Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dodging a Bullet: Avoid Unnecessary Meds

Back in May, I wrote that my continual nosebleeds had mostly stopped since taking large doses of zinc. That's still the case. What I didn't know until a few days ago was that the Flonase my doctor prescribed for my nosebleeds could have given me diabetes. (The other alternative he presented was cauterization. However, I tend to shy away from treatments that remind me of a Civil War battlefield hospital.)

Jenny Ruhl at the Diabetes Update blog reported that a study showed a 34% increased risk of diabetes from taking inhaled steroids. When I asked her if Flonase was one of the steroids, she said it was, and added that a steroid wasn't likely to heal my nose and might have made it worse with time. As I've written here before, there is diabetes on both sides of my family, and I may have genes for the disease. Continuing to take Flonase might have made me diabetic.

Why did I decide to take zinc instead of Flonase? The Flonase helped a little, but not much, and I was already wary of taking medicines I didn't need. No doctor suggested zinc. I only knew from reading and experience that it was helpful in healing. Dr. Robert Atkins, whose advice hadn't led me wrong, believed in optimal doses, not minimum doses, of vitamins--and my own research suggested the minimum daily recommendations didn't mean much.

UPDATE: My mother tells me that someone in our family had a cortisone shot for sciatica. (Cortisone is the active ingredient in Flonase.) This relative, a type 2 diabetic, later had a BG reading of over 500 (yes, five hundred). Yes, I've tried to tell her what little I've learned about blood sugar control, but since she's had diabetes for 20 years and listens to her nutritionist about eating plenty of carbohydrates (read: sugar), I'm afraid she feels I have nothing to add to her beliefs about diabetes. Sigh.


Mike W said...

Good call Lori. Makes you wonder how many serious diseases are down to simple mineral deficiencies. Check this: "The high phytate content of cereal proteins is known to decrease the availability of zinc, thus the prevalence of zinc deficiency is likely to be high in a population consuming large quantities of cereal proteins" -

So that'll be most of the Western world then right? Shocking really. Glad you managed to find a cure.

Lori Miller said...

Mike, thanks for the link. It wouldn't surprise me if vitamin and mineral deficiency were pretty common.

Traditionally, grains and other seeds were soaked, sprouted and/or fermented, which neutralized the phytic acid. There's more information on vitamin and mineral absorption in this post:

Mike W said...

Just read it - superb.
From everything I can find, it seems like most of the West is utterly malnourished, and like you say we seem to have abandoned any technique of proper preparation of grains.
Reading through your other posts, you say you've not been diagnosed with celiac but clearly wheat is a problem. Do you find the same problem with other grains too?

Lori Miller said...

First of all, congratulations on sailing through a marathon! And for regaining your health and fitness in the face of a lot of bad conventional wisdom.

No, I don't have trouble with other grains. I use low-carb rice protein powder in my breakfast shake, and one of my party places makes gluten-free cakes and cookies I indulge in once in a while. I don't know what kind of grain they use instead of wheat.

A piece of meat lightly rolled in flour is all the wheat I can stand--any more now gives me a stomach ache.

I imagine quite a few people get a negative test for celiac and their doctor tells them to go ahead and eat wheat.

Mike W said...

Thanks Lori, likewise!
Interesting about the grains. It's definitely a question of degree rather than celiac y/n. Right on queue dave from DietsandScience tweeted this:

Not news to either of us by the sounds of it.

The g free stuff is not so bad. Amazingly in the florence marathon they had a gluten free tent at about mile 20 - can't tell you how pleased I was.

Still, it'd be good to see g free come out from the freaky eating section of the supermarket and into the main aisles. We live in hope...

Lori Miller said...

Thanks for the link. From what I've read, gluten damages a lot of different cells in your body, including cartilage and brain cells.

Part of the problem could also be what people AREN'T eating on a junky diet: less meat, veg, eggs, etc. that are full of nutrients that might help with damage control.

Gluten-free isn't considered as freaky as it used to be here. (The party place that serves the GF goodies is pretty freaky, though.) But tell people you're a low-carber, or you can lose weight on fast food, and they'll look at you like you've grown a second head.

Mike W said...

Good grief, I didn't know that.
Totally with you on the nutrients thing - there's a barber I go to who eats total crap day in day out,but takes a multivitamin daily. When he stops, he gets ravenous and puts on weight. I'm going to interview him before the year is out - I think it's so telling.
Low carb over here = Atkins = heart attack is most people's perception.

Lori Miller said...

I am up to 750 mg of Mg a day now. The last time I gave blood (a few weeks ago, after upping my Mg dosage), I had a normal appetite. The last two times I donated (after starting a low-carb, high-fat diet), I was so hungry in the days following that I would eat two lunches in one sitting. I can't think of anything else I'd started doing differently.

Lori Miller said...

For readers interested in blood sugar--tonight, purely in the interest of research, I had a piece of gluten-free, vegan maple fudge cake at my party place. I ate it between dances, then took my BG level about an hour later. It was 101--not bad at all. (Please note that I am NOT diabetic.) For reference, half a baked potato raised my BG level to 120 when I tested myself several months ago. Something else to consider was that I was doing lindy, a dance that's physically demanding but a major stress reliever. In other words, if I were to come home from a stressful day at work and plop down in front of the TV with a piece of that cake, I might get a higher reading since stress can raise your BG and exercise lowers it in some people.

Also, the GF, vegan, maple-sweetened cake didn't give me any bloating, congestion or upset stomach that wheat gives me.

Lori Miller said...

Two hours after the maple fudge cake, my BG reading is 121. Ah--it's one of those foods that takes awhile to raise your blood sugar. I should have known: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.