Letters to the Editor

May 1, 2000

Feeling My Feet

I can feel my feet again! It's hard to believe but there they are, feeling the changes in temperature between tile and carpet, sensing different textures, feeling warm to my touch. I am warm clear up to my knees, where just a few weeks ago, they felt dead and cold. My miracle is a bottle of alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Six hundred milligrams every day.

I had tried this drug before but it hurt my stomach and after two expensive bottles, I could see no change at all, so I put it out of my mind till I read your article in DIABETES HEALTH a few months ago. Oh well, it's only money, I thought, I'll try the drug again.

This foot problem started about 10 years ago with a slight tingling in both feet. None of my doctors then had a clue as to what caused it. My medical doctor at the time ran some blood tests and when he saw my fasting BG was 167, he told me that I was "borderline diabetic", not to worry. Yeah-right!! Scott said I should demand a Glucose Tolerance Test. After drinking that goopy sugary syrup, I nearly passed out. I don't know what my BG was, but when the report came back, I was diagnosed with diabetes after all. Meanwhile, my feet got more tingly and finally, I realized that walking barefoot on a tile floor felt like I was walking on a wrinkled rug. Exactly the feeling I had yesterday. Today, I have already passed that stage and now my feet seem to have full feeling.

In the world of Drugs Your Doctor Doesn't Prescribe, there can be a large difference in purity and stated dose as well as price. Is it possible that my last trial was done with impure ALA of a dose too low to make a difference? How can a mere lay person determine whether a natural herb or drug is real and is of a potency that will matter?

Back in the early 70s I was teaching high school and got to know some of the problems the kids had with street drugs. If they were worried about the latest batch of hallucinogens or amphetamines, there was a laboratory that would give them straight answers. They could send a pill to this lab-PharmChem, I think it was called-and get a report on the chemical and the weight fairly quickly, all done under an assumed name, of course.

I wish there was something like that today for things like alpha lipoic acid, Gymnema Sylvestre, CoEnzyme Q10, etc.

Assuming that the returning blood flow will halt the neuropathy, can I assume that the pain also will stop? My next problem is how to safely come off Neurontin, an epilepsy drug my doctor did prescribe, to ease the intense pain of neuropathy. At the same time, it dulled my mind to the point where I can't remember doing a single creative thing since I started taking it a year ago. There is a yellow strip on the bottle that says: "It is very important that you take this drug exactly as directed. Do not skip doses or discontinue unless directed by your doctor." There is also a green strip that says: "May cause drowsiness or dizziness."

There is a lot about this past year I can't remember. I sure do hope this ALA will keep my feet warm so I can get my mind back.

Marge King
Walnut Creek, California

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May 1, 2000

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