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The Gila Monster

As I’ve battled with insulin resistance and the side effects experienced while taking the diabetic drug, Metformin, I’ve become increasingly interested in the other glucose lowering agents on the market (outside the ones I’m most familiar with in my clinic — Metformin, glyburide, glipizide, Actos, novolog, and Levemir). One drug in particular, Byetta, has piqued my interest.


Byetta helps the pancreas produce insulin more efficiently in type 2 diabetics. Byetta’s major drawback for consumers is the fact that it is an injectable. Most interestingly, Byetta is derived from the saliva of the gila monster. This poisonous lizard is native to desert regions of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Mexico. Byetta is FDA-approved and becomingly an increasingly popular glucose control agent in diabetics, for those willing to go the injectable route.

I find this amazing…anyone else? If an endocrinologist recommended I go on Byetta, I would do so. I’ve over-come the fear of giving myself an injection, so why not?

Question: Do you know of any “alternative” medicine treatments, drugs, or cures (i.e. cinnamon for blood sugar control or ginger for nausea)??

Heading back to Tulsa tonight! Busy, busy, busy!!

Amazed by science,

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  1. June 13, 2010 / 7:15 am

    That’s so strange! I wonder who first thought to use gila monster saliva as a medicine. o.O

    I was only sure of the ginger one. ๐Ÿ˜› However, asafoetida helps flatulence. ๐Ÿ˜

  2. June 13, 2010 / 7:48 am

    It’s amazing where they come up with their cures sometimes! Just recently I was told these ginger candies I came across were good for HEAT. If you were cold they would help heat you up. Sounds like whta I need for winter running ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. June 13, 2010 / 7:56 am

    I have done quite a bit of study on this. Cinnamon seems to have the most potential in my book, but it needs to be capsules from what I can tell. Also, coffee has been shown in a number of studies to reduce the likelihood of diabetes. It seems like tea may also do that.

  4. June 13, 2010 / 8:13 am

    I use cinnamon and I also use vinegar for:

    Stop insect stings and bites from itching
    Soothe sunburn with a spray of white distilled vinegar
    For cuts and scrapes
    Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth

  5. June 13, 2010 / 8:15 am

    Do you mind if I ask what side effects you’ve had because of Metformin? I apologize in advance if you’ve already said something about it and I missed it. Also, if you’re not comfortable answering that – b/c that’s kind of a personal question – no worries!!!!

    • Nicole
      June 13, 2010 / 8:20 am

      No, no problem! I get a lot of abdominal cramping that feels similar to a menstrual cramp. They’re intermittent, but when they hit…wowza. I cannot take Metformin on an empty stomach or even after a smallish meal…it HAS to be with food (after 1/2 bowl of oatmeal last week and taking my Metformin, I had to pull off the road 3x on my way to work thinking I was going to throw up…not a fun way to start the day!). If I take it within 2 hours of drinking alcohol, before or after, I get a migraine…some of the worst migraines I’ve ever had. And if I run long distances, I get muscle cramping – I talked about that some in my 1/2 marathon post. It was bad ๐Ÿ™ It’s hard to remember to take it, too, because I mainly eat breakfast at work, while I’m busy, and if I eat dinner out anywhere other than home, I have to remember my pill. More of a convenience factor, but there’s NO fudge room on the timing. Most people say they experience diarrhea and gas, but I haven’t noticed those side effects, personally.

  6. June 13, 2010 / 8:28 am

    Wow. Who would think to try using gila monster saliva as medication? So interesting.

  7. June 13, 2010 / 9:01 am

    I have no problem with alternative treatments, but I get a little uncomfortable with ones that come from animals because they are often produced in very cruel environments. Did you know that Permarin ( the hormone replacement drug ) is manufactured from the urine of pregnant horses ? Insulin comes from pigs ? Plant alternatives, if possible, are cruelty free. One other plant remedy for blood sugar is fenugreek- it is pretty widely used in oriental medicine to bring blood sugar into acceptable levels. It works better than cinnamon

  8. June 13, 2010 / 9:04 am

    This is going to sound strange. My family started using Maca and I know it has a laundry list of things that it works for but the strangest thing is it has made “ringing” in my aunts ear completely disappear. She has dealt with this ringing for years, she even has to sleep with a sound machine becuase the ringing keeps her awake. She figured out it was the Maca because when she took it dayley for a couple of weeks it stopped. She then ran out of it and needed to order more. During the time she did not take it the ringing came back and once she went back on it the ringing was gone. We thought it was pretty cool!

  9. June 13, 2010 / 9:41 am

    Read further on the effects of Byetta before considering it. I took it for six months and stayed ill. It can cause severe nausea and vomitting. However, it does aid weight loss. I wear an insulin pump for the treatment of diabetes. So, I’ve traveled the road trying different diabetes medications. Good luck with the PCOS I know the challenges you face.

  10. June 13, 2010 / 12:56 pm

    My grandmother swore by garlic tea for colds and I do like ginger for nausea and colds.

    Who would think that the saliva from a Gila monster would be useful? Cool.

  11. June 13, 2010 / 3:18 pm

    I’ve heard of garlic extract, cinnamon, curcumin (turmeric), fenugreek, cumin, and cocoa to help lower blood sugar rate and to prevent diabetes complications. I wrote an article about it at Livestrong.com that gives more details (http://www.livestrong.com/article/89083-foods-diabetics-can-eat-good/)

    I’ve tried ginger lollypops when I was pregnant and they didn’t help much… I wish there was a cure for nausea

  12. June 13, 2010 / 4:19 pm

    Here are the ones I learned about in my supplement class:

    Blond psyllium (for postpradndial glucose): I guess this is a fiber of some sort?

    Guar Gum (fiber, you know this…)

    Oat Bran (again, fiber)

    Ginseng (Used to decrease fasting glucose! Also has an effect on appetite and energy. Seriously, my mom bought a bottle of this stuff and I took 3 of them from her. They work, it’s weird)

  13. June 13, 2010 / 4:20 pm

    Shoot, a couple more:

    Prickly Pear Cactus

    I hope Mark enjoyed his time with his new boss!

  14. June 13, 2010 / 5:17 pm

    You’re right, this is really interesting! I wonder how it was discovered…

    Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. June 13, 2010 / 5:25 pm

    That is so crazy. I always wonder how they figure these things out. I mean really, who thought, lets take spit from this creature and see what it does?

  16. June 14, 2010 / 5:13 am

    Byetta is pretty good and I have seen some major success in some of my patients that were on this. I did have one patient who had a lot of nausea, but I think the real problem was the gastroparesis from the diabetes.

  17. June 14, 2010 / 2:10 pm

    That’s very interesting. Have you asked your DR about it? I would totally try something a bit more natural like that!

  18. June 14, 2010 / 4:14 pm

    It’s always so interesting how they come up with and derive drugs from different animals. I think if I had a condition where I needed to use injections I definitely would suck it up and do it, but the thought of it still gives me quivers!

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