Hello. My name is Gordon. I am a 13 year old student at Githens Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. I have had type-1 diabetes for nearly 3 years. This means my body cannot make enough insulin which allows glucose in my blood to be used by the cells in my body.
In December of 2016, my daily blood sugar was typically between 300 and 400. One of my friends at school also had type-1 diabetes but his was more in the normal range. After a suggestion from my school's secretary, the father of my friend (I call him Mr. Richard) met with my mother and talked to her about the latest research on environmental causes of diabetes. The next day we started a program of removing different things in my home that have been reported in the medical research to cause or worsen diabetes. I was told that some common chemicals used in many home products are now being found to cause autoimmunity, high glucose and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when people have insulin in their blood but for some reason, it is not able to get glucose into the cells. Mr. Richard also removed things in my home that contain specific chemicals that scientists have found at much higher levels in children with diabetes. Within 4 days of beginning the program, my blood sugar dropped over 150 points on average and within another week, I was having repeated morning lows requiring us to continually reduce my insulin injections. Over the next 5 weeks my blood sugar continued to drop requiring my mother to reduce my nighttime Lantus twice a week on average. My diabetes continued to improve and I experienced a severe low blood sugar at school requiring the nurses to call an ambulance and take me to the emergency room. By the last week in February 2017, I only required 10 units of Lantus each evening (down from 24) and was taking only half the Novalog for carbohydrates than before the program (1 unit per 10 carbs while before I was taking 1 unit per 5 carbs). After a visit to my doctor at Duke University in March 2017, we found that my c-peptide had increased compared to what it was when I first got diabetes. C-peptide is used to measure how much insulin my pancreas is making. When I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in June of 2014, my c-peptide was 0.3 (for healthy people without diabetes it is normally between 0.8 and 3.1). After having diabetes for more than 2 and a half years - and at the end of the 6 week program with Mr. Richard, my c-peptide was 0.4 (meaning it had increased 33%). When looking into what normally happens to children after being diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, we found it is highly unusual to see someone with a higher c-peptide years after diagnosis. In fact, in studies of hundreds of children with type-1 diabetes - in nearly all cases, doctors see their c-peptide getting lower and lower every month with a typical decrease of 0.08 each year. If this pattern would have been true for me, (since I was 0.3 at diagnosis) I should now be around 0.1, but instead, after removing the identified environmental causes of diabetes from my home, my c-peptide is 0.4 - and it appears the things we've done is the reason why it improved.
On February 23rd, 2017, I met with my doctor at Duke University and gave him the results of our 6 week study. After the doctor visit, we stopped avoiding many of the things that we believed improved my diabetes because of the cost and also to see what what would happen if we started doing what I was doing before. Within just a few days, my blood sugar started rising and after 10 days, my blood sugar had risen so much that we had to increase my insulin to nearly the level before I started with Mr. Richard.
We then started what we call Phase 2 in which we are trying to avoid some of the things that seemed to cause my blood sugar to increase before and will begin a Phase 3 in which we will be doing many more things we think will help improve my diabetes further. Since my need for insulin has decreased by 60-70% already (early March), we hope that by the beginning of June 2017, I will have improved so much that I will officially be in the pre-diabetes range and no longer need insulin for meals under 40-50 carbs.
My name (according to my friend Gordon) is Mr. Richard. For those of you not familiar with diabetes, when someone is showing signs of diabetes, they are given a test called
c-peptide which tells us how much insulin the body is producing. While Gordon's c-peptide was 0.3 when he was diagosed with diabetes nearly 3 years ago - his c-peptide today is 0.4 - This is highly unusual since children with type-1 diabetes typically have much lower c-peptide levels after 3 years. Along with this, Gordon has also experienced over a 50% reduction in insulin requirements over our 6 week home intervention. In our second phase of his home intervention (which we began about one month after ending the first), at one point, he reached a 70% reduction in insulin requirements with no increases in blood sugar. In fact, he is now regularly eating 20 carb meals and taking no insulin whatsoever, with only a 20-25 point rise in glucose 30 minutes later (well within the normal range). We believe none of this was coincidence and wish to thank the hundreds of scientists around the world who have been vigorously researching the environmental causes of diabetes in an effort to explain why this disease is increasing so rapidly around the globe. Some of the main interventions we implemented with Gordon were based on findings from scientists at Harvard, Duke, Princeton, Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and dozens of other research facilities around the world. Their efforts have repeatedly identified and confirmed a select group of chemical compounds that have the uncanny ability to increase autoimmunity - cause insulin resistance as well as mimic and disrupt hormones in the human body responsible for controlling normal glucose. Knowing this - the next logical step was to take their findings and implement them into someone's life who has type-1 diabetes and to then monitor changes. In our first 6 week attempt at doing this, we were able to observe what can be described as an unprecedented improvement in Gordon's insulin output and reversal of type-1 diabetes.
LISTEN TO THE SCIENTISTS
REDUCING AUTOIMMUNITY = NET GAIN IN BETA-CELLS
The main chemicals identified as causing autoimmunity and disruption to glucose metabolism include - phthalates (pronounced "thaylates") - bisphenol-A - pesticides in homes - pesticides used on food crops as well as a class of chemicals known as phenols. (There are actually another five or six we'll add to the list but discuss later). For anyone to reduce exposure to these compounds, it requires identifying which consumer products are the biggest offenders. While there are many sources, the primary routes include - air fresheners - skin lotions - nearly all chemical based cosmetics - disinfectants - chlorine bleach - detergents - fabric softeners - hand sanitizers - perfumes - cologne - pestcide products in the home and yard and even canned food. Along with this, simply increasing ventilation helps tremendously in reducing levels of these compounds inside the home.
DIABETES WORSENS IN 240 CHILDREN - GORDON'S IMPROVES
It is important to understand just how unique Gordon's situation is compared to other children. In studies following hundreds of children after diagnosis with type-1 diabetes, their insulin output typically increases for the first few months with many entering into what is called a honeymoon period (or partial-remission). However, after that, insulin output typically decreases each month, so that after 9 months, the majority of children are no longer in their "honeymoon" and producing very little insulin. For example, in a 2014 study in the Journal of Diabetes Research, 242 children with type-1 diabetes were studied for changes in diabetes bio-markers after diagnosis. Blood tests were taken at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. Investigators then looked for changes in glucose and insulin output to see how their conditions progressed. While no children achieved complete remission (where no insulin was needed), 56% of the children did achieve the definition of partial remission or "honeymoon period" - This was defined as having an A1C below 6% and lasted 9.2 months on average. The main finding was that all 242 children showed a steady decline in insulin output over the 12 months - however, Gordon didn't follow the pattern of these 242 children - instead of declining, his average morning glucose dropped by over 150 points and his c-peptide improved by 33%.
CLOSE TO RE-ENTERING HONEYMOON
While Gordon did lose his "honeymoon" status 6 months into diabetes, 2 1/2 years later, he is reversing the decline and showing greatly improved beta-cell insulin output. Again, this is contrary to what happens in nearly all children with type-1 diabetes. As of Februrary 21, 2017 (six weeks after begininng the program), Gordon's need for insulin injections was 60% less than what it was 6 weeks earlier. In other words, while nearly all children show a continued worsening of diabetes with each passing month, Gordon is going in the opposite direction - showing a reduced need for external insulin - all of this substantiated by a 33% improvement in his recent c-peptide test at Duke Univeristy. In fact, Gordon is now very close to the medical definition for re-entering back into his honeymoon phase. The question to be answered now is - Can the same level of reversal of type-1 diabetes also be achieved in other children using the same interventions as was done with Gordon?
WHY DID GORDON'S PANCREAS FUNCTION IMPROVE SO QUICKLY?
It is important to look back and understand why Gordon improved so rapidly after removal of specific environmental circumstances from his home. Since type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, it certainly makes sense that removal of something known to cause autoimmunity could result in less autoimmunity after its removal, and of course, less autoimmunity equals less damage to the pancreas (and other organs). Interestingly, the same chemicals that scientists have linked with autoimmunity also increase free-radical damage to the cells (another cause of pancreas beta-cell damage). While autoimmunity is the hallmark of type-1 diabetes, it is important to note that people with type-2 diabetes have also been found to have abnormally high levels of autoimmunity, but their autoimmunity is directed toward different parts of the body other than the pancreas.
THE CRITICAL FIRST STEP IN AUTOIMMUNITY
Since it is now documented that increased autoimmunity occurs in both type-1 and type-2 diabetes - it is critical to understand the first step that begins the autoimmune process within the human body. Although this will be discussed in more detail later, autoimmunity begins when small chemical molecules bind onto proteins in the blood to form what scientists call a hapten. These newly formed haptens then attach to nearby cells which the immune system identifies as something that should be eliminated. Unfortunately, this new hapten molecule is resting on the outside of a human cell which results in the cell being destroyed as well. What's interesting about haptens is that not all synthetic chemicals today form haptens - but the ones that do, have the potential to lead to severe autoimmunity and destruction of healthy body cells.
From the perspective of trying to reduce autoimmunity in a child with diabetes (or anyone for that matter), it certainly makes sense to avoid chemical compounds in our lives that the scientific community has identified as being able to form haptens, thereby greatly reducing the first step in the autoimmune process. For those with type-1 diabetes, less autoimmunity means less daily destruction of beta-cells.
Since beta-cells have now been found to regenerate daily in humans (and in numbers suspected of being in the thousands and even millions), this reduction in autoimmunity could very well alter the balance - resulting in more beta-cells being added to the pancreas than are being destroyed by autoimmunity. And for those of us with a child with type-1 diabetes, imagine the end result if we could do something at home that would give all children a daily net-gain in beta-cells - rather than a net-loss...
I also wish to thank Gordon's mother "Crystal" for her tremendous cooperation in changing old habits (and often difficult to break habits) regarding changes in consumer products used in household cleaning - pest control - body care and food choices.
Because of the rapid increase of diabetes in the U.S. and around the world - scientists who study this condition agree that genetics alone cannot explain the dramatically increasing numbers - and that something in the environment must be responsible. Through extensive work by scientific communities around the world, approximately one dozen specific chemical types have been identified as increasing the risk of diabetes. This occurs as the identifed compounds slowly damage the body's defenses - increasing autoimmunity and also disrupting critical hormones in the body responsible for maintaining proper glucose levels. The list below reviews the main chemical sources identififed by research centers as showing the ability to damage the body's defenses, cause autoimmunity as well as mimic critical hormones controlling normal blood glucose levels in the body.
|Termite Pesticide Chlordane & PCB's
||The termite pesticide chlordane and building construction chemical PCB (used in caulking, paint & varnishes in older homes) have been strongly linked to diabetes. Although banned decades ago, these chlorinated chemicals are found at much higher levels in homes built before 1990 and even higher in homes built in the 1970's - 60's and earlier. These chemicals increase to higher levels in the body with each passing year.
||Pronounced "thaylates" - the chemical is used to soften plastics - in plastic wrap on food and also as a thickening agent and solvent in plug-in air fresheners - perfumes - colognes - detergents - fabric softeners - and most cosmetics including facial & wrinkle creams - eye liner - lipstick - and skin lotions.
||Used as a liner on the inside of canned foods - hard plastic bottles and dental teeth plastic coverings.
||Exposure comes from couch cushions, mattresses, infant car seats, and carpeting. One of the largest sources may come from high powered desktop computers as the chemical is used extensively in circuit board construction to prevent fires.
|Pesticides in homes & food
||Used in homes for roach, ant and termite control. Another major exposure source comes from residues on food grown using conventional pesticide farming methods. Organic foods typically do not have measurable levels of these chemicals, thereby suggesting the importance of switching to organic food for children with diabetes.
||Used to preserve meat such as ham, bacon, hot dogs and more.
||Monosodium glutamate - used to artificially enhance the flavor of foods such as meats, hot dogs, Chinese Food, fast food chicken and take out restuarants such as Popeye's - Bojangles - etc. Three separate studies have found a strong link between MSG and diabetes.
||Contains the chemical benzene and many others known to cause autoimmunity and increase diabetes risk.
||Formed with using bleach in the home and also in tap water treated with chlorine.
||Found in weed killers and formed when trash is burned in back yard burning.
||Main sources are nail polish and gasoline fumes when filling the gas tank.