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Dynamic Chiropractic – November 21, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 24

An Answer to Diabetes and Other Conditions?

By Editorial Staff

An important goal in the past several years has been to work out a supplemental protocol which might be capable of predictably helping the diabetic. Much new information has appeared in the last year, and I have finally found a combination which I feel will demonstrate that it is possible to help diabetes as well as many other conditions.

It consists of a variety of natural substances including amino acids, trace minerals, and herbs. I would like to report on the findings.

Aspartic Acid: This amino acid is converted intracellularly into oxaloacetate, an important substrate in the energy-producing Krebs cycle, and is also a carrier molecule for the transport of potassium and magnesium into the cell. Both uncontrolled and double-blind studies (nearly 3,000 subjects) have found that between 75% and 91% of treated patients experienced pronounced relief of fatigue during treatment with potassium, magnesium, and aspartic acid. The dosage used was from one gram to three grams daily, and a beneficial effect was usually noted within four to five days.1

When six athletes were given supplements of aspartic acid (3,000 mg.), magnesium (500 mg.), and potassium (3,500 mg.), they were able to increase their exercise capacity by 50%.2

What all this means is debatable as it concerns diabetes, other than we may have a factor in aspartic acid that makes it easier for the body to utilize glucose, converting it into energy.

On the other hand, we have a variety of recent studies which implicate a lack of aspartic acid in position 57 in a DNA chain which determines pancreatic cells. Ninety-six percent of all diabetics studied with insulin-dependent diabetes were deficient in aspartic acid in this particular DNA chain. No non-diabetics were deficient in aspartic acid in this position. This has great significance in that parents with a history of diabetes in the family tree could supplement with aspartic acid before conception and make sure that the infants diet was high in aspartic acid. There has been no clear cut study indicating that aspartic acid supplementation would be beneficial to an existing diabetic, but we intend to do such a study.

Chromium: This trace mineral has had an illustrious history in the treatment of a wide variety of sugar-related disorders. It apparently is the central element in the well-known Glucose Tolerance Factor(GTF) and is available in a variety of forms.

A new book, The Chromium Program, by Jeffrey A. Fisher, M.D. offers abundant evidence of the benefits of chromium to the human utilization of fat and sugar. In the words of Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at New York Hospital/Cornell Medial Center, who wrote the forward: "Elevated levels of serum cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Dr. Fisher reviewd several recent studies which conclude that "enough" chromium in the diet can reduce the total cholesterol level and the level of its most harmful component, low density lipoprotein (LDL). There is other intriguing evidence to suggest that chromium can also lower elevated blood sugar and insulin requirements in some diabetics."

One of the statements in the above mentioned book that I found particularly interesting was: "Chromium is a required co-factor for all the actions of the hormone insulin and the actions of chromium directly parallel those of insulin." Drs. Schwarz and Mertz were the discoverers of the affect of chromium on insulin and Dr. Mertz postulated that "chromium, as GTF, acts as a co-factor to bind insulin to tissues and therefore improves the efficiency of insulin."

The first human example of the effect of chromium on glucose tolerance was a lady who had most of her small intestine removed and was relegated to total intravenous feeding for the rest of her life. After three and one-half years, the woman developed signs of diabetes -- elevated blood sugar, weight loss, and loss of sensation, which did not improve with insulin. But, within two weeks of adding chromium to her daily intravenous fluids, her blood sugar, neurological function, and weight were back to normal.

A chelated form of chromium seems to be the most efficient -- we are using the chromium picolinate -- but a polynicotinate is probably also acceptable. The following chart indicates the dramatic effect of adding this substance to diabetics.

Figure 6: Effect of supplemental chromium on fasting blood sugar. The diets of 11 diabetic patients were supplemented with 200 micrograms daily of chromium (chromium picolinate) or placebo for 6 weeks. At the end of that period, fasting blood glucose had decreased approximately 12% in the patients on chromium, whereas it remained unchanged in those on placebo. (From R.I. Press, J. Geller, and G.W. Evans, The effect of chromium picolinate on serum glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin and cholesterol of adult onset diabetics, submitted for publication.)

Vanadium: Vanadium has been shown to be essential in the chick and rat and is thought to be essential in man. Deficiency symptoms include: altered plasma cholesterol levels, increased triglyceride levels, altered hematocrit, and an increase in blood and bone iron. Vanadium supplementation at 20-30 mg/day for six weeks has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.3

Dr. John McNeil, dean of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, said, "Vanadium in one form or another can be a substitute for insulin." He said this discovery could mean that a diabetic would not have to take insulin ever again. At the very least, it would reduce the amount of insulin a person would take. At the present time we are in contact with Dr. McNeil to get all the information he has on the subject of Vanadium.

Bilberry Extract: This extract is a water soluable, flavonoid-like compound derived from the blue pigment of certain herbs and fruit-bearing plants. They are technically called anthocyanosides, and the anthocyanidins found in bilberry are cyanidin, malvidin, petunidin, delphinidin, and peonidin. Pine tree bark extract is a source of a chemically similar material and is being referred to in the literature as pycnogenols.

I chose to use the bilberry extract rather than the pine bark extract because the evidence is clinically much stronger in favor of it. Bilberry extract possesses significant antioxidant activity in vitro, in fact being much more active than vitamin E as an antioxidant.4 One of the primary intended uses of flavonoids has been to strengthen capillary walls; ultimately to reduce bruising, bleeding gums; and water retention (edema). The principle drawback of oral flavonoid preparations is their very poor level of absorption. Bilberry extract has been shown to be an orally active capillary anti-permeability agent, displaying almost twice the activity of the flavonoid, rutin, when injected.5 Oral administration of bilberry extract prevents chemical-induced increases in capillary permeability, effectively strengthens capillary walls, and reduces inflammation.6 Oral administration to individuals with varicose veins and ulcerative dermatitis produced a substantial drop in capillary leakage.7 Thus it could be used as a treatment for edema, bruising from excessive steroid use, varicose vein problems, etc.

Collagen is the primary structural protein of connective tissue, and the most widespread protein in mammals. The process of aging, and the presence of diabetes results in the production of a much more insoluble type of collagen. Oral administration of bilberry extract to diabetics produced a nearly complete reduction of insoluble collagen from skin and gums, without reducing the soluble fraction.8

The role of the blood vessel wall in atherosclerosis and cholesterol metabolism is of great clinical significance. A contributing mechanism to the process of atherosclerosis is that of platelet aggregation. Overactive platelet responses may lead to partial to complete closure of crucial blood vessels supplying the heart and brain. Human studies have shown that bilberry extract administered orally produces significant drops in platelet aggregability.9 The modification of platelet function is likely to be due to bilberry extract induced increases in prostacyclin (prostaglandin 1-2) release, which has potent blood vessel dilating and platelet anti-clumping activities.10

Bilberry extract also exhibits a diuretic effect which may be due to enhanced prostacyclin levels.11 The pronounced anti-ulcer activity of oral bilberry extract (comparable to Tagamet, without acid suppression), may also be mediated by prostacyclin.12 Bilberry extract also exhibits antihistamine action, blocking histamine-induced increases in capillary permeability within the skin, and promoting wound healing when topically applied.

Cataracts and other visual problems are often associated with diabetes. Bilberry extract has been shown to be clinically effective in senile cataract conditions. Among 50 people suffering from senile cortical cataracts, oral supplementation with bilberry extract and vitamin E arrested the progress of lens opacification in 97% of the cases.13

It is extremely interesting that most all herbal texts list the bilberry (also known as blueberry, huckleberry, and whortleberry) as being effective in diabetes or in lowering blood sugar. Schauenberg and Paris in their Guide to Medicinal Plants indicate that such property is due to a glucoquinine contained in the leaves, which lowers the blood sugar level.

Summary: It is apparent that with the wealth of information we have on the various natural substances discussed, they could be a valuable addition to a protocol used in a variety of conditions, including but not limited to:

Capillary fragility
Chronic fatigue syndrome


  1. Gaby. "Aspartic Acid and Fatigue." Current Nutritional Therapy, November 1982.
  2. Ahlborg, B. et al. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 74: p.238, 1964.
  3. Hopkins, L.L.; Mohr, H.E. "Effect of Vanadium Deficiency on Plasma Cholesterol." Fid. Proc. Fed. Am. Soc. Exp Biol. 1971.
  4. Masquelier & La Parra. "Radical Scavenger Effect of Proanthocyanidins." Et. Radicaux Lubres 1985.
  5. Lietti A. "Studies on Anthocyanosides -- Vasoprotective and Anti-inflammatory Activity." Arzneim Forsch. 26:829, 1976
  6. Lietti A. "Studies on Anthocyanosides -- Vasoprotective and Anti-inflammatory Activity." Arzneim Forsch. 26:829, 1976.
  7. Main, E. "Anthocyanosides and the Microvessel Wall." Min. Med. 68:3565, 1977.
  8. Boniface R. "Pharmacological Properties of Anthocyanosides in Diabetes Stud." Org Chem 23:293,1986.
  9. Bulliero, G. "The Inhibitory Effects of Anthocyanosides on Human Platelet Aggregation." Fitoterapia 60:69, 1989.
  10. Morrazzoni, P., Magistretti. "Effects of Anthocyanosides on Prostacyclin Activity in Arterial Tissue." Fitoerapia 57: 11, 1986.
  11. Moncada S & Vane. "Pharmacology and Endogenous Roles of Prostaglandin Endoperoxides." Pharm Rev 30: 293, 1978.
  12. Cristoni A., Magistretti, M.J. "Anti-ulcer and Healing Activity of Anthocyanosides." Il Farmaco 42:29, 1987.
  13. Bravetti G. "Preventive Medical Treatment of Senile Cataract with Vit. E and Anthocyanosides: Clinical Evaluation." Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul. 115:109, 1989.

Doctors who have chronic patients who would like more information can call:

Kurt Donsbach, D.C.
424 Calle Primera #102
San Ysidro, California 92073
(619) 428-1147

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