Article #1: Diabetes Mellitus by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
This is the name given to a group of symptoms that center around an impairment of carbohydrate metabolism. Commonly we are told that it is a disease of the pancreas, but it is coming to be realized that it is a disturbance of the metabolic process involving the entire organism and not strictly localized in any one organ. It is, in other words, a manifestation of a systemic derangement and, however important the pathology in the pancreas may be, this is secondary to the systemic derangement which has resulted in the disease of the pancreas.
The Islands of Langerhans may be described as little organs within the pancreas or sweetbread. These structures produce an internal secretion commonly known as insulin which is essential to the oxidation of sugar. When they fail to secrete sufficient insulin an excess of sugar accumulates in the blood and is eliminated by the kidneys in the urine. Hence sugar in the urine (glycosuria) is the principal symptom of what the layman calls sugar diabetes. But it is a subordinate symptom and is valuable chiefly as a criterion of the progress of the condition.
The condition of the pancreas of diabetics has been thoroughly studied after death and the destructive changes therein found have been carefully described and catalogued. But the patient may have had diabetes ten or more years before death and the pathologist, studying the end-point of the pathological process after death, gives us false picture of the condition of the pancreas except the terminal stages of the disease. Thus the hopeless view of diabetes taken by medical men.
There is no destruction in the pancreas when the disease first begins and the destructive changes take place slowly against the weakened resistance of the body. Enervation (fatigue) of the Islands of Langerhans is the probable beginning of diabetes. It is toxemia that produces the pathology (the destruction) in the pancreas. Toxemia produces first a mild, chronic pancreatitis which may persist for a long time before marked damage to the pancreas occurs.
Under causes of diabetes, Dayton’s Practice of Medicine gives “Heredity, male sex, adult life, Jewish race, obesity, cerebral or spinal disease or injury, infectious diseases, overwork and nervous strain predispose. Actual cause is unknown. Pancreatic disease is probably important.”
Heredity! Male sex! Adult life! Jewish race! These are not causes of anything. If adult life predisposes to diabetes then it is certainly dangerous to grow up. If male sex and Jewish race predispose then it is dangerous to be a man and a Jew.
If adults have more diabetes than children it is because more years of wrong living have produced more pathology in them. If men have more diabetes than women, it is because their mode of living is worse. If Jews have more diabetes than others it would have to be something in their diet or mode of living that produces the diabetes.
Perhaps pancreatic disease is important, but it certainly is not self-originating and self-evolving. It must be the outgrowth of causes antecedent thereto; must be secondary to other causes and conditions. Healthy men and women, Jews or heathens, do not develop diabetes.
Heredity! Is there such a thing? It is true that there are many cases of diabetes in children and youth and it is quite possible that there is marked larval endocrine deficiency in all such children. It may even be a lesser degree of larval endocrine deficiency that establishes the tendency to diabetes in adults. The time of life at which carbohydrate tolerance breaks down may be considered an index to the larval endocrine imbalance in the individual. But we must not overlook the fact that of two individuals with the same degree of larval endocrine deficiency, the one that subjects his body to the most enervating influence and consumes the greatest amount of carbohydrates will break down his carbohydrate tolerance first.
In those cases developing after the thirty-fifth or fortieth year we think the larval deficiency may be considered negligible and think that the cause is a decidedly overcrowded general nutrition in which carbohydrate consumption has been excessive throughout life. The Islands of Langerhans have merely been overworked through the years.
Worry, anxiety, grief, shock-fright, accidents, surgical shock—will so impair the function of the pancreas that sugar shows up in the urine immediately. In many cases of diabetes, emotional stress is the chief cause, but it is never the sole cause. Every so-called disease is a complex effect of a number of correlated antecedents.
Diet and drink, sleep, work and play, and many other factors enter the cause of every so-called disease. Any form of overstimulation—mental, emotional, sensory, physical, chemical, thermal, electrical—may give rise, first to functional, and, finally, to organic, disease: Diabetes is a functional disturbance at its beginning.
Diabetes is more markedly on the increase in those countries in which sugar consumption has mounted to such high figures during the past fifty years—France, Germany, Britain and the United States. Every fat person is a potential diabetic. The overfeeding which is responsible for the fat overworks the pancreas and as overwork of any organ results in impairment of the function of the organ, pancreatic failure results. If its causes are not corrected, functional impairment gradually passes into organic disease.
Carbohydrate excess places a strong stress on the pancreas and when this gland is over-worked by too great an intake of starches and sugars, there will be first, irritation and inflammation, then enlargement, followed by degeneration (de-secretion); after which the body loses control of sugar metabolism and of the excess acidity caused by too much starch and sugar.
But it should not be thought that overeating of carbohydrates alone impairs the pancreas. Anything that produces enervation—tobacco, tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, alcohol, soda fountain sweets, loss of sleep, overwork, general overeating, emotionalism, etc.—impairs organic function in general including pancreatic function.
Sedentary habits added to overeating increase the tendency to diabetes, as they do to all other so-called “degenerative diseases of later life.”
Let us glance briefly at the symptoms of diabetes. The urine is frequently voided, is pale and of high specific gravity unless there is inflammation of the kidneys in which case specific gravity is not so high. The urine contains varying amounts of sugar and certain acids that are absent from the urine of healthy subjects.
There is great thirst and a ravenous appetite with, commonly, loss of weight. Headache, depression and constipation are common. The breath is sweet, though unlike that of the healthy person. The mouth and skin are dry, even parched, the tongue is red and glazed, and when the disease is advanced the teeth usually decay and become loosened. There is a tendency to phyorrhea and bleeding of the gums. Loss of sex power is common, while Bright’s disease may develop as a “complication.” Impairment or loss of vision may occur. Boils and eczema are also frequent. The disease progresses more rapidly in young patients than in older ones and it is thought by some Hygienists that children rarely if ever make a complete recovery.
Recovery—the medical term is “once a diabetic, always a diabetic”—depends upon the amount of functioning tissue left in the pancreas. Fortunately, the pancreas, like all other organs of the body, possesses a great excess of functioning power over that needed for the ordinary activities of life, so that even after part of the Islands of Langerhans have been destroyed the remainder will be able to function sufficiently to meet the regular needs of life, provided the impairing causes are removed and they are given opportunity to return to a state of health.
When organs are not destroyed beyond repair, rest, poise, self-control, and a restricted, proper diet will restore normal functioning. In diabetes, rest and proper food, with diet restricted to the patient’s digestive capacity, and full cooperation will result in dependable health in a few years. Failure is for all those who are not willing to live according to nature’s principles.
All enervating influences and habits must be corrected or removed. Sufficient rest for restoration of nerve energy is imperative. A fast, not merely to give the pancreas a rest, but of sufficient duration to free the body of its load of toxins, must be followed by a diet that is designed to produce all possible regeneration in the pancreatic gland. Feeding that is designed merely to cause the disappearance of sugar from the urine may speedily kill the patient. After health is restored the patient must be taught to live within his compensating capacity.
- Part I – Diabetes Mellitus
- 1. Introduction
- 2. History
- 3. Classification
- 4. Derangement Of Function
- 5. Symptoms
- 6. Medical Diagnosis
- 7. Medical Treatment Of Diabetes Mellitus
- 8. Effects Of Insulin
- 9. Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
- 10. The Diabetic Diet
- 11. Why You Have Diabetes
- 12. How You Can Improve Your Overall Health
- Part II – Diabetes Insipidus
- Part III – Hypoglycemia
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Other Factors
- 3. General Symptoms
- 4. Medical Diagnosis
- 5. Medical Treatment
- 6. Concentrated Sugar
- 7. Conversion Mechanism
- 8. Hormones That Maintain Balance
- 9. Progression Of Hypoglycemia
- 10. The Liver
- 11. Hyperinsulinism
- 12. What To Do If You Have Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia
- Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Diabetes Mellitus By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Diabetes