BY JAMIE DIROM - PEACE RIVER BLOCK NEWS (June 19, 1998)
A local woman using an alternative to traditional diabetes treatments says she's seen impressive results since she started using it.
Sadie Lukan started using ELEOTIN®, a herbal treatment for type two diabetes, about three weeks ago. Since then, her general health has improved, and her blood sugar level has dropped. Local businessman, Soo Cho, who distributes ELEOTIN® in Dawson Creek, and he says he's thrilled with Lukan's progress.
"I take my glucose tests four times a day," Lukan says. "I'm really pleased."
"The first time I saw a 4.5 (blood sugar level), I called him up and said 'I feel like flying! It's working!'" While she says it's worth it, the treatment isn't inexpensive, and it's also not the easiest to use. Unlike conventional medicines, it comes in a powdered form, which can be prepared as a tea or eaten.
"It's pretty gritty," Lukan says, "It doesn't dissolve very well. I'm getting used to it now. The first week was pretty rough." Lukan says she might not have continued the treatment if she hadn't started seeing results. "I'm a person with very little patience," she says. "For me, it's working, and I'm really pleased with results," Lukan says. " But when my sugars go up, I don't feel nauseated lightheaded or dizzy now - before I did."
It cost approximately $430 for a month's supply of ELEOTIN®. For people suffering from less severe cases of diabetes, that cost may be considerably less - as low as $230, Cho says.
But for Lukan, it's worth it. "You're not going to enjoy your $400 if you're laying in bed sick," she says.
Cho's wife introduced him to ELEOTIN®, at a time wen he says he didn't know very much about diabetes. Since then, he's learned about diabetes and he wants people who suffer from the disease to have an alternative - the profit motive is secondary, he says.
"This is a herbal food that works better than chemical medicine," Cho says. It's not entirely certain why ELEOTIN® works, or why it takes some people longer to see positive results from the treatment. Diabetics who start treatment with ELEOTIN® are recommended to continue taking their conventional medication until they start seeing results, which can take as long as three months for someone with a mild case or even longer for someone with a more serious case of the disease.
Denise Thomson, services coordinator for the Canadian Diabetes Association in Edmonton, says the association steers clear of herbal remedies for diabetics. " So much of it is sort of faddish," Thomson says. "It sort of takes off and it never really gets checked out."
Anita Hyde-Williams, a pharmacist at the Wetaskiwin Health Centre agrees, and says people should exercise caution whenever taking a herbal treatment. "They're not free of side effects," she says, "They can interact with prescription medications."
"Some of the most potent drugs have come from herbs," Hyde Williams says.
Dr. Youngsoo Kim, CEO of Eastwood Biomedical Research, the company responsible for ELEOTIN®, makes no bones about it- the company doesn't know everything about ELEOTIN®. "There are certain things we still don't know," Kims says. "We don't claim to understand fully. "But what we know is still remarkable." Currently there are no know side effects to ELEOTIN®, Kims says, except for what he calls "positive side effects." The general health of ELEOTIN® users improves, Kim says, but the most frequent testimony he hears is one that might make producers of Viagra little uneasy.
"The most frequent heard testimony is their sexual virility (improves)," Kim says, laughing. "We didn't intend that!"