By Dr. Kirt Tyson
AFRO Guest Editor
I’m a board-certified naturopathic doctor in family medicine and pain management. When I started my journey of becoming a doctor, my care path was set on my being a cardiothoracic surgeon. I spent years interning at Johns Hopkins Hospital with some of the top cardiovascular surgeons and neurosurgeons. I enjoyed scrubbing into surgery for transplants as well as going to the cath lab where we performed numerous balloon angioplasties for our heart patients.
Early in my training, my life and my outlook on life officially changed when I was diagnosed with what was thought to be Type 2 diabetes, but later confirmed to be Type 1 diabetes. I walked into the emergency room with blood glucose levels of 1200 mg/dl. By medical standards I should have been in a coma. I was not overweight and I had been exercising regularly. When I was diagnosed, the doctors said I would have to take diabetic medications for the rest of my life.
I followed the guidelines set out by my doctors and the American Diabetes Association. Over the months my blood levels still ran around 500 mg/dl. When I met with the doctor it was revealed that I had a c-peptide level of <.5 ng/ml, which meant my body was virtually producing no insulin. I also had antibody testing which showed the autoimmune response resulting in a decline in my pancreas ability to produce insulin. Based on these results, I was no longer classified as a type II, but rather a type I diabetic. I was greatly disappointed because the medicine was not helping me maintain a normal blood glucose level or a normal hemoglobin A1C value of 4-6%. My value was at 11.8% with a value this high my risk for heart disease and other diabetic complications was greatly increased.
Several months later I started taking action to defeat diabetes and began my journey to recovery via a natural organic path. I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in the filming of a documentary called “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 days,” which was filmed in Patagonia, Arizona at the Tree of Life. I was only to eat raw organic vegetables, nuts and seeds. The results were astonishing. Within 30 days I was completely off diabetic medication and my blood glucose levels were normal.
I had been on the raw food diet for three months and it was time to see my primary care physician. When she came into the room she said, “Your blood work came back beautiful,” and she wanted to know how much insulin I was taking. I smiled at her and said “I am not taking any medication.” I watched as her mouth dropped and she replied, “How is this possible, your hemoglobin A1C had dropped to 6.1%.” I explained to her that I had switched to a raw food lifestyle and how it was helping my body to heal naturally. She kept saying how amazing it was that I was not on any medication and that my body was showing signs of healing because my c-peptide level had increased to .7 ng/dl and she had never seen results like mine.
This experience of overcoming my own health challenges with diet, exercise and supplementation inspired me to help people before they needed surgical intervention. I decided to forgo allopathic medical school and attend naturopathic medical school, which has the same science courses, minor surgical training and usage and application of pharmaceutical interventions. The difference is that we were trained extensively in nutrition and supplements. We focused on the biochemistry of the body and how vitamins, minerals, proteins, peptides and amino acids interact to create disease processes and that with certain natural interventions we can change the state of a disease and restore health.
At this stage, the bulk of my practice is to keep my patients healthy and feeling young and energetic. Getting older isn’t bad if you don’t feel like your body is falling apart during the process. I am able to use an array of therapies to support their bodies to be healthy. This can be from diet, supplements, peptides, hormone replacement, hydration, nutrient IV therapies, stem cells, platelet rich plasma, shockwave therapy, minor surgical procedures and so on. I really get to treat the whole person in my practice and I enjoy being a partner on my patients’ journeys to greater health and longevity.
Dr. Kirt Tyson is a board-certified naturopathic doctor in family medicine and pain management.