may be okay if you’ve got pre-diabetes. But only in moderation. Complex carbs take longer to digest and will help keep your blood sugar under control. These include whole grain/whole wheat bread, dehulled barley, millet, brown rice, quinoa, and oats. Pasta is okay as long as you go with spinach, artichoke, whole wheat, or brown rice varieties. (Make sure it’s 100% whole wheat or brown rice. Sometimes, the packaging can be confusing.) Also, I’d try adding chromium, vanadium, B-complex and vitamin C to your daily regimen if you’ve already got type 2 diabetes or think you’re at risk for developing it.

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