The World We Live In
for d-mannose for better results.
The average American
intake of "added" (non-naturally occurring) sugar is 20.5 teaspoons
per day or 68.6 pounds per year, per person and is suspected to be even higher.
(USDA CSFII Survey) The FDA says that the only problem sugar causes is dental
caries. And with the support of the American Dietetic Association, the Sugar
Association says that at only 15 calories per teaspoon, sugar is a healthy,
low-calorie sweetener that is no different than any other carbohydrate.
In truth, numerous
studies have shown that sugar depresses the immune system, making the body's
white blood cells sluggish and disinclined to attack invading organisms. But
since sugar falls into two categories Added and Natural or
naturally occurring, this report will examine both--starting with added sugar
which causes harm at a fundamental level. To understand why, let's take a look
at how your body works.
The Body Machinery
The carbohydrates we
eat are converted by the body into a simple sugar called glucose. This glucose,
or "blood sugar," enters the bloodstream to be transported throughout
the body. (Blood sugar is the primary energy source used by the brain, the
nervous system, and the muscles.) To be utilized, the blood sugar must get from
the blood-stream into the nerve and muscle cells. This is where insulin comes
into the picture. Insulin is the pancreatic hormone that opens up the cell walls
so blood sugar can enter. It is the key to the whole energy process.
Insulin is secreted in two phases. A surge of insulin is
initially released immediately following a meal, or when sugar or sweetness is
detected in the mouth and digestive system. A second round of insulin is
released shortly after a meal and continues to be released gradually for several
For insulin to work properly, it must be present in sufficient
quantities, and the cells in your body must be "sensitive" to its
effects. When cells don't react to the effects of insulin by allowing sugar to
enter through their cell walls, a condition called insulin resistance exists.
Insulin resistance isn't fully understood at this point. However, we do know
that insulin resistance is often directly related to obesity. This is especially
true when a person has a fat build-up in the waist or abdominal area.
Studies have shown that obese, non-diabetic individuals can
reduce their levels of circulating insulin simply by losing weight. This
reduction in the amount of insulin occurs without any changes in blood sugar
levels. In other words, by losing weight, one can often overcome insulin
resistance. This is true because, with less fat to complicate matters, existing
insulin levels become more effective at lowering blood sugar levels.
On the flip side, excess abdominal fat and fat that has
accumulated around the liver increase the amount of circulating free fatty acids
in the blood. As these fatty acids break down, they increase toxicity levels. In
turn, increased toxicity has been shown to do two things: First, it inhibits the
production of insulin; and second, it makes muscle cells less sensitive to the
insulin that is available. Muscle tissue is crucial in helping to balance blood
sugar levels. Under normal circumstances, over 80% of the blood sugar released
immediately following a meal is taken up by muscle cells.
The Monkey Wrench
It should be obvious
from this simple biology review that the regulation of insulin is a very
important part of staying healthy and alive. Unfortunately, an increasing
percentage of the American population cannot maintain this balance. And when
insulin and blood sugar regulation capabilities get seriously out of whack, we
have the condition called diabetes.
For decades alternative health practitioners have been warning
about the dangers of increased sugars and/or refined carbohydrates in the diet.
Unfortunately, trying to convince the public that consuming too much sugar could
eventually lead to diabetes has been a real uphill battle. Even today, as
diabetes reaches epidemic proportions in this country, most doctors continue to
preach that dietary sugar is totally harmless and has no connection to behavior
problems, mood swings, depression, or the increased incidence of adult onset
There are two types of
diabetes. Type I diabetes, often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes since it
occurs early in life, involves the complete failure of the body to produce any
insulin. It is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes because insulin
injections are required to provide adequate levels of this hormone. It accounts
for only about 5% to 10% of all diabetes.
Type II diabetes has historically been referred to as
adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. It is the most common
form of diabetes, affecting 90% to 95% of all diabetics. It develops over a
longer period of time and is generally diagnosed in adulthood, hence the name.
Type II begins with the insulin resistance I described
earlier, where it takes higher and higher amounts of insulin for the cells to
open up and let blood sugar in. This resistance generally continues undetected
for years, since the pancreas is usually able to compensate by producing
ever-increasing amounts of insulin. After a time, however, the quality of
insulin lessens. Eventually, the pancreatic cells start losing their ability to
produce insulin. When the insulin levels drop to the point where they can't
reduce blood sugar levels to normal, the individual is diagnosed as having
The recently published UR Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS)
suggests that before most patients are actually diagnosed with type II diabetes,
the pancreas has lost its ability to properly control post-meal blood sugar
levels for over eight years and insulin resistance has been present for up to 12
years. Until recently, the earliest Type II diabetes was seen in those in their
40s or older. But in the last few years, an alarming number of children have
been diagnosed with type II diabetes. Type II is appearing more frequently in
pre-pubescent children, and has even been documented in children as young as
four years old. (American Diabetes Foundation)
Currently, one in every five American kids is obese. And since
obesity is directly linked to diabetes, the target market for diabetic
pharmaceuticals now extends clear down to four year olds. Adult-onset diabetes
has increased between 600 % and 1000% in the last 60 years. It is currently
increasing at a rate of 6% a year, and that is expected to accelerate. According
to Dr. Emily Senay on CBS news, from 1990 to 1998, Type II diabetes increased
70% in 30 year olds. Next month I will discuss diabetes in more detail.
Simple Sugars for
Complex Problems mannose
D-mannose is a
naturally occurring, simple sugar that is found in fruits like cranberries and
pineapples. When you ingest D-mannose, it is quickly absorbed in the upper
portion of the gastrointestinal tract, but very little of the sugar is actually
metabolized. It therefore doesn't affect blood sugar levels-- which makes it
safe for everyone, including diabetics.
Why is this important? Because D-mannose is one of the few
"good" sugars but it is not used as a sweetener. Instead, it is kept
in the medicine cabinet and is used in place of antibiotics for urinary tract
and bladder infections. Because antibiotics have been standard procedure for
dealing with these infections, antibiotic resistant infections are now quite
common. In some instances the bacteria continue to work their way up from the
bladder, and eventually reach the kidneys. There, it can lead to infection,
kidney damage, and ultimately kidney failure and the need for a transplant.
Under ideal circumstances, the beneficial bacterial flora in
the intestines and vaginal area keep harmful bacteria from getting a foothold
and causing infections. Using antibiotics kills all bacteria, friendly and
unfriendly, setting the individual up for the likelihood of more infections in
the future often turning a simple urinary tract infection into a recurring
nightmare. But treating the infection with D-mannose sidesteps these problems.
Once D-mannose is absorbed, it is quickly filtered out of the
system by the kidneys and then flushed out of the body in the urine. In the
process, the sugar dislodges any Escherichia (E.) coli bacteria present in the
kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Since the bacteria can't congregate and colonize
in the urinary tract, infections can't take place.
At first it was thought that the acid in the cranberry juice
was responsible for keeping the E. coli bacteria from attaching to the walls of
the urinary tract. Further study, however, revealed that the sugar (fructose) in
the cranberries is the substance that removes the bacteria and prevents or stops
infections. [Carbohydr Res 83;120:235-49]
Research has shown us a very important fact about D-mannose.
It is 10 times more active than the fructose in cranberries when it comes to
inhibiting the adherence of E. coli. If you can keep this form of bacteria from
establishing itself, the majority of infections can be eliminated.
What to Do
Being a harmless
natural sugar, D-mannose is safe for small children, pregnant women and
diabetics. It simply flushes bacteria out of the system rather than killing it,
which avoids the many pitfalls associated with antibiotics. And since it is
absorbed in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and never reaches the
intestines, it doesn't disrupt the normal bacterial growth in that area.
While D-mannose is safe for long-term use, it rarely needs to be taken for more
than a few days. The normal therapeutic dosage is 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) at a
time. For bladder and urinary tract infections, it is generally recommended that
1/2 teaspoon be taken every two to three hours. Within 24 to 48 hours, there
should be either very significant improvement or a total resolution of the
problem. For bladder infections that occur after sex, the recommended dosage is
1/2 teaspoon one hour before and 1/2 teaspoon after sexual relations.
Severe kidney infections can take two or three days to clear
up, and in some instances require a daily maintenance dose of 1/2 teaspoon or
so. One should also properly re-establish the body's natural bacterial flora in
both the colon and vagina. This can be accomplished with products like yogurt,
buttermilk, kefer, acidophilus, and/or lactic acid yeast wafers. mannose
D-mannose is available as a powder, and being a sugar it has a
mild, sweet, inoffensive taste. It can be mixed with juice, milk, or water.
However, it is simplest to just take the powder plain. It is available through
the mail from Bio-Tech Pharmacal at 800-345-1199 or Progressive Labs at
Finding that bacteria
can't cause an infection when it's unable to adhere to an area isn't new. We've
known it for decades. That is the main premise behind using soap. You can
realize several benefits from this same concept of bacterial cleansing action by
using another "simple" sugar called xylitol. Like D-mannose, xylitol
has had a limited amount of exposure in the medical press. Xylitol was
discovered in the 1800s, at about the same time, by French and German
researchers. One of the first commercial sources for the sugar was birch trees
in Finland. As a result, Finland is the world's largest producer of xylitol, and
most of the current research on it is performed in Finland.
Xylitol's most notable use has been as a sweetener in chewing
gum. This type of gum actually helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Tooth
decay is caused primarily by the action of the bacteria, Streptococcus mutans
S. mutans is a common type of bacteria that resides in the
plaque that routinely builds up on our teeth. The bacteria takes sugar from our
food and ferments it. One of the by-products of this fermentation process is an
acid that erodes away the enamel of the teeth and forms cavities.
However, researchers discovered that S. mutans wasn't able to
properly digest xylitol, so no fermentation occurred. As the bacteria were given
more xylitol over time, not only did their numbers decrease, they became less
virulent as well. In other words, when individuals used more xylitol in place of
sugar, the bacteria levels in their mouths dropped and they experienced far less
dental decay and/or cavities.
With further study, researchers discovered that xylitol acted
much the same as D-mannose. Instead of killing bacteria, it simply impaired its
adhesion ability. After "eating" xylitol, the bacteria couldn't hold
on to the plaque and/or mucus membranes lining the mouth, nose and throat. They
were shed into the saliva, washed down the throat, and destroyed by the various
enzymes and acids in the stomach.
In addition, the researchers began to note that children using
xylitol also had fewer ear infections than children using regular sugar. They
found that children who chewed 8 pieces of gum a day (containing a total of 10
grams of xylitol), experienced 40% fewer ear infections than those who didn't
take xylitol. [J Dent Res 96;(11):1892-900]
They also found that, apparently, enough xylitol from the gum
was getting into the nasal cavity to decrease the numbers of Streptococcus
pneumoniae (S. pneumo) there by 68%. That is one of three bacteria that live
only in the nose and result in practically all upper respiratory infections.
It was the ability of xylitol to reduce childhood ear
infections that first piqued the interest of an innovative doctor from Hale
Center's Hi Plains Hospital in Texas, Dr. Lon Jones. Ear infections are the most
common infection in children, which also makes them the most common reason for
pediatric office visits. As a result, they are one of the primary reasons
antibiotics are prescribed in this country. These ear infections, along with
upper respiratory problems--and often even asthma--begin in the nose.
So when his nine month old granddaughter came home with her
fifth ear infection, Dr. Jones decided to try xylitol. But since she was too
young to chew gum, he developed a xylitol/saline nasal spray solution. He found
that by delivering the xylitol directly to the nasal passages, even more
bacteria could be flushed from the upper respiratory tract than with the gum. He
also found that the successful treatment of ear infections was only the tip of
the iceberg. By flushing out the bacteria, all types of upper respiratory
infections and related problems began to respond favorably. His spray has been
used to clear up chronic sinus infections and allergic reactions, prevent
bronchitis, and totally eliminate asthma.
When Dr. Jones realized how many people his spray could help,
he went to the FDA and tried to get it approved for therapeutic use. However,
the FDA has classified xylitol as a food or sweetener, so he was prevented from
telling the world his findings and it can be sold only as a nasal wash.
In reality, it really is just a wash-- a bacterial wash. It
simply helps the nose and immune system do what they would naturally do on their
own. When allergens, pollutants, or bacteria invade the nose, our immune system
tries to flush out the irritants. Asthma might be a similar response by the
body. By blocking the airways, it stops more irritants from entering the lungs
and respiratory passages. Drugs like antihistamines and decongestants inhibit
this natural process of elimination. In the long run, they may do more harm than
Dr. Jones patented nasal wash is sold under the name Xlear.
The "x" is pronounced like "c" from Russian and Greek
derivation. Xlear is available from Xlear, Inc., P.O. Box 970911, Orem, Utah
84097-0911, (877) 599-5327. There are roughly 1000 sprays in a two ounce bottle
which sells for $10.95. They also have xylitol gum.
How to Xlear Up
For most allergies and
mild asthma, the following is generally recommended. Three or four times a day,
spray each nostril twice. Dr. Jones likes to say "when you spray your nose,
look at your toes." In other words, tilt your head down and on the first
spray aim the bottle towards the back of your head. On the second spray aim the
bottle toward the top of your head. Remember to keep your head tilted down when
you spray. You can cut back on this dosage after a few days.
In severe asthma conditions like those requiring a
bronchodilator or Albuterol, follow the above spraying procedure every 1 or 2
hours for the first three days, and then you can try cutting back to 2 or 3
times a day. For small children, you can use each diaper change as a reminder to
spray the child's nose.
Many people report childhood middle-ear infections have been
completely stopped. Even the most severe asthma problems begin to abate in the
first day or so, and can be kept at bay using only a couple of sprays a day.
Allergies, even from animal dander, can be eliminated with daily use.
There have only been a couple of minor side effects noted with
the nasal wash. A few people initially experience a slight burning sensation.
This is to be expected if the nasal passages are raw, since the salt in the
saline solution can create a slight burning. This minor irritation should
subside as the tissue begins to heal. Also taking 8 to 10 grams or more of
xylitol a day has produced stomachaches and diarrhea in some children. Keep in
mind, however, when you're using the spray you re getting very small amounts of
xylitol. Two sprays per nostril twice a day works out to only about 40
milligrams of xylitol per day.
Others, particularly those with long-standing asthma or
allergy problems, may experience a "cleansing episode." After three
days to a week of using the spray, some individuals either cough up or even
vomit large amounts of mucus. As far as I know, this happens only once, and the
cleansing seems to accelerate the benefits of the Xlear.
Like D-mannose, xylitol is a safe, simple sugar. It is already
present in many fruits and vegetables, and our bodies make about 10 grams of
xylitol a day. (One plum contains about 1/2 gram of xylitol.) It doesn't raise
blood sugar levels or require insulin for digestion. Further, it can be used
safely by children of all ages and pregnant women.
Not Perfect -- But
Well Worth It
Simple sugars like
xylitol and D-mannose are certainly not cure-alls, nor are they 100% effective.
For example, xylitol doesn't appear to have any effect on viruses. While it
could certainly help prevent a secondary bacterial infection during influenza,
it obviously isn't a cure for the flu. And D-mannose works on only the bacteria
strains that cause about 80% of all urinary tract infections. As a result, 20%
of urinary infections probably won't benefit from its use. Even so, these simple
sugars are extremely powerful healing tools.
I always keep these two simple sugars stocked in my medicine
cabinet along with Bladderwrack for intestinal bacterial problems. They are
three of the safest, least expensive, and most effective alternatives to
antibiotics that I have uncovered thus far. bladerwrack
Also see: A Natural Alternative to STATIN Drugs
for details on how a simple sugar called policosanol
is more effective than the most popular patent medicines for lowering total
cholesterol and triglyceride levels. As added bonuses, policosanol helps to
prevent strokes by inhibiting platelet aggregation and abnormal blood clotting
and may lower blood pressure. And unlike the popular patent medications,
policosanol has virtually no side effects, and does not seriously interfere with
our bodies ability to produce co-enzyme
Q10 as the patent statin