A Doctor’s Fight Against Diabetes
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 3
The Lidtke Letter for Professionals orange divider Monitoring Trends in Medicine and the Nutrition Industry orange divider

Discovery of a remarkable principle promises to help maintain healthy blood sugar and blood fats.

Dr. Charles Jarowski, Ph.D. was the first Director of Research and Development at Pfizer Inc. and distinguished himself over the next twenty years as he authored and co-authored over 50 publications and patents. Pfizer soon became the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, but rather than join the board of directors, Dr. Jarowski retired and joined the faculty at St. John’s University as Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Throughout his long career, Dr. Jarowski was driven by the fact that his own family was crippled by failing health due to diabetes and diabetic complications. At the age of 69, his father lost a leg, and his sister, too, lost a leg at the same age, 69. Both died shortly after.

Even as a young man he realized the same fate awaited him, and his early research led Dr. Jarowski to begin carefully supplementing his own diet. As he refined his theories over the next sixty years, working with some of the brightest scientists in the industry, he became recognized for his discoveries and was awarded his last patent while 90 years of age.

Throughout his entire career, Dr. Jarowski often lectured and explained how closely our blood sugar is linked to our cholesterol and the other blood fats. As his personal data confirmed, when his blood sugar came down, just one month later his cholesterol and triglycerides often followed. In the end, the research of Dr. Charles Jarowski greatly added to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying health and aging.

Dr. Charles Jarowski at his desk

How can “normal” blood-sugar erode your health?

Generally, I don’t recommend watching the news, but it is hard to deny the widely reported fact that our health in America is on a downward trend. As Dr. Dean Ornish, MD, observes, due to poor diet and alarming weight gains, this may be the first generation in which children live a shorter life than their parents.

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We are losing at least 800,000 of our friends and neighbors every year to cardiovascular disease, and at least 500,000 each year to cancer. Sad to say, these numbers just keep going up, and disorders nearly unknown a century ago are climbing as well. As evidence, we are sliding deeper into a blood-sugar crisis that most of modern medicine can’t seem to see.

The important fact to understand is that you do not need to be diagnosed with a disease to suffer irreparable damage from “normal” spikes in your blood sugar.

As explained by Dr. Steven Joyal, MD, most of us are never diagnosed with a blood-sugar disease, but in time our health is eroded by the daily blood-sugar ups and downs that are considered “normal.” This is where modern medicine fails to see the danger. More to the point: to avoid the most common age-related tragedies, we all need to follow some simple rules.

When you consume a meal, especially a high-carbohydrate meal, your blood sugar goes up, then later comes down. How high, and how often during the day, though, are the most critical questions to ask, and these blood-sugar swings nearly always increase with age.

This pattern is commonplace in our country, given our heavy dependence on breakfast cereals, fructose-saturated “health” drinks, and a diet loaded with grains, potatoes, starch and sugars.

Although your blood sugar level is important to watch, it is only one indicator of the damage that is being done. Less well-known to the public are the dangers of unstable insulin levels - often aggravated by calorie-free sweeteners - and of elevated hemoglobin A1c.

To take an example from our studies of insulin, maybe you have normal fasting blood-sugar levels. In this case, your pancreas may be healthy and strong, but it may be pounding your cells with insulin… pushing glucose and other nutrients into your liver, muscle, and fat cells - despite insulin resistance from those cells. Insulin resistance may go on undetected for years, but we now realize you are paying a heavy price.

Hemoglobin A1c is a different kind of enemy, though. Unlike insulin, hemoglobin A1c is not made by your body. It is a train-wreck that happens inside of your body. Hemoglobin A1c is a toxic waste product - the result of an uncontrolled accident called “glycation.”

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What Speeds Aging?

Simply put, glycation is the random, uncontrolled binding of sugar to proteins and fats. The higher your sugar level, the faster these binding reactions occur. This reaction sometimes is known as the “browning” reaction - the same browning that happens when you cook a steak or toast your bread. This happens to the foods you cook, and it happens to you. The effect is the same. Glycation from elevated blood sugar “cooks” you at a slow, insidious pace.

According to researchers in the field of aging, glycation end-products, known as AGEs, are one of the most important contributing factors in aging. As explained by the noted cosmetology expert, Dr. Nicolas Perricone, MD, the effects of glycation slowly show up in your skin. Even before you see dark discolorations, your skin becomes tough, leathery, and wrinkled, just like cooked meat.

Unseen, though, is the damage to your nerves, to your blood vessels, to your eyes and to your kidneys.

When your blood sugar rises in response to a starchy or sugary meal, glucose molecules bind with the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in your blood, producing hemoglobin A1c. This molecule can stay in your blood and continue damaging your small capillaries for up to four months after the meal that created them.

You may feel normal; your blood sugar may be normal, but your daily blood-sugar swings created these destructive fragments that, in a sense, grind away at the smallest, most fragile capillaries in your eyes, kidneys, and brain. And this destruction continues for months after your blood sugar has returned to normal.

What needs to be understood is that the very same destructive processes go on undiagnosed in all of us. We all are cutting our lives short by not doing a better job of controlling the sugar roller-coaster that we cause several times a day by our poor dietary choices.

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How can Blood Sugar Damage Circulation?

We have long known that glycation ties up many of our most vital biochemical components that support life. In fact, the accumulation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE's) is widely regarded as one of the key processes of aging.

So, how does glycation accelerate the damage to our eyes, kidneys, nerves and limbs? In addition to what we already know about hemoglobin A1c, research now reveals that sugar molecules in your bloodstream can bind to the well-known clotting-protein, fibrin. Fibrin then becomes denser than ordinary fibrin… more like a tight knot of tangled protein.

This makes fibrin very difficult to break down. When fibrin becomes too dense to dissolve, fibrin particles can begin accumulating and blocking your capillaries. When this happens, the circulation to your eyes, kidneys, brain, and limbs may begin a long decline. Years of this accumulation can take their toll.

In summary, as your blood-sugar levels begin to climb, the destructive process known as glycation is known to increase throughout your body and may have a dramatic impact on the fibrin in your blood - forming tough knots that gradually can plug up your capillaries.

More than one type of sugar?

The traditional method of testing glucose and calling it blood “sugar” is incomplete. Glucose is the most common blood sugar, but there are several other sugars in your food and blood. Fructose, once held in high regard due to reports of its low glycemic index, now has come under greater scrutiny.

Both fructose and galactose (a component of milk sugar) are far more reactive than glucose as blood levels go up. The trouble is that Fructose is becoming a big part of our diet as highfructose corn syrup invades more and more of the items on our grocery-store shelves.

As Dr. Robert Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Francisco has stated, fructose cannot be used directly by any cells in your body and probably behaves as a poison before being converted in your liver to glucose. In this view, fructose itself is not a nutrient and should be recognized as a promoter of diseases, such as obesity. The fact that fructose occurs naturally and abundantly in fruit does not change our conclusion.

The bottom line is this: every sugar and starch that you consume contributes to the background level of glycation. The consequences of glycation are serious and they accumulate, but they go mostly unnoticed and undiagnosed until many years later when they are labeled as a disease.

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What Promotes Long Life?

Researchers have been puzzled by the fact that people who live over 100 years have hardly anything in common. Some smoke and drink, and some do not. Some have low cholesterol and some do not. Some have a pleasant personality, and some do not.

One of the few things they do have in common, though, is relatively low blood-sugar and low triglycerides. In a recent study reported in May, 2010, entitled, “Found: genes that let you live to 100” one of the study’s authors stated, “People who live to a great age metabolize fats and glucose differently, their skin ages more slowly and they have a lower prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.”

We now strongly believe that below-average blood-sugar levels lead to lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, less glycation, more youthful skin, and less heart disease. In other words, everyone lives longer when they are not being cooked alive by the waste products formed by too much blood sugar.

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When did sugar problems begin?

Blood-sugar problems were first recorded over 3,500 years ago in an Egyptian papyrus. Although data is rather limited, the incidence of diabetes appears to match the ancient Egyptian dependence on starchy grains for food. Mind you, the Egyptians ate whole grains… not refined grains… but whole grains alone, contrary to many modern diet books, did not seem to have spared their lives.

In those ancient times, blood-sugar diseases would have been even more terrifying than they are today. Then as now, as high-insulin levels and high hemoglobin A1c did their vicious work, victims gradually acquired a terrible condition characterized by constant thirst, frequent urination, and rapid loss of weight. Back then it was almost as though victims were being dissolved by all the fluid passing through them.

In those ancient times, blood-sugar diseases would have been even more terrifying than they are today. Then as now, as high-insulin levels and high hemoglobin A1c did their vicious work, victims gradually acquired a terrible condition characterized by constant thirst, frequent urination, and rapid loss of weight. Back then it was almost as though victims were being dissolved by all the fluid passing through them.

By the 1920’s, insulin had become available and raised people’s hope, but even then some researchers knew that insulin was no solution to the larger problem; it was a band-aid. Insulin was prescribed only in the most severe cases, when all else had failed, and insulin is far from a benign remedy. The true goal is to start as young as possible and keep your blood-sugar levels low but within a healthy range. This challenge has not changed.

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What is Protein’s Role?

Over the next half a century, research began to uncover some disturbing things about the balance of proteins in our diet.

We all know that proteins are chains of amino acids. Literally, amino acids are connected together, end-to-end, in long chains that coil and flex in ways that hold you together and allow you to perform work. Every protein, however, whether it comes from beef or chicken or pinto beans or cheese, has a unique composition of amino acids… more of some amino acids and less of others. Some are essential, some are not.

The human body, too, has a unique composition of amino acids. Although beef and chicken are animal sources of protein, when you eat beef or chicken you mostly get protein from muscle, not from the entire animal.

Hence, the balance of amino acids in your meal, even though they come from an animal source, really only matches the amino-acid profile of your muscles, not of your skin, organs, hair, or connective tissue. It is rare, then, for a meal to match the amino-acid profile of your body.

Whatever the source, when you eat a protein meal your body looks at what you are consuming versus what it needs to repair and rebuild itself. If there is a discrepancy, your body will burn the surplus amino acids for energy. This involves a process called “gluconeogenesis” that converts many amino acids to sugar (glucose), and this sugar then spills back into your bloodstream.

Early on, it became evident that proteins are something of a Trojan Horse. They can change character once they are inside you… first the proteins split into amino acids, and then these same amino acids split into sugar and ammonia (yes, the same chemical found in window cleaners).

So you see, even if you do not consume sugar or starch, if the amino-acid balance of your meals does not match what your body needs, your blood-sugar and insulin levels can rise.

Plus, your kidneys and liver must deal with higher levels of nitrogen waste products - composed of waste ammonia, uric acid, and urea.

The beauty is that it is a controllable chemical process that we are fighting.

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Much work on amino acids originally began with a mandate and funding from NASA to formulate an ideal supplement for astronauts, long before their dream of reaching the moon. Perhaps the most important aspect of this research began by taking 60 high-protein foods that Americans commonly eat and then identifying the essential amino acids most frequently lacking.

The hypothesis simply was this: by supplementing the essential amino acids that were most lacking, in their proper ratios, before a meal, more of the protein in a typical meal could be utilized by your body. Furthermore, insulin efficiency would be improved, and fewer excess amino acids would be converted to waste ammonia, urea, uric acid and sugar.

When this research began, the ideal of formulating a single dietary supplement that could perform this important role, and the resulting health benefits it could bring, had not even formed in the minds of the researchers. The logical foundation for the laboratory procedures and calculations had not even been developed. In fact, many years would pass in pursuit of solutions to these problems.

Likewise, when this research began, many of the health conditions mentioned in earlier paragraphs were hardly known. Much has changed, then, including America’s inexcusable mortality figures. Nevertheless, there is much cause for optimism. Above all, we now know that with a few right choices there is no need for this continued destruction of life. ■ ■

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