IDM Patient Profile December 2014 – Margaret

By Jason Fung, MD

This month our patient profile Margaret who joined the Intensive Dietary Management Program in April 2014.  At her first appointment, she was taking 120 units of insulin a day with an additional 2000 mg of Metformin to stabilize her blood sugar levels.  Her HbA1c, a 3 month average of blood sugars was 7.0%.  Her skin had no colour.  She appeared very lethargic and fragile. Walking to the exam room and changing position from sitting to standing was very difficult for her.
She had been gaining approximately 10 pounds a month for the last several months.  Each month they would increase her insulin level bit by bit.  Despite the increase in medication, she was not getting any healthier.  She had lost hope that her quality of life would every improve.  In her own words, she was ‘desperate’.

A common theme throughout our program is that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.  Insulin is absolutely vital for our survival, however, too much insulin is lethal.  We know that we need water to survive.  Humans cannot survive very long without it.  If we were to drink an excess amount water in one day we could potentially die from it as well.  Anything in excess is bad for us.

What most people fail to understand is that type 2 diabetes is a disease characterized by too much insulin.  Toxic levels of insulin accumulate in the body and slowly start to poison it over time.  Margaret’s insulin wasn’t bad.  Her own insulin is the best brand of insulin for her body, but over time she had developed insulin resistance as a result of dietary habits.  Giving her insulin injections was not making the problem any better.  Every time Margaret took an injection of insulin it was like pouring gasoline on a fire.  It just made her insulin resistance worse and worse.

The cause of insulin resistance is high insulin levels itself.  Giving insulin wasn’t making her diabetes better, it was making it worse.  Why would anybody be so foolish as to believe that a disease of too high insulin levels would be improved by more insulin?  It is like giving alcohol to an alcoholic.  It makes it worse.  In the short term, though, things improve.  The alcoholic feels better with alcohol.  The ‘insulin addict’ feels better with their ‘hit’ of insulin.  The blood sugars get better.  But the diabetes gets worse.

Clearly, the answer is the opposite.  We do not want to raise insulin levels by giving insulin.  We want to lower insulin levels since the insulin is the cause of the disease.  However, stopping insulin suddenly would simply leave blood sugars at a dangerously high level.  So intensive dietary management was also needed.

Margaret was desperate to improve the quality of her life.  Since April, she has done amazingly well.  She came completely off of her insulin within 21 days of starting on the program.  She stopped taking her Metformin 4 months later.  Her HbA1c was 6.6% when checked last month.  This means that her blood sugars are actually much better despite stopping ALL of her insulin and medications.  This is because her diabetes (insulin resistance) has improved.  The insulin resistance was the cause of the high blood sugars.  As her disease improved, her symptoms of high blood sugars did as well.  She has lost 65 pounds and 6 inches around her waist.
Today, I can barely recognize her.  She looks like a completely new woman.  She is more mobile.  Her energy levels have improved dramatically.  She no longer looks frail.    All of her success is a direct reflection of her dedication to achieving a healthier lifestyle.  Her husband, seeing such dramatic benefits also joined our program and has recently stopped all of his insulin as well.  They are now both on track to a healthier and diabetes-free future.  Congratulations Margaret!
Below, she has written her story in her own words.  Recently, at a recent lecture, we interviewed Margaret about the reversibility of type 2 Diabetes.  The fact that 25 years of type 2 diabetes can be reversed entirely through dietary measures in less than 6 months is remarkable and not well appreciated.

Margaret’s Story

My name is Marg.  Just 8 months ago I walked into the building for my appointment with Dr. Fung thinking this is a waste of my time.  I had tried everything.  My eye sight was getting really bad, I had to have surgery.  I have been over weight my whole life it seems.  I could not even bend over to tie my shoes.  I could hardly breathe as I walked through the door, but I continued on hoping to find something to at least help with my diabetes that I have had for 25 years. I recall Dr. Fung introducing himself and telling me I was there because I needed help.

I thought to myself here we go again, however, the doctor carefully explained I had options. I could have an operation or I could Fast which could help me get off Insulin.  I was then introduced to Megan who helped and guided me on how to get started Fasting.  I was told to try and Fast as long as I can.  Megan took my measurements and could not even reach around me.  I was told to come back in a week.  I went home feeling excited and anxious, could I actually do this?  I told my family and they were so encouraging.  I thought could this be what I have been looking for my whole life?  Prior to seeing Dr. Fung I was taking 60-20-60 units of Insulin and 2000 mg of Metforman a day.  Within 11 days of my first appointment I was decreasing my Insulin as my readings were already dropping. By the 12th day I completely stopped taking the Insulin.  It was not easy I did a complete fast for approximately 4 weeks.  However just not having to take Insulin was so encouraging!! I then started the next phase of eating 2 times one day and Fasting until lunchtime the next day.  Pills were next I starting cutting down by September 6th, I took my last Metformin.  I have already lost 66lbs and several inches from my waist.  I have dropped from a 5X to a 3X.  I can honestly say I have not felt this good in years. I can pick up the newspaper and actually read it.  I can also bend down and tie my own shoes. I have the encouragement and support to keep on going.

Thanks Dr. Fung and Megan for helping me keep on track. I am on a Journey which I believe I will be able to continue to the end.

You can hear more on Margaret’s story by clicking here.  

By The Fasting Method

For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.

Jason Fung, MD

By Jason Fung, MD

Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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