Medicine Cabinet Makeover pt. 2: Diabetes and Pain

By Dr Ernst
July 21, 2017

You may have read Part 1 where we talked about antidepressants, thyroid medications and high blood pressure medications. These are the top 3 best-sellers for big pharma, selling tens of millions of prescriptions each every year.

This time we’re going to get into diabetes and pain medication. But first, I want to illustrate for you that it could be argued that the biggest public health risk in the country is actually medications.

If you add up the deaths from adverse drug reactions, deaths by surgery mishaps, outpatient mistakes, misdiagnoses and other medicine-related problems like infections picked up at the hospital, bedsores, etc., you get 784,000 deaths per year. That’s exponentially more than how many people are killed by firearms in the U.S. every year (32,000), how many people die from smoking every year (480,000), or from car accidents every year (35,000) all combined!

And mind-altering prescriptions like opioids are becoming an even bigger problem for society than drinking. In 2016, 43% of fatal car crashes were DRUG-related, while 37% were alcohol-related.

In 2015, 259 million prescriptions for opioids were written. That’s almost 1 prescription per citizen (including children). There are 11 states (one is South Carolina) where more opioid prescriptions are written than there are citizens in the state. Most of these are Southern states, interestingly. The highest being Alabama with 143 prescriptions written for every 100 people.

Let’s talk diabetes

We’ll focus on type II meds. The bestsellers are Januvia and Lantus. Januvia is a pill where Lantus is an injection. Both are meant to lower blood sugar. Side effects include diarrhea or constipation (sort of weird that it would be such opposites), joint pain, muscle and back pain, nausea, headaches, severe skin reactions, pancreatitis, weight gain, dizziness, lightheadedness, etc., etc., etc.

But here’s a crazy thought: If you want to lower your blood sugar, you could always eat less sugar. But God forbid we actually have a simple answer to our health problems.

Of course, the absolute best way to combat diabetes is to change your diet. Get rid of sugar and carbs (because they are also sugar), get rid of inflammation-causing foods like non-organic fruits, veggies, meats, etc. so your leaky gut can heal, your body-wide inflammation can go down and your cells can regenerate. And to regenerate your cells, eat lots and healthy fats. Why do you need your cells to regenerate?

Here’s the lowdown on diabetes. It happens when your cells no longer accept the hormone insulin. The insulin receptors on your cells are fried because of all the sugar you’ve eaten has caused so many extreme insulin spikes that the receptors get worn out. The purpose of insulin is to tell your cells to pull sugar from the blood into the cell. When the receptors don’t work and your cells don’t get the message, sugar builds up in the blood and you have high blood sugar. It’s really simple.

You eat sugar –> sugar in the blood –> insulin released to the cells –> cells take sugar in –> blood sugar goes down (until the next time you eat sugar).

But diabetes is a break in the chain of events. Instead you get:

You eat sugar –> sugar in the bloodàinsulin released to the cells –> cells don’t get the message because receptors are worn out –> blood sugar builds up –> sugar stored as fat –> you eat more sugar, continue ad infinitum

So, like I said, ditch the sugar, eat more fats, exercise and you don’t need diabetes meds. You can honestly turn diabetes around even though doctors tend to be of the opinion that it’s chronic and incurable, just “manageable” with medications.

Opiods and pain

Pain sucks. Nobody wants to deal with it. When people are in pain, a magic pill solution is a very attractive option. That’s not at all surprising. But we’re killing ourselves with this stuff. 50,000 overdose deaths per year. 1,000 overdose hospitalizations PER DAY. 43% of fatal car accidents caused by these types of drugs. Addiction, abuse, loss in productivity, wasted life—everything that goes with drug abuse and addiction of any kind.

So how can we deal with pain without resorting to drugs?

Just like anything else. Attack the source. In rare cases, like irreversible nerve damage, it may never go away.

However, in most cases, there are techniques for just becoming more adept and living with it. For example, yoga and meditation to calm the mind’s response to pain. It’s like training you can ultimately get better and better and feeling, reacting to and even noticing pain. Exercise keeps tissues, joints, bones and the mind limber, which helps, plus it releases endorphins, a neurotransmitter that naturally dulls pain.

For most other pain-related issues, there are ways to deal with it. Let’s examine a few.

Some of the most common reasons for an opioid prescription are:

  • Post-surgical pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain

So this begs all sorts of questions. For both surgery and cancer, was there something you could have done in terms of your lifestyle to avoid those issues in the first place? Obviously, to those already struggling with these problems, that question doesn’t do any good. But it’s something for other to think about. And it could also be comforting to realize that it will go away with time.

Lower back pain we can almost certainly get rid of with chiropractic care—also headaches.

Arthritis is very often a result of inflammation, which can be dealt with by fixing your leaky gut and changing your diet.

Other issues that result in pain pill prescriptions:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

Again, fibromyalgia and CFS, we can do something about with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and chiropractic care. Any good chiropractor can fix TMJ. IBS is directly related to leaky gut, and I’ve told thousands of people how to fix that. Massage, acupuncture, physical therapy and exercise are highly effective pain management techniques.

From the heart of the establishment, Harvard Medical School, comes a study that shows that acupuncture reduces pain consistently over 50%. From Harvard’s own health blog,Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, specialist in pain medicine, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital:

I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication.

Other than that, take a more proactive attitude toward your health. Don’t just think, “Oh, my elbows hurt. Whatever, I’ll just go get some pills.”

Get tested, ask questions, do your homework and see if it’s something you can’t fix. There’s always another way.

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