I've spoken of my own experience of how I got into the field of human nutritional biochemistry many times on my radio show, and I was recently asked to recant it for the PATH newsletter.
I did very well in school the first five years. My friends and I were all grouped together in the top class from first through fifth grade. I started to struggle in the fifth year, and can remember how my teachers talked to my parents about trouble at home or any other problems I could have been having. There were none. By the sixth grade, I was dropped to the second level. By the seventh grade, third level. Then from eighth grade through high school graduation, I was down to the fourth level from the top (there were seven class levels in high school based upon academic performance).
I struggled to get Cs and Bs, and had to read everything two or three times to absorb it. I was accepted into the biology program at the University of Miami and found it very difficult. With a major in biology and minor in chemistry, tons of reading and absorbing became a necessity. I loved the information, but again found it difficult to absorb. Although my eyes read every word on the page, my mind was not absorbing what I read by the time I turned the page. I would have to go back and read it again, sometimes several times, before I remembered it. It was almost as if my record button wasn't working. I transferred to FIU to study marine biology, graduated, then began graduate-level research in comparative protein biochemistry and comparative enzymology.
Early in my master's program, I met Dr. R. Bruce Pacetti, a dentist who was doing the type of nutritional analyses that I now do. I was fascinated with biochemistry and began to look over his shoulder and study his work. I was curious, so had the testing done on myself. (By this time, I was afraid I might have the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and had no idea the nutritional program might help.) When the results came back, he told me that I had a big blood sugar problem (hypoglycemia), that I should stop eating sugar (had been eating tons of sweets) and to eat protein at breakfast and before bed and to take the vitamins he recommended.
I followed his recommendations. Within 6 weeks, it was like I had a brain transplant! All of a sudden, I could think and concentrate, the fog in my brain lifted and I was able to read and understand advanced scientific writing with little effort. The change was so dramatic and made such a difference in my life that I gave up my master's program and went into the field of nutritional biochemistry and applied clinical nutrition, the fields I have been working in for the past 27 years!
My teachers, parents and physicians all failed to recognize that when I had concentration problems early on, I ate lots of foods containing sugar for breakfast, desserts, and many sugar-laden sodas and candy during the day. When I finally eliminated that and began to eat more protein and take the right nutrients, the change was dramatic. I have witnessed the same change in many of the children and adult clients I have been working with over the past years. It's incredibly rewarding when we can help someone discover the simple changes they need to make to get their brain back online. It worked for me, and it has worked for many others!
(The Life Extension book, Disease Prevention and Treatment, comments on hypoglycemia as follows: "A perfectly regulated diet can help control hypoglycemia. Usually a regimen high in protein, unrefined carbs (which are slow to absorb, as whole-grain products and vegetables), and moderate fats are recommended. Heavily sugared foods should be avoided, and foods high in natural sugars restricted. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants should be avoided, because they are capable of precipitating an attack. Small meals taken often during the day are recommended to control the amount of carbs entering the body.")
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