You may want to think twice before eating your next sandwich on white bread. Studies show that alloxan, the chemical that makes white flour look "clean" and "beautiful," destroys the beta cells of the pancreas. That's right; you may be devastating your pancreas and putting yourself at risk for diabetes, all for the sake of eating "beautiful" flour. Is it worth it?
Scientists have known of the alloxan-diabetes connection for years; in fact, researchers who are studying diabetes commonly use the chemical to induce the disorder in lab animals. In the research sense, giving alloxan to an animal is similar to injecting that animal with a deadly virus, as both alloxan and the virus are being used specifically to cause illness. Every day, consumers ingest foods made with alloxan-contaminated flour. Would they just as willingly consume foods tainted with a deadly virus? Unless they had a death wish, they probably would not. Unfortunately, most consumers are unaware of alloxan and its potentially fatal link to diabetes because these facts are not well publicized by the food industry.
How does alloxan cause diabetes? According to Dr. Hari Sharma's Freedom from Disease, the uric acid derivative initiates free radical damage to DNA in the beta cells of the pancreas, causing the cells to malfunction and die. When these beta cells fail to operate normally, they no longer produce enough insulin, or in other words, they cause one variety of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. Alloxan's harmful effects on the pancreas are so severe that the Textbook of Natural Medicine calls the chemical "a potent beta-cell toxin." However, even though the toxic effect of alloxan is common scientific knowledge in the research community, the FDA still allows companies to use it when processing foods we ingest.
The FDA and the white flour industry could counter-argue that, if alloxan were to cause diabetes, a higher proportion of Americans would be diabetic. After all, more consumers consume white flour on a regular basis than are actually diabetic. This point is valid, but it does not disprove the alloxan-diabetes connection. While alloxan is one cause of adult-onset type 2 diabetes, it is of course not the only cause. As the Textbook of Natural Medicine states, "current theory suggests an hereditary beta-cell predisposition to injury coupled with some defect in tissue regeneration capacity" may be a key cause. For alloxan to cause injury to an individual's beta cells, the individual must have the genetic susceptibility to injury. This is similar to the connection between high-cholesterol foods and heart disease. Eating high-cholesterol foods causes heart disease, especially in people who have family histories of heart disease. The link between alloxan and diabetes is as clear and solid as the link between cholesterol and heart disease.
If you've been eating white bread for years and you have a family history of diabetes, all hope is not lost for you. Studies show that you can reverse the effects of alloxan by supplementing your diet with vitamin E. According to Dr. Gary Null's Clinicians Handbook of Natural Healing, vitamin E effectively protected lab rats from the harmful effects of administered alloxan. Now, you're not a lab rat, but you're a mammal and vitamin E is definitely worth adding to your daily regimen of nutritional supplements, especially if you have a history of eating foods made with white flour and are at high risk for diabetes.
Even if you are already diabetic, some simple changes to your diet can help treat your diabetes. First of all, stop eating foods made with white flour. Even though you already have diabetes, vitamin E supplements can still help you, as can many common foods. Garlic, for example, does wonders for diabetes. As Dr. Benjamin Lau states in his book Garlic for Health, "When fed garlic, the rabbits' elevated blood sugar dropped almost as much as it did when they were given the antidiabetic drug tolbutamide. Researchers postulated that garlic may improve the insulin effect."
If you can't handle the taste of natural garlic, you can take it in widely available supplements. Aloe vera is a traditional diabetic remedy in the Arabian Peninsula, and its therapeutic characteristics are now gaining worldwide acceptance in the treatment of diabetes. According to both human and animal research studies, aloe vera lowers blood glucose levels by an unknown mechanism. According to the Clinicians Handbook of Natural Healing, this natural hypoglycemic effect extended over a period of 24 hours. Adding onions to your diet (along with the garlic) can also significantly reduce your blood sugar level. Additionally, as Dr. Michael T. Murray writes in The Healing Power of Herbs, studies show that ginseng controls glucose in both diabetic humans and diabetic laboratory animals.
It all comes down to asking if putting yourself at risk for diabetic coma, blindness, limb amputation and death is worth eating white bread. If you're willing to risk your quality of life and your life itself, then go ahead and eat all the foods made with white flour you want. However, if you want to stop poisoning yourself with alloxan, a known toxic chemical, then make a few simple dietary changes. Eat groceries made with whole-grain wheat flour, not processed white flour.
The experts speak on alloxan
Animal experiments have shown that animals which have their Beta cells destroyed by alloxan are able to regenerate Beta cells after a few months when taking GS, a herb grown in India. The Beta cell is the cell that produces insulin. Diabetics needing insulin treatment (Type 1) have been able to decrease their insulin after GS therapy.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 112
In the mid-1980s, however (when herbal remedies again were popular), pata de vaca's continued use as a natural insulin substitute was reiterated in two Brazilian studies. Both studies reported in vivo hypoglycemic actions in various animal and human models. Chilean research in 1999 reported the actions of pata de vaca in diabetic rats. Their study determined that pata de vaca was found to "elicit remarkable hypoglycemic effects," and brought about a "decrease of glycemia in alloxan diabetic rats by 39%." In 2002, two in vivo studies on the blood sugar-lowering effects of pata de vaca were conducted by two separate research groups in Brazil. The first study reported "a significant blood glucose-lowering effect in normal and diabetic rats."…
The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, page 382
When beta cells in the pancreas fail to secrete enough insulin, the body loses its ability to metabolize carbohydrates and to reduce glucose levels in the bloodstream. Researchers believe that some people have weak free radical defenses in these beta cells, and that free radical damage to DNA in beta cells, resulting in dysfunction or cell death, helps cause maturity-onset diabetes. It is known, for example, that many chemicals—including alloxan, paraquat, and certain chemotherapeutic agents—can stimulate excessive production of oxy radicals in the nuclei of beta cells.
Freedom From Disease by Hari Sharma MD, page 94
...nearly two decades later, researchers at RNT Medical College in India induced diabetes in rabbits with intravenous injections of alloxan. When fed garlic, the rabbits' elevated blood sugar dropped almost as much as it did when they were given the antidiabetic drug tolbutamide. Researchers postulated that garlic may improve the insulin effect by either increasing the pancreatic secretion of insulin or by releasing bound insulin.
Garlic for Health by Benjamin Lau MD PhD, page 22
Commercial yeasted breads, even the whole-grain varieties, often have other problems. They typically contain flour bleach, which forms alloxan, a compound known to cause diabetes in animals by destroying the beta cells of the pancreas (Clinical Nutrition Newsletter, Dec. 1982). …
Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, page 452
Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is generally recognized to be due to an insulin deficiency.1 Although the exact cause is unknown, current theory suggests an hereditary beta-cell predisposition to injury coupled with some defect in tissue regeneration capacity. Causes of injury are most likely hydroxyl and other free radicals, viral infection, and autoimmune reactions. alloxan, the uric acid derivative used to induce experimental diabetes in animals, is a potent beta-cell toxin, causing destruction via hydroxyl radical formation.
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 1197
In this study, mice received intraperitoneally melatonin in doses ranging from 100 to 450 mg/kg. Results showed that such treatment proved plasma glucose increase due to alloxan-induced pancreatic toxicity.
The Clinicians Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 88
Bleached white flour. Not only have the bran and germ been stripped away, but bleached flour also contains a substance from the flour bleach (alloxan) which causes diabetes in animals. Unbleached white flour should also be avoided since it is stripped of essential nutrients.
The Enzyme Cure by Lita Lee with Lisa Turner & Burton Goldberg, page 123
When fed garlic, the rabbits' elevated blood sugar dropped almost as much as it did when they were given the antidiabetic drug tolbutamide. Researchers postulated that garlic may improve the insulin effect by either increasing the pancreatic secretion of insulin or by releasing bound insulin.
Garlic for Health by Benjamin Lau MD PhD, page 22
Aloe vera also exhibits a hypoglycemic effect in both normal and alloxan-induced diabetic mice. A small human study shows benefit in diabetics. Five patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes ingested half a teaspoonful of aloe 4 times daily for 14 weeks. Fasting blood sugar in every patient fell from a mean of 273 to 151 mg/dl with no change in body weight. The authors concluded that aloe lowers blood glucose levels by an unknown mechanism….
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 587
Results of this study showed that rats given vitamin E before being administered either streptozotocin or alloxan provided protection against the diabetogenic effects of each. It was also observed that rats with a depleted antioxidant state due to a vitamin E and selenium-deficient diet showed increased diabetogenic susceptibility to normally nondiabetogenic doses of streptozotocin.
The Clinicians Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 312
Noting that the dried sap of the aloe plant to be a traditional diabetic remedy in the Arabian peninusla, this study examined its ability to reduce blood glucose levels in 5 non-insulin-dependent diabetics and in Swiss albino mice made diabetic with alloxan. Results showed that the intake of 1/2 teaspoon of aloes daily for 4-14 weeks signficantly reduced the fasting serum glucose level fell in all patients. Fasting plasma glucose was significantly reduced in diabetic mice by glibenclamide and aloes after 3 days.
The Clinicians Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 369
This study examined the effects of exudate of Aloe barbadensis leaves (oral administration of 500 mg/kg) and its bitter principle (ip administration of 5 mg/kg) on plasma glucose levels of alloxan-diabetic mice. Results showed that the hypoglycemic effect of a single oral dose of aloes on serum glucose level was insignificant in while that of the bitter principle was highly significant and extended over a period of 24 hours.
The Clinicians Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 369
Ginseng exerts numerous pharmacological effects in humans and laboratory animals, including … improved glucose control in humans and diabetic (alloxan-induced) rats; ….
The Healing Power of Herbs by Michael T Murray ND, page 269