Lizard Diet for Diabetes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Ivanhoe Newswire) The first thing you might notice about Tilly Dewey is her clothes are too big.

"But I noticed that my pants started to turn and I had to pull them up and turn the waistband down to make them fit," Dewey says.

What you won't see so easily is Dewey's long battle with type 2 diabetes.

"I'm suffering the effects of uncontrolled blood sugar and I'm working the hardest I can to get it under control. I don't want to go blind," Dewey says.

As an elementary school librarian, Dewey needs all the energy she can muster. And now, after years of struggling with diabetes, her blood sugar is finally under control. And that's not all.

"I've lost over 24 pounds, and boy was I surprised," Dewey says.

She had tried every kind of diet, so she was amazed to see she those 24 pounds drop off in just three months. The weight loss started after she started taking Byetta, a drug intended to treat type 2 diabetes. The weight loss was just an unexpected side effect. A study showed patients can lose two to three percent of their body weight in the first several months.

"There's a central effect in the brain that tells patients that they don't need to eat as much or as frequently," says Robert Ferraro, M.D., an endocrinologist at Southwest Endocrinology in Albuquerque, N.M.

And if that doesn't get your attention, maybe this will: the drug is a synthetic hormone called Exenatide, found naturally in the mouths of giant lizards.

"Later, when they went to find out where this hormone was actually working physiologically, they found that it was in the saliva of Gila monsters," Dr. Ferraro says.

Byetta is injected twice daily. That may scare off some people, but the needle is tiny and the rewards, according to patients, can be huge.

Byetta is not intended for weight loss in people who do not have type 2 diabetes. And it comes with its own set of side effects like nausea and reflux. Also, not everyone who takes the drug experiences weight loss.

Byetta information

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