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The World We Live In - mannose = Search 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.


The Truth

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 hours.

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 diabetes.


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 diabetes.

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. mannose 

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 mannose

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 900-527-9512.

Another Effective Sugar

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).

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 good.

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 Respiratory Problems

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 medications do.


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