Rare audio interview with Dr. Charles Jarowski on Diabetes, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol
Dr. Charles Jarowski, Ph.D., was the founding Director of Research and Development at Pfizer, Inc., and served in that distinguished position for over twenty years. From Pfizer, Dr. Jarowski accepted the position of professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John’s University and taught Ph.D. students until his retirement.
Dr. Jarowski spent decades, at the highest levels, researching blood glucose and cholesterol and the biochemical mechanisms controlling them. Dr. Jarowski began the groundbreaking research leading to his first patent by taking 60 high-protein foods that Americans commonly eat and identifying the essential amino acids most frequently lacking. By simply supplementing these dietary amino acids in their proper ratio before a meal, he found that a higher percentage of protein is utilized by the body, reducing harmful nitrogen-containing waste products and supporting healthy blood sugar and good health.
This radio interview with Dr. Charles Jarowski, Ph.D. originally was broadcast in Miami, Florida. In places the content has been edited for clarity without changing the meaning.
Janet Simorelli: Joining us is former director of Research and Development at Pfizer, Inc. for more than 20 years, Dr. Charles Jarowski. Good morning Dr. Jarowski. It is rare that we have someone of your credentials and authority visiting Healthline.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Good morning Janet. I’m so happy to be able to hear your voice and visit with your listeners.
Janet: Ok, well we’re looking forward to lots of good information. Tell our listeners a little bit about your very distinguished career, your first career, because now you’re into a second career.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Yes, I must say; fate is a really strange thing that happens to an individual. I went to a college of pharmacy to get a pharmacy degree, and while I was there, my dad, when he reached the age of 69, actually had one of his legs removed due to Type II Diabetes, and my sister Anna, when she reached the age of 69, had the same fate befall her.
So, I began to worry, even as a student in a pharmacy school, that maybe I would suffer the same fate. So, after I got my degree, one of the professors encouraged me to go for a doctorate degree, and I got a doctorate degree in pharmaceutical chemistry, and then here’s where fate entered in. There was an opening for a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois. When I accepted that fellowship and received my doctorate degree, I went out to Illinois, and they were doing research on establishing which of the 20+ amino acids were essential for health. That was work being done by a Professor Rose, and the graduate students who were doing this research would talk with me.
I was doing a structure proof at the time, but I learned an awful lot by taking courses as a post-doctorate fellow for two years. To make a long story short, I came up with this idea that if one would concentrate on nutrition based on the fasting blood levels of the essential amino acids, one could get some profoundly important results. And so, when I left Illinois and went to work in the drug industry, as fate would have it again, I was able to convince the people in Washington to allow one of our men from Pfizer, where I worked, to do some research on testing the idea. And it was that idea that led to the first patent in 1963.
Now here I am working for Pfizer. They’re interested in brand new drugs. They were not interested too much in making dietary supplements, so as a result, I sort of studied this without a lot of fanfare; did careful research, and then many years later after I left Pfizer, I joined the faculty of St John’s University to be a professor. I stayed there until I retired in 1987, and when I retired I did full-time research on the amino acids and how they impact blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerices. This research led to three additional patents.
The last patent was issued in December 2007. That’s my educational background and how I got interested in the supplementation of amino acids. As we learned early on, blood sugar correlates strongly with cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In most cases, then, maintaining healthy blood sugar has an enormous impact on the health of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.
Janet: It’s your personal family history that really initiated it, but over your career, fate, as you mentioned, has put you at the right place at the right time.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Absolutely.
Janet: What would you say are some of the causes of poor health in the American population, and, is it a crisis, is it a health crisis that we’re facing?
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Well, we have to look behind it. Americans, as you know, generally have a breakfast that’s prepared in a hurry. Many people, at least on the east coast where I live, if they have to drive or catch a train to work at 7:00 am, may be riding in a car, and they’re munching on a Danish, a muffin, or some kind of an easy thing to eat, with a cup of coffee. They get out of the car, get on the train, finish their breakfast, and off to work they go. Now, almost all Americans who consume cereals, in one form or another, should realize that almost all cereals contain rather high concentrations of carbohydrate. So we get into this pattern of a breakfast which is loaded with carbohydrate, and what happens then? Our blood sugar surges upward, even in healthy individuals.
When I did my research on myself, I used rice. When I consume rice and heat it for 3 minutes or so in a microwave oven, my blood sugar goes up! Now, my son is a doctor, and a very good doctor, an internist, and he told me, “Dad, you need to watch your blood sugar, even after a simple meal of rice, milk, and egg white.”
And so as a result, as I became more focused in my research, I looked into the composition of the proteins that I was consuming, and I felt that if I could blend specific amino acids and make the protein more completely utilized, I would probably be able to keep my blood sugar stable after meals.
So, I think most Americans eat cereals containing sugar, and a lot of young people like sugar-coated cereals, and when we take a cup of coffee, a lot of people have to have one or two teaspoons full of sucrose. So, we’re into a habit of loading our body with high concentrations of carbohydrate.
Now interestingly enough, after the research went on for some time in my case, I was able to develop a blend of amino acids that would make the food that I ate convert more completely to desirable protein in my body and not leave excess amino acids that could turn into nitrogen waste products. Young people, of course, eat even larger quantities of carbohydrate. They are not worried about their blood sugar, and many suffer from overweight due to a build-up of high concentrations of carbohydrate.
If you really want to know the effects on your body, though, you should measure your blood sugar after a simple meal. And, if you don’t mind pricking your finger and reading it with a glucose measuring device, you would know for yourself that a particular meal may not be very beneficial.
Clearly, obesity is a very big problem in America today. People keep saying we should go on diets, exercise more, and so on. But I think that when you look at the situation, things become clear. Here my dad, at age 69 lost a leg, my sister at age 69, and here I am 90 years old and still walking on two feet. And I think to myself that I wasn’t so brilliant to do that; I just actually took a look at the biochemical literature and did the calculations. It's all there.
When you read through and find out what I learned by reading this material, that if you eat a large meal - more than you should eat - your body doesn’t just urinate out the excess amino acids. Your body reabsorbs them, and as a result you have amino acids going back to your liver. If your liver cannot use the aminos that are in excess, you will convert them to carbohydrate like glucose, and what happens is that people gain weight, they damage their system by having these molecules, the excess sugar, ammonia, urea, and uric acid flowing through their blood circulation.
Janet: I think it probably is an eye-opening statement for a lot of our listeners to hear that the components of protein, the amino acids, if they are not properly metabolized and utilized in the body, this excess of amino acids actually is converted into sugars, different forms of sugars.
Because over the years, people have been told that if they reduce their carbohydrates, particularly the simple carbohydrates in their diet, and they eat a higher-protein diet, then their risk of destabilizing their blood-sugar chemistry is reduced. What you’re saying, if we eat too much, if it is a large meal, even if it’s a high-protein meal and does not contain the simple carbohydrates, it is still possible that you can destabilize your blood sugar.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: That’s correct Janet, that’s correct.
Janet: You mentioned measuring your blood sugar after a simple meal. What might be an acceptable blood sugar level after a simple meal, and how long after the meal should you wait to measure your blood sugar?
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Well, you know, I always tell people – especially when I’m giving a lecture before a group of people - you don’t have to believe the biochemistry. Everything is true, but you can prove it to yourself very simply. For example, if I eat a breakfast on Monday, and then on Tuesday I have the same breakfast, but I supplement the proper amino acids on Tuesday before I eat. Then, I measure my blood sugar after I finished my breakfast. If I don’t see a dramatic change from the day before, then either one of two things; either my breakfast was low in carbohydrate both days, or I actually have a very active pancreas that makes enough insulin.
In my case, I take rice, milk, and egg white, heat that together and have it for breakfast. After this breakfast, I measure my blood sugar without supplementing with amino acids. Without amino acids, my blood sugar clearly shows the effect. Now if you talk to most experts, they say keep your blood sugar below 160. Another group, endocrinologists in our country, say we should keep our peak blood sugar under 140.
As I said before, here’s the thing that’s so sad, that people do not realize. The body does not just urinate out excess amino acids. It is true that if you eat a protein meal, with no carbohydrate in that meal: eggs, bacon, whatever, things like that, you will now get very little change of blood sugar in your body after consumption of that meal. However, if you eat a lot of that type of protein, what happens is your body does not utilize all of it. It is slowly converted to carbohydrate in the body enzymatically.
Now the bad thing about using protein meals to maintain healthy blood-sugar is that if you eat a lot of protein, what happens is the nitrogen-containing amino groups are converted to byproducts, and these byproducts can be very bad and very toxic if your kidneys do not function properly. You end up with high levels of urea and ammonia and uric acid.
Now the point I want to make is this: many people that I’ve talked to - who have gone on these high protein diets - tell me that urination was very painful. There was a burning sensation when one urinated because of these byproducts coming out in very high concentrations. So, my conclusion is, eat intelligently, but supplement with the most-lacking amino acids before your meal.
The thing about this, Janet, that is so interesting is that amino acids by themselves will stimulate the pancreas to make insulin. If your insulin is being produced satisfactorily, and you want to stimulate your pancreas to secrete more insulin, amino acids will do it.
However, when you use the essential amino acids that are most-lacking in the typical protein meals that we eat in our country, what happens is not only do you stimulate the pancreas, but you also more completely convert the protein that is in your meal to desirable products in your body, like albumin, and gamma globulin and so on.
Janet: Very, very important information for our listeners, Dr.Jarowski, and what we’re going to do is take a short break right now on Healthline, and when we come back, we will discuss those very important amino acids. To our listeners, you’re tuned to Healthline. I’m Janet Simorelli. I’m here with Dr. Charles Jarowski, former director of Research and Development at Pfizer, Inc. for more than 20 years. We’ll be right back after these messages.
Janet: Just before the break, we were talking about the amino acids most lacking in our diet. Dr. Jarowski, tell us a little bit more about those amino acids.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: To take one example, tryptophan is limiting in many of the proteins that we eat, and tryptophan is a very important amino acid in order to make more of the protein you consume be utilized properly. By supplementing with tryptophan, then, you most likely improve your amino-acid balance, so you don’t have a lot of amino acids left over that can turn into waste products. Without sufficient tryptophan, you can’t make albumin and gamma globulin, for example. Those proteins both contain tryptophan.
And if you don’t have enough tryptophan in your diet, if you’re eating a protein like a piece of pork or beef or whatever, or fish, you find out that you will be short of tryptophan, it would be nice if you had a little more present in the form of a dietary supplement.
Now, when you add more tryptophan, you make protein better, more valuable, a more completely utilized protein. Now, after you satisfy the tryptophan requirement, if you look at the rest of the composition of the protein and your fasting blood, you say, it would be nice to make that even better still by adding some lysine, another amino acid. And, indeed, you will find that to be the case. When we did our research at the National Institute of Health, way back in 1963, in that era, we actually showed that we could get much better growth of laboratory rats by having amino acids that would make that protein better balanced. So, the grouping of amino acids, in their proper ratios, was developed by making the protein more completely balanced, more completely utilized.
Our approach was to analyze 60 proteins that are commonly consumed; the vegetable protein, animal protein, eggs, milk, things like that that are actually in our daily diet in America, and we found out that when we looked at the composition of these proteins, these amino acids would improve the protein that we’ve consumed. In other words, after consuming a meal, you may find out your urea level is healthier, for example.
What I want to emphasize is that my wife and family and I, and now my grandchildren, have been supplementing our diet for over 20 years. We have never had any side effects; we never had any upset stomachs, and our blood chemistry is in excellent health.
I strongly believe, not only in the effectiveness of replentishing the most lacking amino acids, but in their safety as well. These amino acids are in your body all of the time, even without eating breakfast. Analyze your blood, and you will find these amino acids there.
Janet: It’s very interesting that when they’re present in sufficient numbers, sufficient amounts, then there is less possibility of the excess amino acids being converted into sugar. What role do vitamins play in all this?
Dr. Charles Jarowski: They’re important, and the reason I included them in my research was that they are very useful in protein synthesis, anyway.
Janet: Now I’m really getting so much out of this discussion with you Dr Jarowski, and I’m looking forward to the response from those individuals listening who want to maintain healthy sugar levels, and who already focus on a quality diet, and who already take supplements.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: One of the things that is being overlooked by many, unfortunately, is if you have a sufficient concentration of sugar for two or three hours, the glucose molecules have a tendency to react with hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is in the red blood cells flowing through your body, and glucose actually interacts with the hemoglobin. The result is a compound called hemoglobin A1C. What happens is those A1C molecules are stable in the body for about 4 months! They’re not useful to have around because they’re now bigger molecules attached to glucose, and they flow around in your body, and they damage your kidneys, they damage your eyes, and as a result people should be concerned.
As a matter of fact, like I mentioned earlier, it’s good to stay under 140, say the endocrinologists, because they’re worried about hemoglobin A1C.
Now, one last thing Janet, if you’re cheating on your doctor, and you’re now eating sweets, and you go back to the doctor and he’s checking you, and he says, “Janet, I can tell you haven’t been following my recommendation of cutting back on carbohydrates.” And you say, “How do you know that? For the last two days, protein is all I’ve had.” He says, “Yes, but you were really hurting yourself by eating a lot of carbohydrate a few weeks ago because these things that form in your body stay around for 4 months before they get completely destroyed by your body's enzymes.”
If you don’t eat, then your blood-sugar drops because your body uses it - like we use gasoline for a car - as the body’s energy. But if you now are taking too much, then you cause these side reactions to occur.
One last thing I didn’t mention to you before is something I found interesting both in my case and my wife’s case. She wanted to join me when I did some of this research about 20 years ago, 15 years ago. So, we decided that since we were going to supplement our diet before each meal, before breakfast, before lunch, and before dinner, we would not eat between meals. We thought it would be stupid to use high carbohydrate containing snacks if we were trying to keep our sugar at a healthy level. So, following that dietary regimen, no snacking, eating carefully and not between meals, we lost weight. I lost 35 pounds. And interestingly enough, you’ll get a kick out of this; I went from 185 pounds down to 155, which was my weight when I got married 63 years ago.
Janet: Happy Day!
Dr. Charles Jarowski: And it has stayed at that level, even with Thanksgiving, having a lot of turkey, my weight may go up 1 or 2 pounds, but then I check myself after I go on my normal regimen. It’s 155, 154, 156. It stays in that area.
What people may not realize, but what animal studies have shown, is that if you take a dog, for example, and feed him food containing a radioactive carbon in, say glycine, which is a non-essential amino acid, or maybe even in valine, an essential amino acid, that dog will manufacture cholesterol with a radioactive carbon in it. That would mean that by feeding an animal imbalanced amino acids in the form of protein, you can produce cholesterol, you can produce triglycerides, you can convert the amino acids to glucose. It’s an amazing thing! So, the body has a wonderful factory, but it’s so versatile that if it has extra building blocks flowing through the body, it can convert them to highly desirable complicated protein structures, and it also can take these products and convert them to undesirable byproducts of enzymatic breakdown.
Janet: And we are almost out of time. Dr. Jarowski, thank you so much for joining us. It has been absolutely a world of very-high quality information. Thanks for joining us!
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Thank you, and you’re welcome!
Janet: And to all of our listeners, thanks so much for tuning in. Remember Healthline is here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11-12noon. Thanks for tuning in. Bye bye everyone.
Dr. Charles Jarowski: Bye now. ● ●
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