Treatment of Tuberculosis with a Low-Carbohydrate Diet

By Dr. Benjamin P. Sandler and Dr. R. Berke

Summary: Dr. Benjamin Sandler, a former United States naval surgeon, studied for decades two of his era’s most devastating infectious diseases: polio (a viral infection) and tuberculosis (a bacterial one). In both cases he found that a low-carbohydrate diet was the best treatment and prevention for the disease. In this brief, Sandler reports that in ten tuberculosis patients treated with a low-carb diet, “digestive, cardiac, respiratory, nervous and mental symptoms were rapidly relieved and relief was sustained” in each subject. Sandler’s findings have been echoed in recent years in diet trials testing low-carbohydrate diets, in which subjects invariably exhibit improvement in biomarkers such as triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. From American Review of Tuberculosis, 1942.

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Treatment of Tuberculosis with a Low-Carbohydrate Diet[spacer height=”20px”]

“Guinea pigs fed carbohydrate-rich diet and inoculated with TB developed a more severe and virulent form of TB.”

“Continued high-carbohydrate consumption results in a depression of blood sugar levels and ‘may cause susceptibility to infection.'”

“An active form of glucose (gamma-glucose) has long been suspected although not definitely proven. The two forms found in the blood are the reactive gamma-glucose (all glucose from liver glycogen is in this form) and exogenous glucose, or preformed glucose, present in the blood after ingestion of glucose or carbohydrate-rich foods.”

“The exogenous or preformed glucose is poorly oxidized and must either be converted directly into the gamma form or first converted into glycogen and liberated as gamma-glucose. The liver output of gamma-glucose is depressed when there is an influx of exogenous glucose (high [refined] carbohydrate diet or glucose injections).”

“The preference of organism for endogenous over exogenous (preformed) sources of energy is not confined to glucose, but is also true of amino acids.There is no increase in specific dynamic action when alanin and glycin are added to natural protein. This has been explained by the suggestion that “perhaps cells prefer the natural product to the artificially prepared material.”

“Hypoglycemia depends upon two factions—the amount of glycogen stored in the liver and its rate of discharge as glucose, and its rate of discharge depends upon the amount of exogenous glucose ingested, high-carbohydrate diets preventing the discharge.

“Oxygen consumption (energy cycle) is depressed on a high-carbohydrate diet due to the inhibition of the gamma-glucose from liver. Blood levels of reactive gamma-glucose (endogenous) will fall although the overall blood glucose levels may rise.”

“This explains the susceptibility to infection caused by high-carbohydrate diets….”

“Ten patients with advanced pulmonary TB were placed on a low-carbohydrate diet. (Bread, sugar, etc., completely eliminated.) All ten patients improved in strength, some gained weight, general improvement, healing of cavities and clearing of infiltrations. Digestive, cardiac, respiratory, nervous, and mental symptoms were rapidly relieved and relief was sustained.”

By Drs. Benjamin P. Sandler and R. Berke. American Review of Tuberculosis, Vol. 46, No. 3, 1942.


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