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Do Not Take The Deadly Diabetes Drug "Avandia" -- Two Reasons Why

avandia, diabetesHundreds of people taking Avandia, a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month.

Confidential government reports say that about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month if patients switched away from Avandia.

One report, by Dr. David Graham and Dr. Kate Gelperin of the FDA, argued that Avandia should be withdrawn from the market.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

There’s no denying that diabetes is one of the most pressing disease epidemics in the US and across other parts of the world. By some estimates, diabetes has increased more than 700 percent in the last 50 years.

Although nearly 14 percent of men and 12 percent of women over 30 in the United States have diabetes, when you add in pre-diabetics the statistics become truly staggering, as over one in four people in the U.S. are either pre-diabetic or have full-blown diabetes!

These are truly shocking statistics, as type 2 diabetes is a completely avoidable disease and in nearly all cases reversible through proper diet.

Sadder still is the fact that the drug industry has been able to manipulate the medical industry and most consumers into believing their pills are the answer to the problem.

Unfortunately, the conventional treatment for diabetes does far more harm than good, and the case of Avandia killing people prematurely by the thousands is a perfect example of this.

Avandia – Yet Another Deadly Drug Debacle

Avandia hit the market in 1999 and following a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign it quickly became a blockbuster drug. By 2006 its annual revenue was $3.2 billion.

Sales plummeted to $1.2 billion in 2009, two years after a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that linked Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death than patients treated with other methods.

Unfortunately, a committee of independent experts recommended that Avandia remain on the market, despite its risks, and an FDA oversight board voted 8 to 7 to accept the advice.

I wonder just how many of them had ties to the drug industry…

Dr. Graham Steps Up to Protect Your Health Once Again

The last time the FDA voted to keep a deadly drug on the market, ten of the advisors had conflicts of interest but were allowed to vote anyway. As a result, one of the most lethal drugs we’ve ever seen, the NSAID drug Vioxx, was allowed to keep killing thousands of unsuspecting patients.

In testimony before the US Senate, Dr. David Graham estimated that between 88,000 to 139,000 Americans experienced heart attacks as a side effect from Vioxx, and that 30 to 40 percent of them died.

I’ve written rather extensively on Dr. Graham in the past, and I, for one, am thrilled that Dr. Graham is still with the FDA, and working for your benefit. He’s clearly doing a great job and is a true champion for drug safety.

It’s tragic that there aren’t more like him at the FDA. He’s a major hero in my book, consistently sticking his neck out to warn about dangerous drugs, and he’s done it again with Avandia. What really is surprising to me is that he hasn’t been kicked out of the FDA after exposing the Vioxx scandal over five years ago.

Avandia and Actos

Many endocrinologists did stop prescribing Avandia after the damning NEJM study, but hundreds of thousands of diabetics still take it every year.

According to the two-year long Senate investigation that was just released, Avandia causes about 500 more heart attacks and 300 more cases of heart failure than a similar drug called Actos.

However, it’s important to realize that while Avandia is MORE dangerous than Actos, Actos may also damage your heart – just “not as much.”

In reality, the combined harm of these diabetic drugs is likely FAR greater than what this report indicates!

Senate Report Blames GlaxoSmithKline

The 342-page bipartisan Senate report-- overseen by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley(R-Iowa) – sharply criticizes the drug manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), stating it has neglected to warn patients about Avandia’s potentially lethal dangers for several years.

The US FDA is now going to re-examine the drug and is expected to make a decision later this summer about whether or not Avandia should remain on the market. Unfortunately, they too have known about the dangers but ignored the concerns of their own experts, including Dr. Graham.

Warning signs go back several years:

  • GSK completed a study in 2003 in which diabetics given Avandia suffered far more heart problems than those given a placebo.

  • Two months later, the World Health Organization alerted GSK that they’d also found a link between Avandia and heart ailments.

  • In a June 2004 company meeting, GSK’s Global Safety Board advised they needed to review all of Avandia’s clinical trials to check for more indications of heart problems caused by the drug. As a result, GSK completed two reviews of their own data. In both cases they discovered that Avandia increased the risks of serious heart problems by nearly one third, which is very significant since two-thirds of diabetics die of heart problems!

In addition, according to an analysis done by the Institute for Safe Medication Practice, in the third quarter of 2009 Avandia ranked number one among ALL prescribed drugs in the number of serious, disabling and fatal problems!

Truly, if you or someone you know is a diabetic and taking medication for it, you are needlessly exposing yourself to massive health risks. And why? Probably because you’ve been indoctrinated to believe a pill is the answer.

Please understand, you cannot successfully treat the underlying cause of diabetes with drugs!

Most Diabetic Recommendations are DEAD Wrong!

And I do mean dead, literally, as they are prematurely killing millions with their flawed insights into basic human physiology.

It’s sad but true – most conventional recommendations for diabetics are seriously flawed and if you follow them, you will likely experience increased health problems.

Even the Mayo Clinic is guilty of issuing health-harming diabetic advice. For example, along with researchers from North Carolina State University, the Mayo Clinic have developed a computer model intended to determine the best time to begin using statin therapy in diabetes patients to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

If you’ve read my newsletter for any amount of time, you’ll know just how dangerous statin drugs are. No less than 900 studies back this up! And yet conventional treatment for diabetes now includes tacking on yet another potentially deadly drug as early as possible… It is truly insane.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if government agencies and the medical community would do the right thing and STOP catering to the greedy demands of the industries of sugar, grain and pharmaceuticals, and start issuing recommendations that actually promote health rather than deteriorating it further, this modern epidemic would go into rapid decline.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of physicians are still seriously confused about this issue, which is why most doctors cause diabetics to D. I. E.

What You Must Know About Diabetes in Order to Successfully Treat it

First and foremost, you must understand that diabetes is NOT a blood sugar disease like your doctor may have led you to believe.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, both of which are regulated through your diet.

Until that concept becomes well-known in both the medical community and by the public at large, the misconception about what diabetes is and the appropriate way to treat it will continue to be promoted and people will continue dying prematurely.

Conventional treatment, which is focused on fixing the symptom of elevated blood sugar rather than addressing the underlying disease, is doomed to fail in most cases.


Because most treatments for type 2 diabetes utilize drugs that either raise insulin, or lower blood sugar. Avandia, for example, lowers your blood sugar levels by increasing the sensitivity of liver, fat and muscle cells to insulin.

As I will explain below, this in no way addresses your underlying problem, which is metabolic miscommunication.

Let me assure you, the cure for type 2 diabetes has NOTHING to do with giving insulin. Giving someone with type 2 diabetes insulin is one of the WORST things that can be done. Any physician doing this simply does not understand insulin physiology.

Leptin is a Major Key to Successful Treatment of Diabetes

The hormone leptin is largely responsible for the accuracy of insulin signaling and whether you become insulin resistant or not.

Leptin, a relatively recently discovered hormone produced by fat, tells your body and brain how much energy it has, whether it needs more (saying "be hungry"), whether it should get rid of some (and stop being hungry) and importantly what to do with the energy it has (reproduce, upregulate cellular repair, or not).

In fact, the two most important organs that may determine whether you become (type 2, insulin resistant) diabetic or not are your liver and your brain, and it is their ability to listen to leptin that will determine this.

When your blood sugar becomes elevated it is a signal for insulin to be released to direct the extra energy into storage. A small amount is stored as a starch called glycogen in your body, but the majority is stored as your main energy supply -- fat. Thus, in this regard insulin's major role is not to lower sugar, but to take the extra energy and store it for future times of need.

Insulin lowers your blood sugar as a side effect of directing the extra energy into storage.

This is why treatments that concentrate merely on lowering blood sugar for diabetes while raising insulin levels can actually worsen rather than remedy the actual problem of metabolic miscommunication.

Taking insulin is one of the WORST things you can do, as it will actually make your insulin and leptin resistance worse over time. And taking diabetic drugs like Avandia may send you into an early grave from a heart attack or heart failure.

Fortunately, the safest treatment alternatives are also the most successful!

Fructose – One of the Major Culprits for Both Diabetes and Obesity

Before I delve into the other treatment strategies, I want to emphasize the importance of avoiding fructose if you want to successfully address your diabetes, or avoid it in the first place.

It’s important to understand that your body metabolizes fructose differently from glucose (regular table sugar is a disaccharide and 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose), and these differences lead to serious health consequences.

For example, fructose does not stimulate a rise in leptin, so your satiety signals are diminished. It also reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier by raising triglycerides. And whereas glucose suppresses ghrelin (the hunger hormone, which makes you want more food), fructose does not.

Fructose also increases your insulin levels, interfering with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus, so your pleasure signals aren’t extinguished. Your brain senses starvation and prompts you to eat more.

All of this also sets the stage for over indulgence and hence overweight, and puts you on the path toward both obesity and diabetes.

I strongly advise keeping your fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.

However, it would be wise for most people to limit fruit fructose to 15 grams or less as it is virtually guaranteed that you will be getting “hidden” sources of fructose from just about any processed food you eat.

This includes fruits, which also need to be carefully measured to make certain that you’re not inadvertently consuming too much fructose. See the table below to get an idea of how much fructose is in your favorite fruits.

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

Keep in mind that most processed food is loaded with fructose and is best avoided entirely. For instance, there are about 40 grams of HFCS per can of soda.

Clearly, eliminating excess fructose from your diet is FAR safer and MORE effective than taking a drug like Avandia if you have diabetes. However, virtually no doctor will inform you of this, as there aren’t billions of dollars worth of drug

company marketing muscles behind this sort of recommendation.

Most Diabetes Cases Can Be Cured Without Drugs!

Please understand that nearly 100 percent of type 2 diabetics can be successfully treated -- meaning you will no longer have the symptoms of diabetes, or the high risk of developing health complications -- if you are willing to implement a few healthy lifestyle changes.

Diabetes runs in my family. About fifteen years ago, I diagnosed my father with it and gave him these guidelines to follow. He's 81 years old and does two hours of exercise every single morning. Recently he's added strength training. He's been able to keep his diabetes under control without taking a single drug by following these principles.

If you follow the recommendations listed below, your likelihood of successfully going off of drugs and having normal blood sugars is close to 100 percent, as treating type 2 diabetes is simply a matter of implementing some basic strategies to improve your insulin and leptin resistance:

1. Exercise

Exercise is an absolutely essential factor, without which you’re highly unlikely to get this devastating disease under control. It is clearly one of the most potent ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance.

Typically, you’ll need large amounts of exercise, until you get your blood sugar levels under control. You may need up to an hour or two a day. Naturally, you’ll want to gradually work your way up to that amount, based on your current level of fitness.

If you’re unsure of how to get started, I recommend you view this comprehensive exercise program video for tips and guidelines.

2. Eliminate Grains and Sugars

For the last 50 years, many people have been following the nutritional recommendations dictated by conventional health agencies, which advise a high complex carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet. The end result has been a 700 percent increase in diabetes in the same time frame, and many have come to view diabetes as an incurable chronic disease…

This is clearly not true, but the inevitable result of seriously flawed dietary recommendations. Instead, you’ll want to eliminate foods that your body will react to by creating insulin, which includes ALL types of sugars and grains -- even “healthy” grains such as whole, organic grains. This means avoiding all breads, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, and corn (which is in fact a grain). You may even need to avoid fruits until your blood sugar is under control.

3. Eat Right for Your Nutritional Type

Exercising and avoiding grains and sugars might not be enough unless you balance your protein, carb and fat ratios for your unique and specific genetic biochemistry. You can read more about nutritional typing here.

4. Monitor Your Fasting Insulin Level

This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 to 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin receptor sensitivity is.

The recommendations mentioned above are the key steps you need to achieve this reduction.

5. Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

Interestingly, optimizing your vitamin D levels can not only help improve type 2 diabetes if you have it, but can likely eliminate the risk of type 1 diabetes in your children if you are pregnant. It’s also vital for infants to receive the appropriate amounts of vitamin D in their early years for these same reasons.

Ideally, you’ll want to do this by exposing a large amount of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine (or a safe tanning bed) on a regular basis, year-round. Your body can safely create up to 20,000 units of vitamin D a day this way.

However, if neither of these options are available, you may want to use an oral vitamin D3 supplement. But remember, if you choose to take an oral supplement it’s essential that you get your levels tested regularly by a proficient lab to make sure you’re not reaching toxic levels, and are within the therapeutic range. Maintaining your vitamin D levels around 60-80 ng/ml can significantly help control your blood sugar.

These are the top steps you should take, starting today, if you have type 2 diabetes. Doing so will virtually guarantee that your diabetes will disappear. And if you want to make sure you are not one of the millions impacted by the coming diabetes epidemic, these same steps will help you to stay healthy and diabetes-free.