Breaking News
February 19, 2018 - Researchers uncover how excess calcium may influence development of Parkinson’s disease
February 19, 2018 - Psoriasis drug also effective at reducing aortic inflammation
February 19, 2018 - Excess emissions can make serious contributions to air pollution, study shows
February 19, 2018 - Diabetes Drugs Differ on HF; School-Based Obesity Program Flop; Plaque Type in ACS
February 19, 2018 - Surgical infections linked to drug-resistant bugs, study suggests
February 19, 2018 - Poor awareness may hinder a child’s early dental care
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves Apalutamide (Erleada) to Help Curb a Tough-to-Treat Prostate Cancer
February 19, 2018 - Educational Tool Boosts Cervical Length Screening
February 19, 2018 - Spider’s web inspires removable implant that may control type 1 diabetes
February 19, 2018 - Scientists develop fluorescent probe to identify cancer stem cells
February 19, 2018 - University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela participates in large pancreatic cancer study
February 19, 2018 - New blood test shows promise to revolutionize diagnosis of tick-borne diseases
February 19, 2018 - Report: Use, Not Price, Drives State Health Costs
February 19, 2018 - Emergency services crews often unprepared for diabetic crises
February 19, 2018 - Scientists in Sweden create DNA nanowires that offer hope for treatment of diseases
February 19, 2018 - ID Break: Clean Hands, Fewer Abx; $11 Million HIV Cure?; MenB Vax for Kids
February 19, 2018 - Patient exposure to X-rays depends on how dentists are paid
February 19, 2018 - Study reveals parents’ views toward children’s tanning bed use
February 19, 2018 - Shot may help reduce risk of shingles
February 19, 2018 - FDA approves first treatment to reduce risk of NSCLC progression
February 19, 2018 - FDA Expands Approval of Imfinzi (durvalumab) to Reduce the Risk of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Progressing
February 19, 2018 - D.C. Week: Congress Passes Spending Bill
February 19, 2018 - Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves First Blood Test to Detect Concussions
February 19, 2018 - Survival Bump in Bladder Cancer with Keytruda
February 18, 2018 - Scientists describe the mechanism of heart regeneration in the zebrafish
February 18, 2018 - Scientists uncover the structure of microtubule motor proteins
February 18, 2018 - Light-activated cancer drugs without toxic side effects are closer to becoming reality
February 18, 2018 - Pioneering research could provide novel insight into how genomic information is read
February 18, 2018 - Pearls From: David Putrino, PhD
February 18, 2018 - Researchers uncover how cancer stem cells drive triple-negative breast cancer
February 18, 2018 - Morning Break: Anti-Anti-Vaxxers; Private Piercings Prohibited; A Case for Pelvic Massage
February 18, 2018 - Lower-dose radiation effective, safe for HPV+ head and neck cancer after induction chemo
February 18, 2018 - Specialist residential service for adults with autism opens in Swansea
February 18, 2018 - FDA Moves to Limit Loperamide Doses per Package
February 18, 2018 - Alcohol use disorder – Genetics Home Reference
February 18, 2018 - Autism might be better detected using new two-minute questionnaire
February 18, 2018 - Hand hygiene-intervention practices may reduce risk of infection among nursing home patients
February 18, 2018 - Researchers develop most sophisticated mini-livers to date
February 18, 2018 - Obamacare Helped More Young Women Get Prenatal Care: Study
February 18, 2018 - School-Based Program Fails to Dent Kids’ Obesity
February 18, 2018 - Research compares neural activity in children with and without autism spectrum disorder
February 18, 2018 - Poor fitness levels increase the risk dementia, concludes study
February 18, 2018 - Risk Score May Reveal if Kids are Victims of Ill-Treatment
February 18, 2018 - Adding Folic Acid to Corn Masa Flour May Prevent Birth Defects
February 18, 2018 - Acute treatment suppresses posttraumatic arthritis in ankle injury
February 18, 2018 - A Role for Budesonide in Autoimmune Hepatitis?
February 18, 2018 - Lupus patients exhibit altered cell proteins, a discovery with potential implications for diagnostics
February 18, 2018 - Muscle plays vital role in regulating heat loss from the hands
February 18, 2018 - High-tech brain scans can provide new way to define intelligence
February 18, 2018 - Study reveals the association between ultra-processed foods and cancer
February 18, 2018 - Prescription Opioid Use Tied to Higher Pneumonia Risk
February 18, 2018 - A non-invasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease
February 18, 2018 - Deletion of specific enzyme leads to improvement in memory and cognitive functions
February 18, 2018 - Amyloid protein may be transmitted through neurosurgical instruments, study suggests
February 18, 2018 - Electric brain signals of males and females show differences
February 18, 2018 - American Heart Association commends McDonald’s for offering healthier menu in kids’ meals
February 18, 2018 - Parents Find Kids’ Weight Report Cards Hard to Swallow
February 18, 2018 - Does a Financial Conflict of Interest Ever Expire?
February 18, 2018 - Exercise can improve Alzheimer’s symptoms
February 18, 2018 - Scientists develop green chemistry method to improve pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency
February 17, 2018 - ‘A Time Clock to a Tissue Clock’ for Acute Stroke Care
February 17, 2018 - Cancer Care Gets Personal | NIH News in Health
February 17, 2018 - Do more youth use or do youth use more?
February 17, 2018 - Eating faster linked to obesity
February 17, 2018 - Who’s Still Smoking? ACS Report Highlights Most Vulnerable Adults
February 17, 2018 - Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure
February 17, 2018 - Study reveals new link between bone cells and blood glucose level
February 17, 2018 - Children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results
February 17, 2018 - Mass Shootings Trigger Change for Emergency Medicine
February 17, 2018 - ECMO helps revive woman thought to be drowned
February 17, 2018 - Learning stress-reducing techniques may benefit people with epilepsy
February 17, 2018 - Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move
February 17, 2018 - FDA Approves New Cystic Fibrosis Drug Combo
February 17, 2018 - Augmented Reality helps surgeons to ‘see through’ tissue and reconnect blood vessels
February 17, 2018 - Emotional state affects operation of the entire brain instead of being restricted to specific regions
February 17, 2018 - Apalutamide Slows Metastasis in Prostate Cancer
February 17, 2018 - Kids’ well visits linked to lower appendicitis complications
February 17, 2018 - New NK cell-based immunotherapy effective against several types of leukemia
February 17, 2018 - Producing Super-Swelled Lyotropic Crystals for Drug Development
A Patient’s Journey: Taming the Glucose Monster

A Patient’s Journey: Taming the Glucose Monster

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

In a matter of six months, I went from diabetic levels of A1c to normal levels.

I have a fragmented “team” — including two dietitians, two nurse practitioners, a general internist, a cardiologist, an ophthalmologist, a podiatrist and even a urologist plus scores of Facebook friends — who helped me through this. The health professionals and fellow diabetics have given me kudos and told me this is a major accomplishment. I am grateful.

How did I succeed? I lost about 35 pounds following a low-carb diet with occasional episodes of ketosis, took some dietary supplements for blood glucose issues — plus I addressed my microbiome by combining foods and taking prebiotics and probiotics.

Here’s the chronology.

December 2016: My internist’s nurse practitioner put me on notice that I was heading into dangerous territory with a fasting blood glucose of 102 ng/dl. I had been diagnosed with prediabetes. The NP said I ought to lose weight and watch what I ate.

In one ear and out the other, I didn’t take it seriously.

June 2017: My blood glucose had reached 141 ng/dL. I had my first A1c test: 7.8%. I had full-blown diabetes.

I sprang into action. I went on metformin (2,000 mg/day). I started on a low-carb diet and began dropping weight. I might have done better — I shied away from the gym because of a backache. Still, I started to get good numbers from my daily fingersticks.

September 2017: I was down about 20 pounds, I had returned to a prediabetes level — with an A1c of 5.9% and a fasting blood glucose of 90 ng/dL.

My ophthalmologist and podiatrist both encouraged me to go for normal and potentially go off metformin. But following American Diabetes Association guidelines, my internist recommended I stay on metformin and go for an A1c in a range 6-7%. He was concerned I would go too low and create other problems.

Meanwhile, a couple other things happened.

November 2017: My wife Judi and I went on a two-week Viking Ocean Mediterranean cruise to Greece, Israel, and Italy followed with another nine days on land in Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Cruises are notorious as diet-busters with champagne dreams and infinite buffets. And how could I go to Italy without indulging in pasta, pizza, and gelato. That would seem to be a crime against nature. So, I had a taste.

And some surprising things happened. I found I had good blood glucose readings when I tried some foods I had considered verboten, including rice, bread, and pasta. I tried a salmon maki roll. Despite the rice, I had a blood glucose reading in the 80s. I had meat lasagna in Rome and got a reading in the 90s.

I got an explanation later.

December 2017: I lost more weight — at 175 lb, down nearly 35 and at an appropriate BMI based on my age (I am 70 and stand 5’8″).

Could Microbiome Therapy Help?

Now it’s time for something completely different: I started to explore my microbiome, that three-to-four-pound collection of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that help regulate their host’s immunologic, hormonal and metabolic functions.

I had been researching a story on the emerging microbiome testing industry for a European publication for microbiologists.

Two of the top American microbiome experts and a distant cousin of mine, an MD, urged me to take a specific test from DayTwo.com. The researchers said DayTwo’s product is based on world-class research by microbiome experts from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

I ponied up $300, prepared my stool sample, shipped it off and waited.

image

I also had an opportunity to take a complementary beta test of my microbiome by another consumer-oriented company, Viome in Cupertino, CA.

In fact, there are a growing number of companies in the field. They use different techniques and as a result can result in different results in the make-up of the microbiome in your gut.

image

Their goals are different. Viome, which licenses its technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory, using artificial learning engines.

Viome’s test, a subscription of $399 per year, aims to help its customers “achieve maximum health & wellness” as well as helping people with diabetes and gut diseases.

DayTwo’s test has a narrower goal. It is designed to manage blood glucose.

I won’t get into all the minutiae of the teeming billions of active and inactive microbes sharing space in my gut.

I found clear dietary differences in recommendations.

Viome suggested that I can “indulge” in certain foods, enjoy others, and avoid still others based on my microbiome and my metabolism.

image

DayTwo rates foods based on your microbiome and other factors, giving letter grades to different foods and meals.

There many discrepancies to say the least. DayTwo gives an A+ to starfruit, while Viome suggested I minimize consumption. (I’m no fan of starfruit, anyway.) DayTwo gave an A+ to butter, duck and tuna, which Viome suggests I minimize.

Viome terms apples as a “superfood” for me while DayTwo gives them a C-.

I generally have avoided fruit lately. One exception is strawberries, which DayTwo gives an A+ and Viome tells me to “enjoy,” in a rare instance of agreement. But blueberries are another story. Viome says I can indulge while DayTwo gives them a B-.

Looking at the conflicting food recommendation, I got a cognitive-dissonance-triggered headache. Really.

Most microbiome testers probably don’t take multiple tests so they don’t know the difference. The companies explain they use different lab tests so they get different results and algorithms.

I did make a change based on a conversation I had with Debra Heald, an RN and naturopathic physician and team leader for translational science with Viome. She suggested I add a probiotic and a prebiotic to my regimen. I did.

I should point out that many other experts contend the science isn’t there yet to shape our microbiomes by taking such supplements.

But something Chavi Kramer, a clinical dietitian at DayTwo, told me rang true. It helped explain my good results with salmon maki on board the ship and lasagna in Rome. I inadvertently mixed those foods with others with high fat and/or high protein and controlled my blood glucose.

She noted that the DayTwo algorithm can be used to create meals that mix foods for maximum benefit.

For example, I found that having lox with cream cheese on a bagel was a winner.

A medium bagel scored a C-. Not surprising. But add a hearty dollop of cream cheese (A+) and a couple ounces of lox (A+), and you get an A-rated meal.

I had just about given up on ever having one of my favorite meals. I could kvell.

I saw Gwen Woodruff, my dietitian who specializes in diabetes. She found that over the previous three months, including the cruise, my weight had dropped and my A1c was 5.5%. Normal. Surprisingly, to me anyway, even my prostate cancer numbers improved dramatically.

As an unscientific experiment over the prior two weeks, I wore a continuous blood glucose monitor, which Medicare covered.

Woodruff found that over the two weeks I included DayTwo plus the prebiotic and probiotic recommended by Viome, I had an average blood glucose of 103 and an estimated A1c of 5.2%.

One of my distant cousins said on Facebook, “tamed the monster.” Great success.

I plan to improve things by stepping up my exercise. I am making an addition to “Team Howard.”

I have an appointment in January with an endocrinologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who also is a microbiome researcher. I want to see what he suggests I do to keep the monster under control.

1969-12-31T19:00:00-0500

last updated

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles