Q: My doctor was so concerned about my rising blood sugar that he had me get a meter and start testing my blood every few days. He thought I’d need diabetes medication.
I decided to try apple-cider vinegar before each meal. It brought my blood sugar down so that now it is where it should be when I test it. I take a full tablespoon in water just before I begin eating. Others might like to know about this, as it can’t hurt and might help.
A: The BBC did a cute demonstration of the effects of apple-cider vinegar on blood sugar for its show “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.” They gave a few healthy people two bagels for breakfast and measured their blood sugar afterward. On subsequent days, the volunteers drank apple-cider vinegar in water before eating their bagels and having their blood sugar tested. Blood sugar was 36 percent lower on the day they had taken apple-cider vinegar first.
This was television, not science. Clinical research has shown, however, that vinegar can lower blood sugar after meals, although it works better for healthy individuals than for those with diabetes (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, August 2016).
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We discuss various approaches to blood-sugar control for people with Type 2 diabetes in our book “Quick and Handy Home Remedies” (available at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com). If you are interested in using bitter melon, cinnamon, fenugreek or nopal, as well as vinegar, you may find it helpful.
Q: I’d like your take on a home remedy. During cold season I take cod-liver oil tablets. My mother used to give us liquid cod-liver oil when we were kids, long ago.
These cod-liver oil tablets not only seem to successfully treat colds, but also to prevent them. Has anyone else mentioned this?
A: Cod-liver oil, which is rich in vitamins D and A, has a traditional reputation for reducing upper-respiratory-tract infections during the winter. Many readers have reminisced about their mothers or grandmothers administering spoonfuls of it. Few of them enjoyed the taste.
Children who take cod-liver oil do seem to suffer fewer infections (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, December 2010).
Q: I would like to share a helpful remedy. A few years ago, I would have an acid-reflux attack twice or three times a year. I tried Prilosec a couple of times, but I did not like what I read about the long-term side effects of PPI drugs.
Coincidently, around the same time I stopped taking Prilosec tablets, I started drinking one cup of hot green tea most days for the flavonoids and antioxidant benefits. Little did I know at the time that I had found a way to stop my acid-reflux attacks.
I was talking with someone a couple of years ago who regularly travels to China on business. This person told me there is a belief in Asian cultures that green tea gets rid of fat. I hope this might help someone else suffering from acid reflux and GERD.
A: We appreciate you sharing your experience. Epidemiological studies conflict on whether drinking green tea protects from reflux or acts as a trigger (BMC Gastroenterology, Nov. 15, 2012; Gut and Liver, March 2014; Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, Dec. 9, 2014; Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, March-April 2015; Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health online, Aug. 11, 2016).
Experimenting on yourself, as you have done, and keeping good records would allow other readers to determine their own reactions.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Email them via www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”