Every month in my newsletter Health & Healing, I answer questions from patients, subscribers, and the social media realm in a feature called “Dear Dr. Whitaker.” We cover a variety of health topics from A to Z, ranging from serious diseases to diet and supplement concerns to minor but bothersome ailments—whatever people are interested in.
Over the years, “Dear Dr. Whitaker” has developed into a treasure trove of information, which I will share periodically in this blog. If you have a health question of your own, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it on my Facebook page. I can’t respond to them all personally, but I will do my best to answer your inquiries in future blogs.
Q: You often write about high blood sugar, but what do you recommend for hypoglycemia?
— Kathy M., via email
A: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is often “reactive,” meaning it occurs in response to eating high-glycemic carbohydrate foods. These foods cause a rapid elevation in blood sugar, usually followed by a precipitous fall a couple of hours later. That’s when you feel shaky, nervous, and ravenously hungry.
So I suggest you avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and load. They include sweets, potatoes, bread, pasta, and most everything made with sugar or refined grains. Instead, eat more fiber-rich vegetables and beans and include some protein with every meal. Hypoglycemia that is unrelated to food may be caused by medications or illness such as diabetes, so if you consistently notice symptoms of low blood sugar, ask your doctor to rule out other medical issues.
Q: How do you heal a really bad bedsore?
— Facebook inquiry
A: The best way to heal any open wound, from bedsores to diabetic ulcers, is sugar. When sugar—or honey—is packed in a wound, it creates a highly concentrated medium where bacteria cannot survive. It also reduces swelling, encourages the removal of dead tissue, and promotes the formation of connective tissue and new blood vessels. The net result is rapid wound healing with minimal scarring. To use a sugar dressing, create a raised barrier around the edge of the wound with a strip of gauze penetrated with petroleum jelly. Add a ¼ inch-thick layer of sugar, and then cover with a dry bandage. Rinse the wound and change the dressing every two to four days.
I also suggest taking a potent multivitamin supplement, extra zinc (up to 75 mg per day), and the amino acid arginine (2 g three times a day on an empty stomach). Finally, try hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for wound healing. Concentrated oxygen creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, preventing the spread of infection and speeding recovery. To find an HBOT facility in your area, visit hyperbariclink.com. For wound healing treatment at Whitaker Wellness, call 866-944-8253.
Q: What do you know or think of hCG treatments for weight loss? Thanks for any information you can provide.
— R.F., via email
A: Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, is a popular weight loss aid for both men and women. Administered via injections or sublingual drops, it is accompanied by a very restrictive diet (500–800 calories per day, no fat, no sugar, ultra-low carbohydrate), which can be a real challenge for some people. That said, proponents—including thousands of successful dieters—claim hCG helps reduce hunger pangs, mobilizes stubborn fatty deposits, and prevents the breakdown of muscle for energy. So ultimately my opinion is this: The hCG diet works well and is a good fit for some, but not for others. If you want to try it, find an experienced physician to administer the treatment and monitor your health and progress.
Q: What do you think about coconut water? I see it everywhere lately with all kinds of health claims.
— Anonymous, via email
A: Coconut water is the slightly sweet juice from young, green coconuts (not to be confused with coconut milk, which is a blend of mature coconut meat and water). If you believe the hype, coconut water can boost your immune system, rev up your metabolism, and help stave off heart disease. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to support those claims. Though research suggests that coconut oil offers some benefits, coconut water contains none of the medium-chain triglycerides responsible for the oil’s healthy properties.
On the other hand, coconut water has a lot going for it. It is fat-free, low in sugar, and full of potassium and electrolytes, making it a good natural alternative to sports drinks. Some brands of coconut water pack an impressive 470 mg of potassium per eight-ounce serving, and for this reason, it’s a good drink choice for people battling hypertension or just aiming to get more potassium in their diets. The only hazard of coconut water is the price—11 ounces can run you upward of $2.00. One more issue is the taste. Some people find it refreshing; others find it unpleasant.
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