By Dr. Cynthia Clark is an Acupuncture Physician and Applied Clinical Nutritionist. –
The patient sitting in front of me had his bloodwork, and his blood sugar marker Hga1c showed that he was 0.1 away from being diagnosed with diabetes. This hadn’t been pointed out to him, and the blood work was 2 months old. He didn’t know that he was about to be prescribed an insulin pump, and was now at risk for foot wounds which wouldn’t heal, blindness, kidney failure, or even avascular necrosis, a condition which can lead to amputation. This information was difficult for me, because this patient was also my dad.
Diabetes runs on both sides of my family, and so it has been a special interest of mine throughout my training and practice to reverse diabetes through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements and Chinese herbs. So while I was stunned by this report, I was also excited that he was in my office.
Here is what I saw happening in my father at that moment, from my Chinese medicine camera lens: In Chinese medicine, we refer to Yang and Yin. Yang is the bright, warm, dry energy that comes from the sun, and Yin is the dark, cool, moist energy that we associate with the moon. Medically, Yang is the energy required for cellular activity like repair and rebuilding; Yin is the body fluids and blood.
Consider the human organism as a candle: it’s function (yang) is to shed light, and it’s form (yin) is the wax and wick. When we are young, we create more substance than we burn up, and so we grow. As we get older, we burn up substance, and so we age. But unlike a candle, whose form is set at its creation, we can constantly modify our bodies, including our genes (this field of study is called epigenetics), with the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the exercise we take.
How does this happen? If we eat food that is too cold, or difficult to digest, our digestive systems get stuck in overdrive, resulting in Stomach Heat. Stomach heat registers as hunger to us – and so we eat more, contributing to the congested digestive system. Foods which are especially difficult to digest are those which contribute to dampness: like dairy foods and sweet foods. And one treat my father and I both love is ice cream! But this treat is especially hard on the digestive system, because it is dairy, it is sweet, and it is very cold.
Diabetes is called Xiao Ke, which translates to “wasting and thirsting” syndrome. Upper Xiao Ke affects the Lungs with heat, resulting in excessive thirst. Middle Xiao Ke affects the Stomach with heat – resulting in excessive hunger. And Lower Xiao Ke affects the Kidneys, resulting in frequent urination.
The underlying pattern of Diabetes is Yin Deficiency with Dampness and heat. People in Florida, like my dad who was born here, already live in a damp, hot climate so we are more susceptible to such disorders. While many disorders can be treated with diet and exercise, the specific diet varies person to person, and is best determined with testing. However, all patients with diabetes would be served to observe some universal rules of improving digestion: eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and exercise daily. It is important to make dietary changes to foods that are right for you, and this means you need to be ready to eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Tuesday, November 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Learn About Healthy Digestion
If you already have a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes, know that although your body has an amazing capacity to heal itself, it needs some additional support to do so. Some of the products that we see work very well are a blend of pancreatic enzymes, Chinese and Western herbs. For example, Bai Zhu strengthens the digestive system and dry up dampness. Gymnema helps to stabilize blood sugar and repair the Isle of Langerhans cells in the pancreas, which are destroyed by diabetes.
I am happy to say my father reversed his markers within 6 months, and remains diabetes-free today, as have several of our patients – their “candles” burn brightly! We’d love to help you do the same.