I just saw my doctor for the first time in 18 months!

By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2011-12-15 13:27:28 -0600
Started 2011-12-07 17:47:16 -0600

I just got back from my doctor's appointment. I had not seen her for 18 months because of a series of changes (work, insurance, etc.) in my life. I had maintained my daily testing and done my own A1c tests during this time, so knew I was still on track with my diabetes care.

Well, after she got over her surprise that I was totally medication free for the last 18 months, she asked me what I had changed. I told her about the changes I had made in my diabetic diet, then about discovering I was gluten intolerant and removing gluten from my diet, and getting more regular with exercise which is now up to 3 miles/day walking and running with some free weights and swimming added in.

She told me that she wished all her patients could make these kinds of changes and laughingly said she had a few she would like to refer to me. That was when I told her about diabetic connect and what a wonderful support this site is. She wrote down the information about the Alliance Health Care sites with real interest.

My EKG is normal, as it also was when last done 2 years ago. No changes despite no meds. This is important because I had a mild (no permanent damage) heart attack in 2005 after being diagnosed with D in 2003. Two of the three medications I have discontinued were for my heart. The third was Actos for my D.

Note: I had been decreasing my dosages as I began to feel better and had positive test results. None of these changes were done rapidly, but as compensation for increasing health prompted by healthier life choices.

She ended our appointment by commending me for the decisions I had made and the resulting changes. (I had really wondered if she would be upset because I hadn't included her in the process.) Of course, I will be doing the usual batteries of blood tests to verify cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and etc. and am looking forward to that information.

I am just so happy with this that I had to share it. Diet changes, BG monitoring, weight loss, and exercise DO WORK. I really feel blessed.

81 replies

GabbyPA 2011-12-13 08:27:46 -0600 Report

I may be contacting you to help me out! That is great and I want to travel that same road.

Caroltoo 2011-12-13 20:09:11 -0600 Report

Be happy to chat with you. It was mostly trial and error, and trial and error. I'm just too stubborn to give up before it happens.

GabbyPA 2011-12-14 17:25:37 -0600 Report

LOL I call myself my own guinea pig...it is so true!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-12-11 22:07:43 -0600 Report

Hey Carol,

I just wanted to tell you congratulations! You are a role model for good self-care. Thanks for shaing your good news!


Caroltoo 2011-12-11 22:51:11 -0600 Report

Thank you, Gary.

Guess you saw the Alzheimer's information that Tara posted towards the end of this discussion…it was about the coconut oil treatment.

margokittycat 2011-12-08 19:14:56 -0600 Report

That is so awsome congradulastions you are a great role modle for others.

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 19:29:58 -0600 Report

Gee, thanks…I'll be a better one when I go regularly.

margokittycat 2011-12-08 21:41:06 -0600 Report

Hey I understand the insurance change and everything else that keeps you from being able to go like you should, but to be able to do all the things you did on your own without the doctor is terrific.

lifedriver 2011-12-08 11:04:41 -0600 Report

Carol, man very impressive. I am so glad for your achievement in your overall health. Keep on striving and your story will help others in their walk…LIVE

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 13:24:57 -0600 Report

Thanks, Lifedriver. It does feel good to have professional affirmation that my health is as good as I thought it was.

nzingha 2011-12-08 07:51:49 -0600 Report

I am trying hard with all u have been doing but i still dont have it under control as well as i should… but i guess i am expecting these changes too soon… but big congrats to u..well done!

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 13:27:56 -0600 Report

Nzingha: I've tried lots of different combinations too. Guess I finally found the right one for this moment in time. Who knows, next month it may be different. I think that is really the challenging thing—what works this month may need to change next month.

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 21:28:49 -0600 Report

UPDATE: my doctor just called me (5:30 and finishing up at the office) to tell me she is just in awe of what I have done to turn my Diabetes around. Can you believe that? I do so wish you could all find supportive doctors. It makes such a huge difference!

MewElla 2011-12-08 08:06:25 -0600 Report

This is super news and I am so happy for you…You have worked so hard and it definitely shows in how you took control…diet changes, monitoring, weight loss and definitely exercise makes a huge difference…

Young1s 2011-12-07 21:44:27 -0600 Report

It's so true. I've been with mine for 3 years now. She has always been upfront with me. Doesn't sugarcoat anything. I not only talk to her about how I'm progressing with my health, she is also a huge supporter of my recovery efforts.

jayabee52 2011-12-07 21:33:46 -0600 Report

hooray for your dr! I had some really supportive Drs when I was living in SF area. They were "Jem's" Drs for several years prior to my meeting Jem and they just loved her, and because I made Jem so happy that love flowed over onto me.

I really enjoyed my time with Kaiser Permanente in SF bay area.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-07 19:23:25 -0600 Report

Congratulations!! I'm so happy to hear this. You have done a wonderful job and so happy your doctor is like mine. Happy for the positive changes we have made and very supportive of those! I had a good doctor visit also!! How cool are we!!

Keep rockin' my fellow warrior!
Blessings, Mickey

Young1s 2011-12-07 18:48:59 -0600 Report

I am sooo happy for you Carol. It's stories like yours that give us all hope for better control over our own diabetes issues. I'm sure it felt good to get that validation for all the work you put in. And cuddos to your doctor for not taking the "I'm the professional, I know best" attitude. Although, I suspect even if she had it would have fallen on deaf ears. You're an inspiration to us all. Especially to me, because I also want to be able to control my D without medications. I guess that's why I am so fanatical about the way I journal. And given the small amount of insulin and Met I take, I don't see why not. Thank you for sharing that with us. Good news for one of us is encouragment for us all. Your a superstar and a super lady. God bless you.

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 16:43:00 -0600 Report

Thanks, Patricia. It is encouraging to me also. Yes, doctor is really nice to deal with. I've done a lot of journaling also to see what seems to have cause and effect relationship.

watson4042 2011-12-08 15:20:52 -0600 Report

hi, watson here. speaking of journals did you ever get the email on what that man's using (jayabee i think)?

Young1s 2011-12-08 18:24:43 -0600 Report

Nancy, I can clear that one up for you and Carol because it was me that James sent the journaling info to. It has to do with the exchange that me, you, and James had, in Gabby's discussion "Diabetes Learning Curve", about how James and I journal. And yes he did send it to me. I know he would be glad to do the same for you if you ask. To quote James on this "I will share it should either of you may be interested. All you need to do is ask.". So send him a message in his Inbox and I'm sure he will respond to you asap.

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 19:05:27 -0600 Report

The Alzheimer's tx that made it into the later part of the discussion.

Drat: I cut my finger today and I'm typing with one hand…slow!

Caroltoo 2011-12-08 16:40:11 -0600 Report

Oh, I must admit to complete confusion…could you tell me more about what you are looking for? I'm not placing it from your comment.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-07 19:24:48 -0600 Report

She is an inspiration, but then, so are you! You are both wonderful friends and are fierce warriors!
God Bless you both! I'm proud to call both of you friends.
Love, Mickey<3

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 19:00:54 -0600 Report

Thank you, Patricia. You are right about the "deaf ears," I am just too motivated to be put off by professionals who don't listen. I did select this doctor because she is open and very caring. I feel like I can actually sit down and talk to her and have her see me as a person, not just a diagnosis. As I was leaving this morning, Wayne wanted to be sure the doctor I was going to see was the "really caring one" that he had met when I took him to her office for one of my appointments about 5 years ago. Must have made a real impression on him too considering his Alzheimer's.

I do believe so strongly that we can improve our health by making some basic changes and lots of "course corrections" as we see some of our choices not working as well as we anticipated. I see it as a big three dimensional puzzle and find it a fascinating challenge! I'm glad this is encouraging to you and hope it will also be to others.

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 18:17:39 -0600 Report

Hi Carol— I'm so glad to hear about your excellent results. Question— I sent you a HUGE couple of comments this morning in reply to your questions about cocnut oil but i don't see them anywhere. Did you get them or did i somehow not hit the right buttons. LOL : )

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 18:33:58 -0600 Report

I got them. Thanks. In fact I asked a question about one. No, I haven't seen them here either. I'll have to check on that. The second one may still be in my email…I have a lot from this morning that I need to check.

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 18:36:47 -0600 Report

Good. I'm happy you got them. : )

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 18:39:57 -0600 Report

Well, I got a couple messages. Actually wouldn't call them huge…let me see what's in my inbox.

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 19:12:26 -0600 Report

A Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s Disease
Six years ago, Steve Newport, a 59-year-old accountant and bookkeeper, began having problems at work. As the months went by, he became increasingly disorganized, error prone, frustrated, and depressed. He eventually consulted a neurologist and was told he had early dementia.
Over the next few years, Steve’s dementia rapidly progressed. He was diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease and was started on Aricept, the first of several drugs he would eventually take. By the time an MRI revealed evidence of brain atrophy and confirmed that he had Alzheimer’s, he was unable to do simple math, type, or use a calculator. He even had to be reminded to eat and take his medications. Well aware of Steve’s dire prognosis, his wife, Mary Newport, MD, was constantly on the lookout for new therapies that might help.
Last spring, she came across a recruitment notice for a clinical trial evaluating a new Alzheimer’s drug. She learned that about half of the patients who had taken the medication in a 90-day pilot study had remarkable improvements, and the other half held steady compared to a placebo group that continued to decline. Intrigued, she searched the Internet and discovered that the drug’s active ingredient was medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), natural fatty acids that are abundant in coconut oil.
A Remarkable Turnaround
Steve didn’t qualify for the clinical trial, but Dr. Newport was undeterred. She went to her health food store, purchased some coconut oil, and began giving it to her husband. After the very first dose, “a light switch came on.” As Steve continued to take the oil over the next two months, he became more alert and talkative, and his sense of humor slowly returned. His attention and ability to stay on task improved, and at a family reunion, he remembered the names of relatives he couldn’t recognize the year before.
Today, a year and a half after beginning treatment, Steve volunteers in a hospital warehouse and enjoys his job and coworkers. His previously impaired gait has normalized, and he is able to run—something he couldn’t do for well over a year. He can read again, with decent comprehension, and his short-term memory is gradually getting better. His conversational skills continue to improve, and he’s no longer depressed. In short, he feels as if he “got his life back.”
MCTs Create Ketones…
How in the world could an inexpensive oil facilitate such a turnaround? It’s all about ketones. Medium chain triglycerides don’t behave like the more common long chain fats. Thanks to their shorter chemical structure, they are easily absorbed and rapidly metabolized in the liver. And rather than being stored as fat, they are converted into ketones.
Ketones are your body’s alternative energy source. When glucose stores are exhausted, ketones are synthesized from fats and delivered to the cells, where they’re burned for energy. But because glucose is the preferred fuel, ketones are produced only as a backup—when you’re fasting, for example, or eating a very low-carbohydrate diet. (This is the principle behind the Atkins’ weight loss program.)
Unfortunately, in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, neurons lose their ability to properly use glucose. Inefficient glucose metabolism in specific areas of the brain is an early feature of these disorders, present long before symptoms appear. Many experts believe this is due to insulin resistance—Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to as “type 3 diabetes.” Neurons deprived of energy obviously cannot function normally and they eventually die, contributing to the degenerative process.
…And Ketones Nourish Brain Cells
Affected neurons can, however, use ketones for energy, and when they’re made available, starving brain cells perk right up. When this fuel source is supplied on a consistent basis, remarkable things can happen—as evidenced by Steve’s initial and ongoing progress.
Actually, the therapeutic effects of ketones for the brain are old news. Ketogenic diets have been used since the 1920s to effectively prevent or reduce seizures in patients with epilepsy, and a handful of studies suggest that such a diet would also improve other neurodegenerative conditions. The ketogenic diet, however, is hard to swallow. It requires eating lots of fat and almost no carbohydrates, and it’s difficult to stick with over the long term.
That’s the beauty of MCTs and coconut oil. When you supplement with these oils, they are converted into ketones, even if you don’t change your diet. In other words, you can have your carbs and ketones, too.
The Coconut Connection
When Dr. Newport first began giving Steve this therapy, she didn’t realize that refined MCT oil was available, so she gave him non-hydrogenated coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is about 60 percent MCTs by weight, so she figured that to get the dose of MCTs used in the drug trials (20 g), he’d have to take 35 g of coconut oil (7 teaspoons).
She’s since learned that ketone blood levels peak about three hours after taking coconut oil and are out of the system within eight hours. She also discovered that MCT oil is available and it produces a peak blood level at 90 minutes that clears within three hours. Now, Steve takes 4 teaspoons of MCT oil and 3 teaspoons of coconut oil three times a day with meals to ensure that his brain has access to a more or less constant source of energy. When he misses a dose, he may develop a transient tremor or feel temporarily “dazed and confused.” But once he makes it up, he’s back to “normal.”
Normal is relative. Steve, who has the APOE4+ genotype that predisposes people to early Alzheimer’s, has significant brain atrophy. It is highly unlikely that he will return to his previous accounting/bookkeeping job. He’s relearning to type, but he’ll never be the computer whiz he once was. But to his wife and daughters, today’s definition of normal is good enough.
A Solution Hiding in Plain Sight
Folks, this is one of the most remarkable stories I’ve come across in a long time. I’ve known about MCTs for years and first wrote about them in Health & Healing in 1993. MCT oil, which is obtained from coconut oil, is used in conventional medicine to provide energy for premature infants and patients recovering from surgery, and those with malnutrition and absorption problems. It’s used by athletes to improve performance and endurance and by dieters to control appetite and stimulate fat burning. Studies suggest that it also enhances heart and immune health.
Unrefined coconut oil has numerous benefits as well. Contrary to popular belief, it does not—I repeat, it does not—raise cholesterol or in any other way increase risk of heart disease. In fact, it is cardioprotective and contains compounds that support the liver, improve immune function, and have antimicrobial properties.
However, I was unaware of the incredible potential of these ketone precursors. This powerful natural therapy and possible cure for some of our most devastating diseases has been hiding in plain sight for years, recognized by nobody except a drug company and a handful of researchers. Now, thanks to Dr. Newport, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.
The Nuts and Bolts of Ketone Therapy
I’m now recommending ketone therapy for all of my patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and other neurodegenerative disorders. There is evidence to suggest that it may also be beneficial for individuals with Down syndrome, autism, and diabetes.
The most practical and economical way of raising ketone levels is with the MCT/coconut oil combo. It can be taken by the spoonful, but a far more pleasant way to get it down is to add it to food. In the Newport household, they mix the two oils in a jar and measure out the desired amount for each meal. They cook with the oil, put it in oatmeal, and use it in salad dressings and as a spread. They also use other sources such as coconut flakes, milk, ice cream, macaroons, etc., and adjust the amount of additional oil accordingly.
Another—in my opinion, inferior—option is the drug that first turned Dr. Newport on to MCTs. Axona has been available for a few months now as a medical food. It’s essentially MCT oil in 20 g servings, with a suggested dose of once per day. Dr. Newport feels this isn’t enough—MCT ketone levels peak at 90 minutes and are gone within three hours. Of course, you could take it three times a day, but that would cost upwards of $300 per month. It also requires a prescription, and so far, few insurance companies are reimbursing for it.
Finally, Dr. Richard Veech of the National Institutes of Health is doing research with actual ketones, which he makes in his lab from MCT oil. Taken orally, they increase levels to a greater degree than is possible with the oils and, presumably, add more benefits. Oral ketones are not yet available, but I’ll keep you posted on future developments.
Could Ketones Prevent Disease?
I believe that ketone therapy also has a promising role in prevention. As I mentioned, poor glucose tolerance precedes symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders and contributes to their progression. Why shouldn’t healthy people—especially if they’re older or have a family history of any of these diseases—take a few spoonfuls of these oils every day to help stave off future problems? I’ve been doing this myself, and I urge you to consider doing the same.
In closing, I want to commend Dr. Newport for her diligence and creativity in finding help for her husband, and for her advocacy in sharing her family’s personal experiences so others may benefit. Let’s help her get the word out.
• The recommended dose of MCTs for neurodegenerative disorders is 20 g per meal (7 teaspoons or a scant 2 ½ tablespoons). Dr. Newport’s recipe is to combine 16 ounces of MCT oil plus 12 ounces of coconut oil, store at room temperature (it gets hard when refrigerated), and use as needed. To avoid diarrhea, start with 1–2 teaspoons per meal and build up gradually—and be aware that some people will only be able to tolerate lower amounts. Because coconut oil contains no omega-3 essential fatty acids, a minimum of 2 g of fish oil should also be taken daily.
• Non-hydrogenated coconut oil is widely available in health food and grocery stores, but MCT oil can be a little harder to find. To order, call (800) 810-6655.
• To learn more, visit coconutketones.com, Dr. Newport’s Web site. You’ll find a wealth of information on ketone therapy, as well as guidelines for incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet.

dietcherry 2011-12-08 16:05:05 -0600 Report

Fascinating! Cant wait to tell my Pastor whose wife is in early stages of A. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us—youve helped countless people!!!

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 20:01:53 -0600 Report

No, had not gotten this one. Thanks for posting it. I just emailed Dr. Gary, so he could look at it also. I copied you on the email so you too both know what I said.

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 19:11:23 -0600 Report

• The recommended dose of MCTs for neurodegenerative disorders is 20 g per meal (7 teaspoons or a scant 2 ½ tablespoons). Dr. Newport’s recipe is to combine 16 ounces of MCT oil plus 12 ounces of coconut oil, store at room temperature (it gets hard when refrigerated), and use as needed. To avoid diarrhea, start with 1–2 teaspoons per meal and build up gradually—and be aware that some people will only be able to tolerate lower amounts. Because coconut oil contains no omega-3 essential fatty acids, a minimum of 2 g of fish oil should also be taken daily.

They said no particular MCT as long as it is high quality. You can get it at the health food store. The Institute has one too. : )

jayabee52 2011-12-07 19:59:06 -0600 Report

Is that blog located on DC? I tried to find it on DC blogs but was unsuccessful

Could you provide a link where I might find this?

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 20:08:59 -0600 Report

Hi! Yes, i received it from my associates at Whitaker Wellness Institute where it had been posted on the blog in the past. : )

jayabee52 2011-12-07 20:23:29 -0600 Report

I thought that's what I did. OH no I didn't ask her to post on the blogs, sorry for my mistake. Yes that would be ok!

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 20:45:41 -0600 Report

I don't know how to do that. The blog post asks for a "blog feed" which is don't think would be appropriate for me to do since it would be a feed from Whitaker and not everything would be pertinent to diabetes. I didn't see how to just do one post. : )

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 20:50:59 -0600 Report

LOL! I just rechecked and it definitely asks for a blog feed which i could add but don't think it would be appropriate since not all posts would be relevant. It's a general health blog, not specific to diabetes. : )

jayabee52 2011-12-07 23:52:07 -0600 Report

if it is appropriate as a suppliment for diabetes or a food for use in the management of the condition I shouldn't see any reason someone would kick about it. We all need health info beyond what we focus on in diabetes.

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 20:06:15 -0600 Report

As far as I know, James, it is only in my discussion on the d.c. site. Tara may have gotten it from Whittaker's site.

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 19:18:31 -0600 Report

I have not previously seen the long one you just posted above. I did see the shorter one about MCTs.

My question to you was w/r/t the MCTs. I thought coconut oil was also a medium chain triglyceride, perhaps that's why I am confused.

OK, now I will go read the long one.

TaraHealth 2011-12-07 19:37:38 -0600 Report

Here's what i found. : )
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are medium-chain (6 to 12 carbons) fatty acid esters of glycerol.
MCTs passively diffuse from the GI tract to the portal system (longer fatty acids are absorbed into the lymphatic system) without requirement for modification like long-chain fatty acids or very-long-chain fatty acids. In addition, MCTs do not require bile salts for digestion. Patients that have malnutrition or malabsorption syndromes are treated with MCTs because they do not require energy for absorption, utilization, or storage. Coconut oil is composed of approximately 66% medium-chain triglycerides. Other rich sources of MCTs include palm kernel oils and camphor tree drupes. The fatty acids found in MCTs are called medium-chain fatty acids. The names of the medium-chain fatty acids (and the corresponding number of carbons) found in MCTs are caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10) and lauric acid (C12). MCTs are composed of a glycerol backbone and three of these fatty acids. The approximate ratios of these fatty acids in commercial MCT products derived from coconut oil are 2(C6):55(C8):42(C10):1(C12)

Caroltoo 2011-12-07 19:47:25 -0600 Report

Thanks, Tara. Fascinating. Sounds like it might be helpful with celiac disease as well as Alzheimer's and diabetie since all involve reduced ability to absorb nutrients.

The Newton's experiment was what I read about in a heath magazine about 6 months ago and why I started feeding Wayne coconut oil. Definitely gives him the runs, so we are increasing slowly. Well, I shall have to find an MCT to add to the coconut oil. Thanks for the follow-up. You may see me on the website later.

I'm going to cue Dr. Gary in on this discussion also because I was just telling him briefly about the Newton's when I posted on the A's website a few days ago.

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