Let’s start with Dr. Milton Teske’s brief overview of this disease:
Diabetes is Two Different Diseases
There are two completely different diseases that cause a high blood sugar. We call them: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. But you may have heard other names used for these two diseases. Because it usually begins during childhood, Type 1 is also called juvenile onset or childhood onset diabetes (although adults can get it). Type 2 is called adult onset because it usually begins in adults (although today more and more young people are coming down with this form of diabetes). Type 1 is sometimes called insulin dependent diabetes because it requires insulin injections. Type 2 is sometimes called non-insulin dependent diabetes because it is often treated with oral medications (although Type 2s can often end up on high doses of insulin – much higher than type 1s). It may be a little confusing when you still hear all of these different names being used. But the scientific community has now accepted Type 1 and Type 2 as the correct terminology for these two diabetic diseases.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a disease where there is no insulin. The beta cells in the pancreas are dead and gone. So there is no way for the body to make insulin.
Normally insulin would attach to the insulin-receptors and thus open little sugar doors allowing the cells of the body to take in the sugar they needed. Let’s follow through what happens when the body can’t make the insulin that it needs. As the sugar level rises in the blood after a meal there is no insulin to open the sugar doors so the sugar cannot get into the cells. So all of the sugar just backs up in the blood and the blood sugar level gets higher and higher. Much higher than it should.
What can the body do to get rid of all of this sugar in the blood? It must wash it out through the kidneys. That takes a lot of water. Which makes a lot of urine. But it also dehydrates the body in the process and so we get very thirsty. And these are the first symptoms of diabetes. Excessive thirst, which leads to drinking lots of water, and passing lots of urine. And if you test the urine it will have lots of sugar in it. (Normal urine doesn’t have any sugar.) Long ago they would just pour some of the urine on the ground near an anthill and if the ants would come and eat it the diagnosis of diabetes was made.
What is happening to the body’s cells in this type 1 diabetes? Without insulin to open the doors there is no way to get sugar inside of the cells. The cells are getting very hungry. Actually they are starving to death in a sea of sugar.
What does a starving cell do? It starts to disassemble and eat itself. It can start to burn proteins and fats instead of sugar for energy. But this can create some problems. Imagine you were locked in a room during a freezing blizzard with only a wood stove for heat. Now imagine that you have run out of firewood. What can you do to keep from freezing? You could start to bust up the furniture and burn it for fuel. You could tear the paneling off of the walls and burn the doorframes and window frames. You could burn the seat cushions and peel up the carpets to burn. But now you have some serious problems. Not only are you destroying some important and badly needed structures you are also probably making a lot of smoke. Those seat cushions and carpets don’t burn clean. They give off some toxic fumes. And this is what happens when you burn fat without sugar. It burns dirty. Some of the toxins are called ketones. And as the ketones build up in the blood it becomes acidic and we call it diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA.
A child in DKA is very sick. Before the discovery of insulin they all died. But today we can give them IV normal saline to correct the dehydration and we can give them antiemetic medication to stop the vomiting. And of course we can give them insulin to open the doors and let the sugar into the cells once more.
And then we can give them several injections of insulin every day to keep opening these little sugar doors on all the cells for every meal they eat. This is type 1 diabetes.
Who Killed the Beta Cells
But there is another question we must ask. What happened to the beta cells? Why are they dead and gone? Who killed them?
Sometimes we think it might be a viral infection which attacks the beta cells and destroys them. I met a woman once who was in an automobile accident which destroyed her pancreas and she has been a type 1 diabetic ever since then. But today scientific research is pointing its finger at a new culprit. Cow’s milk. We now know that most type 1 diabetics inherited a trait where they make certain proteins on the beta cells which are very similar to a certain protein found in cow’s milk. We have found this particular protein to be present in about 80% of the dairy herds.
So how does this work? First we need to understand how the body’s immune system works.
Your immune system is your body’s security services. Your military and police forces. It is their job to protect you from your enemies, bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, anything that is not part of your normal body.
When a baby is born it has a weak immature immune system. So God has designed a special way to protect the baby from all of the threats from different bacteria and viruses in its environment. Mother has lived in this environment for many years and she has been exposed to lots of different bacteria and viruses. Her immune system has identified them and made antibodies against them. These antibodies are special protein molecules that are coded for a specific part of a virus or bacteria. If mother is ever exposed the same virus again these previously coded antibodies identify the enemy immediately and it is destroyed before it can spread and cause an infection. We say that she is now immune to this virus.
So how does this help her new baby? Her body packages a supply of these antibodies in her breast milk. When the baby nurses it receives a supply of these antibodies in the mother’s milk. Remember that these antibodies are made of protein. What normally happens to protein when it is eaten? When it reaches the stomach it is digested. That means that stomach acid and various enzymes cut up the protein into hundreds of little pieces we call amino acids. These little amino acids are then absorbed through the intestines into the blood and can be used by the body to make new proteins. So why doesn’t the baby just digest these protein antibodies? Because mother has packaged them in special little packages in the milk so that they cannot be digested. These little packages of antibodies pass through the stomach undigested and are absorbed through the intestinal wall intact and release their whole intact antibodies into the baby’s blood. Now the baby is immune to whatever Mom was immune to. A very nice arrangement!
So what’s the problem? We are not baby cows! Mother cow packages her proteins for her baby calf and then we feed this milk to our children. Now we are releasing whole intact cow proteins into our children’s blood. As our children grow and their immune systems mature the day comes when they recognize that these cow proteins don’t belong in the human body and so they start to make antibodies against them. They become allergic to cow’s milk. Ask an allergist what is the most common allergy in humans and they will tell you it is dairy products.
How can this cause type 1 diabetes? Some children inherit a trait where their beta cells make certain proteins on their surfaces that are very similar to certain proteins found in cow’s milk. This cow protein has been identified and it is found in about 80% of the dairy herds. The problem is that if they become allergic to this cow protein then because it is so similar these antibodies will start attacking their beta cells and destroying them also. Research studies have shown that all people with type 1 diabetes have developed high levels of this particular antibody. And when most of the beta cells are gone these children can’t make enough insulin anymore and now they have type 1 diabetes.
An interesting study that can be done is to find the incidence of type 1 diabetes in the different countries of the world. Then compare this data with the per capita consumption of dairy products in these same countries. When you plot this data you will get a direct correlation! Those countries that have almost no access to dairy products have a very low incidence of type 1 diabetes. As the consumption of dairy products in a country increases so does the incidence of type 1 diabetes. In countries like the US where the consumption of dairy products is very high the incidence of type 1 diabetes is also very high. Can you guess which country has the highest incidence of type 1 diabetes? Finland, and it also has the highest consumption of dairy products.
Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes
So what can be done about it? Don’t drink your milk! Don’t feed you children dairy products. Especially if there is a family history of type 1 diabetes. With a relative who has type 1 diabetes the risk is quite high and these children should definitely be on a dairy free diet for life.
Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes
Because the beta cells are no longer making insulin we will need to supply the insulin needed to get the sugar inside of the cells. Under the supervision of a doctor and a diabetic educator nurse you can learn to figure out just the right amount of insulin to take. This will involve testing your sugar several times per day and counting the amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal.
There has been some evidence that taking niacinamide may help some badly damaged beta cells to recover if they are still alive although this is not certain. Niacinamide (not niacin) is a vitamin that can be obtained in any health food store. The dose is 12.5mg of niacinamide per pound of body weight every day. [For a child this would be about 100 to 200 mg per day and for an adult the dose would be about 1500 to 2000 mg per day.] Apparently there is a time period (maybe a few months) when the beta cells are mortally wounded but not dead yet.
What if I’ve had type 1 diabetes for many years?
What if the diabetes has been going on for a while? Insulin injections will be important to maintain the blood sugar levels in the normal range. The best diet and exercise plan to help normalize these sugar levels is the simple whole plant food diet we share with you in the NEWSTART® Lifestyle Program and regular daily exercise. Three meals a day should be adequate. Snacks between these meals should not be necessary if you are getting sufficient complex carbohydrates and fiber in your meals. If the sugars are still dropping between meals you are on too much insulin. Exercise is a powerful medicine and if you get a jump in your sugar level consider additional exercise to bring it down instead of increasing the insulin dose.
People with Type 1 diabetes who adopt this diet and exercise program typically see a reduction in their insulin dosages and stabilization of their sugar levels making it much easier to stay within the normal range. If you want to get started on the diet right away just get a copy of one of the NEWSTART® cookbooks and try some of the recipes.
So whether you are just recently diagnosed or have had diabetes for many years you have every good reason to find out all you can about the NEWSTART® Lifestyle Program.