Patient Profile – Reyn “Back from the Grave”

Recently, a reader wrote in about her husband, Reyn. She writes:

My husband, Reyn was diagnosed with heart failure in January 2015 and admitted to the cardiac high care unit for 12 days at a weight of 177kg.

He was discharged from hospital with an oxygen tank, an ejection fraction of 26, a weight of 172kg, of which about 20kg was ascites fluid.Reyn1

A physician that specializes in diabetes treated my husband for diabetes type 2 for about 15 years. He injected 60U Levemir in 2 divided doses per day, together with Novo-Norm 1mg 3x/day, Glucophage, as well as periodically injecting Victoza, with the promise that he would lose weight. This was not true; every year he gained more weight.

I attended the Low-Carbohydrate High-Fat Health Summit in Cape Town co-hosted by Tim Noakes and Karin Thompson in February 2015. The event featured about 15 internationally acclaimed doctors, scientists, researchers, obesity and diabetes specialists. Dr. Jason Fung delivered a most insightful and brilliant lecture about the novel management of type 2 diabetes with special focus of dietary management.

After the convention I listened to Dr. Fung’s lectures on the Internet and read all his blogs, which are most comprehensive and informative for people with diabetes type 2 and overweight problems.

My husband then made the most unanticipated dietary change a heart patient could make by embarking on a low carbohydrate and high fat ketogenic style diet, eating full fat foods, no fruit, no sugar and no grains. Our diet consists of about 75% fats, 15-20% protein and about 4% of calories from carbohydrates. The first thing I did when I arrived home from the Summit was to throw away all condiments that contained carbohydrates.

We learned more from Dr. Fung’s blogs; the body set weight, lowering insulin levels by fasting, fat as energy source in stead of carbohydrates, not only what you eat but also when you eat, eating fat to lose fat, cutting out all sugars and most important; Insulin is a fat storing hormone. This is the scientific fact, and not a religion; it is not what you believe to be true.

Most of my friends, academics and the medical establishment still believe in a normal diet, normal portions, eating ample carbohydrates, low fat, a low calorie diet and exercise (whatever that may mean), disregarding the science which is very comprehensively explained by Dr. Jason Fung. They demonize the LCHF diet, mainly because of the high fat content and/or the nutritional ketosis effect that is supposedly ‘dangerous’. In a step-by step process my husband stopped taking insulin completely.

The cardiologist and internist that treated him for heart failure ridiculed us because just two months later in April 2015 he did not want new prescriptions for statins and insulin; they told us that Dr. Google was going to make them rich.

While my husband was injecting insulin I had to rush home at noon to make lunch to prevent low blood sugar, in the mean time he was carrying more than 350,000 fat calories, which he could not access because he was a sugar burner. About everything we did in the past in our nutritional lifestyle, eating patterns and medical treatment of obesity and diabetes type 2-increased insulin levels.

The recommendations from our dietician with a doctorate degree in blood sugar management, was to have 3 snacks per day between meals, even saying that if he “could divide his meals in minute by minute intake” it would be the best way to stabilize blood sugar (ok, blood letting was practiced for 2000 years, up to the 1940s). Low calorie low fat diets were the go to diets we were familiar with for the last 40 years, it was the most common advice given to lose weight and to be “healthy”. These diets have hundreds of different names but the plan is usually a hunger diet. It always resulted in gaining more than he lost after a few weeks or months.

I could never understand why my husband who was such a meticulous and very mindful person, successful in most projects he embarked on, could not keep the weight off. I could not understand how he would go without food for lengthy periods during the day but then binge an hour or two after a full low fat high carb dinner. I could also not understand how his food intake could make him weigh more than 160kgs at times, while I would sometimes/mostly eat not very much less than him and maintain a BMI of 20.Reyn2

And did he try his absolute best numerous times to lose weight, at times combining the low calorie low fat diet with the most unbelievable strenuous exercise programs. But, constant hunger does not allow you to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and to lose weight. The outcome would always be the same, lose weight to gain it all back again, and more.

The hope, the effort, stick ability, really trying, with a zero success rate!

After a year of changing his diet he weighs 53kg less, his ejection fraction is 54, his HbA1C 5.9%, from 9,1% in February 2015, his total cholesterol is 5mmol/l, blood pressure 115/72 without blood pressure medicine, he swims for 30 minutes 5x/week. He is not easily irritated and do not have any mood swings. The teeth he has left grew fast, his toenails grew back and he has total neuropathy foot pain relief!

He loses weight while on holiday, during the festive season, over weekends, all the time, sometimes plateauing and sometimes losing the centimeters before your eyes. All without hunger on the most sustainable diet ever.

We do not snack between meals; periodically we do short fasting sessions of 16 hours and well as longer fasting sessions.

We have 2 meals a day which includes all meats with fat, real butter, full-fat cheese, healthy oils, nuts, seeds, up to 20 eggs or more per week, loads of vegetables: covered in different full fat and reduction sauces and herbs and spices from around the world.

The hunger is gone.

We have been lied to for too long!!

Dr. Jason Fung: Indeed, we’ve been lied to long enough. Congratulations of your great results. The saddest part to me is always the fact that patients get better despite of, not because of their doctors. That is extraordinarily tragic.

35 Responses

  1. Congratulations Reyn and family! Such a great testament to Dr. Fung’s work! Excited to hear your progress ?

    • Reyn’s story is such an inspiration! I’m so glad to find this blog. I’ve had type2 DM for 12 years and realize the diet my doctor put me on is totally opposite than LCHF. I went to another Endocrinologist and when I asked him, in desperation, about what I could do nutritionally to get my A1c down from 9.4, he actually whipered to me “do very low carbohydrates and eat full fats” that should do it for you. Come in 6 months and lets do the blood work.”

      I’ve been “wading in” to the LCHF diet combined with the 16/8 fasting and fasting for 3 days every other weekend, for two months and I feel so much better. I’ve not lost weight, but have lost 1.5 inches off my 43″ belly!, I have lots of energy now,(like I’m bounding up the stairs in my house, where 2 months of ago I was shuffling), my complextion has cleared up, and I’ve lost two moles (although I don’t know if that’s connected).

      I’m inspired to keep going! I’m pumped now. THANK YOU REYN AND THANK YOU DOCTOR FUNG!
      I’m telling all my patients too about this LCLF with fasting diet)

      A Nurse in DC (you’d think I’d know better!….I do now)

  2. Amazing work Reyn . congratulations. And thank you Dr. Jason Fung!!!!! You are amazing . Wonderfulllll!!!!!. Tessa Booysen

  3. Julian Fisher

    Good for you! I couldn’t help but think of Peter Finch, saying: “I’m as mad as h*** and I’m not going to take it anymore!” What Reyn did took a lot of courage and resolve. I am sure that this initiative will continue and be a great story of triumph and redemption! You are pushing LCHF and IF ever closer to a tipping point, and suddenly, or apparently suddenly, the world will catch on. Bravo! A great work in progress. Keep going.

  4. Wow, congratulations! I kind of want to punch those cardiologists in the nose.

  5. Congratulations! That is a great story.

    By the way, there is definitely a correlation between heart failure and insulin resistance. Now, I do not know if there are any studies where an improvement in insulin resistance means an improvement in cardiac function, but I don’t doubt that’s true.

    Is your husband on drugs for heart failure?

    Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a version of heart failure called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Basically, my heart was getting larger but they did not know why. I believe it was many factors, including very high stress level and a very high carbohydrate diet. Shortly after that diagnosis, I went on a low carb diet. After about 1.5 years on a low carb diet, I was unhappy with a high fasting blood sugar level on a routine physical and decided I would explore reducing my insulin resistance. I then found Dr. Fung’s website. I started adding IF (intermittent fasting) and more fat to my diet on the days I did eat (still keeping LCHF). Since starting LC and then combining this with LCHF and IF, I’ve experienced the following benefits:

    much better energy;
    loss of about 50 pounds (around 25kg);
    dramatic reduction in PVCs;
    cessation of skin tags;
    cessation/lessening of IBS (although some pro/prebiotics have helped too);
    cessation of overactive bladder;
    improvement in tinnitus;
    cessation of snoring;
    cessation of leg kicks at night;
    reduction in blood pressure from about 120/80 or so to 100/65 (which I think is too low);
    increase in HDL, reduction in triglycerides and HbA1c;
    I could go on and on and on….

    I still exercise 3 days a week (down from 4 — yes, I lost weight while decreasing exercise).

    I am still on drugs (ACE inhibitor and beta blocker) for cardiomyopathy, though. I think that’s one reason my blood pressure is so low.

    Anyway, I personally think that anyone with cardiomyopathy/heart failure should consider insulin resistance to be a risk factor and improvement of IR to be a benefit. How much of a benefit it is, I don’t know, since I’ve also been on drugs since the cardiomyopathy was discovered.

    • I should note, too, that LC definitely helped, but I seemed to get the most and fastest results using IF and LCHF together. For instance, my blood pressure seemingly plummeted on IF (and I have three years of daily blood pressure readings to prove it). While on LC, I was eating 5+ times per day, and I think that limited repair of insulin resistance. But I didn’t realize this until I found Dr. Fung’s website (after all, we’ve been told that more and smaller meals are better than fasting).

    • BobM, how did the IF and LCHF combination affect your blood sugar levels? The other effects are awesome; just curious about the BS too.

      • BobM, I just noticed that you did say decreased A1C, so sorry for missing that the first time through your post. 🙂

  6. Congratulations on your success! We all must thank Dr. Fung for his work! If it hadn’t been for his book and website I would probably still be gaining weight, not losing!

  7. I have always been a very passionate person, and this brings tears [of joy]to my eyes. What pleasure to see a picture of you and your family, smiling , looking good. Here is to many many more years. –Thank God for Drs Like Jason Fung– [now we have a way of sharing our good news fast with others on the internet.] Pass on the good news–how many others can be helped by stories of success like yours, and Dr Fungs work–[along with others who work with him]–what a team. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story, and patient profile…I know in my heart Dr Fungs work/main goal, is to help put an end to the suffering. To go against what so many others were doing and saying, took great courage and wisdom–he is our hero for sure….

  8. Wonderful story. Congratulations!

  9. Barbara Young

    I couldn’t agree more. Low fat high carb multi-snack diet = constant, grinding hunger that eventually overwhelms you. Low carb, high fat diet with a bit of IF = comfortable, hours between meals, reasonable, manageable levels of hunger at mealtimes and feeling of fullness and satisfaction after meals. Plus weight loss too! Only just starting this journey but I feel transformed.

  10. Craig Donovan

    Awesome!! Congratulations and keep up the good work!

  11. I have been reading this blog and Dr Fungs work for a year and am so thankful to have found it.
    For the first time in my adult life I finally feel in control of my health. My Dr kept telling me that fasting will not work. I will let me 25 kg in 4 months weight loss and normalized BSL do the talking. In fact I fired him a week ago – I think I can do better on my own and how tragic that I have to find my own path to wellness and when I do not only do I not get any support but I get ridiculed as “It won’t last – its all water weight”.
    Like Dr Fung says – I will get better despite them not because of them. Why are they so reluctant to give up the low fat – your greedy and slothful mantra? It must be linked to money and big pharma kick backs?

  12. honeycomb

    Fantastic .. simply outstanding.

  13. Wenchypoo

    From one heart patient’s wife to another:

    Your experience is one more dart in the argument of conventional medicine practitioners–they no longer know what being truly healthy is, so it’s up to us to get there, and TEACH them! My husband is almost as bad (subtract your heart problems–Hubby was born with bicuspid valves, and has gained hypertrophy over the years), and weight loss is STILL a battle in spite of being fat-adapted. I cannot get him keto-adapted no matter what I do: Keto O/S, Adapt bars, MCT oil in the food, a homemade combination of all good fats in the food (fats mixed together, poured into a silicone bread pan, frozen, then cut up into butter pat size). To top it off, his body is a gluconeogenesis MACHINE. Sometimes fasting isn’t much help, but we do it anyway. I absolutely CANNOT get him into therapeutic levels–his body just won’t go.

    We’re still fighting the good fight. Weight loss is very slow, but happening–it took a year to lose 30 lbs., and has slowed to losing 1 lb. in three months. I’m lucky if I can feed him fat without causing diahrrea. An APO-E test is forthcoming to find out what his genetic fat tolerance is.

    Keep calm and carry on–there WILL be weight loss. It will take time, and remember: it didn’t come on overnight, so it won’t come off overnight. I myself have no heart problems, and no diabetic family history at all, but it took me a year to lose 40 lbs. Now I weigh what I did in high school, but it’s a daily battle to keep blood sugar under control, in spite of a keto diet with fasting.

  14. Maureen H

    That is a wonderful account of how a person takes his health into his own hands and confounds the “experts”. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I do wonder though how the cardiologist reacted when he saw the results. Did it change his thinking even a little bit?

  15. Donde puedo comprar el libro? Esta traducido al Español? Gracias

  16. Great story. Remarkable recovery with normalization of ejection fraction and weight loss. I’ve had similar success losing weight and getting stronger. As a retired cardiologist, I recognize many elements of the story and how hard it is for health care providers to buck the system. It takes courage to invade new territory – thanks Dr Fung.

  17. BobM, I am a firm believer of “death by medicine”, especially after our experience with insulin. That said I also believe in Hippocrate’s famous quote about food letting be your medicine and medicine be your food. As we have now learnt that health/weight has not so much to do with caloric intake but much more about signalling, I think there is so much information locked up in the foods we eat. Some of his symptoms e.g. bad apnea, totally resolved! since he gave up every molecule of wheat in 2008, but unfortunately he replaced wheat products with sourdough rye bread and rye pasta which was a big mistake regarding insulin, but cutting out wheat was the reason in resolving the apnea. I am of the opinion that wheat is a very toxic food to some people. I can only speculate, but I think cutting out wheat may also be the reason that his angiogram was perfect, no atherosclerosis. The cardiologists (2nd cardiologist we visited) exclaimed that he was absolutely stunned with the outcome of his angiogram. The actual reason for his heart failure has not been established. He was admitted with atrial fibrillation in 2015 and among others medicated with Carvedilol.

    The mentioned cardiologist and the staff in his practice recently changed their diet to LCHF. The staff told my husband that the cardiologist also recommends LCHF to some of his patients for a period of 3 months before testing health markers.

    Reyn uses the following, Eltroxin 0,05 mg/d; Glucophage 1000mg/d which I think will also be used in future.

    In so much words it was said by the cardiologist-Prexum and Cordarone, “use it as an insurance policy”. He added that the other reason for using it is for prophylactic reasons. In which case I agree with Dr Fung, maybe it makes the cardiologist feel good. Maybe we will have to give the cardiologist the go-ahead to experiment with discontinuing with what he believes to be prophylactic, after such a major dietary change he may react differently. Reyn himself discontinued Prexum 3 months ago, his home blood pressure readings stays well below 120/80.

    Reyn is due for a hip replacement operation in April (his knees and other hip is not affected) and when he went to the internist pre-op the internist discontinued Cordarone. An absolutely astonishing thing happened during his visit to this particular internist, after Reyn told him about what happened the past year regarding his health, he told him to carry on and made a note on his records that he was “allergic to penicillin (which he is) and also starch”. In other words, we expect that he will receive a low carb diet in the hospital.

    I mentioned most of the positive results of LCHF and fasting in the case study above, but yes, loads of energy and much less inflammation e.g. no more back pain. The other most notable change after discontinuing insulin is the way he breathes, during rest and activities. We have been married for 40 years and since I have known him even at a quite normal weight he normally breathed heavily, people would even comment on this when they did not know him and asked him whether he was overweight when speaking to him over the phone. Actually we thought that it was a family trait, as his late father (was asthmatic) and one of my 3 sons has the same way of breathing.

    Now he breathes like a teenager, with total ease! This happened soon after discontinuing insulin, fasting and going on a ketogenic style diet, it was long before he lost much weight. This affected son also started fasting and following a LCHF diet in January, last week I noticed that his breathing also changed to normal breathing. Amazing?

    Regarding gastro-intestinal changes, he hardly ever had complaints in the past or experienced noticeable gastro-intestinal changes.

    We now visit doctors at a different hospital and the orthopedic surgeon (said he does not know what the problem is because this is the diet he has been on since birth), internist, anesthetist (lost 17kg on LCHF) and cardiologist are all in favour of lowering insulin.

  18. Thank you, Sandra, for your inspirational and informative post. I just began LCHF five days ago and already i have lost 11 lbs. of water weight, mainly from lower legs and feet. I was diagnosed as diabetic while in the hospital with a heart event in Nov. 2014 and the doctors used insulin in the hospital because they said that was easier to monitor than oral meds while hospitalized. When I was discharged, my primary doctor kept the insulin, added metformin and sent me to a diabetic specialist, who pushed the standard diabetic diet. So many carbs! So few fats! In the intervening time, I have gained 20 lbs., have had terribly swelling in my feet and feel terrible!!

    That is in the past as of five days ago… i can already see my ankle bones again, have better vision and more energy, while eating LCHF with IF (usually 14-16 hrs) daily. As for my BG, down from usual 270s to 230s, after stopping insulin but keeping metformin. No hunger, either. Thank you, Dr. Fung for your wonderful videos!!

  19. Liz. This information/website actually was the “tipping point”! in 2015 in my decision to go as low as possible with carbs. Dr. Fung made me aware of fasting and the absolute significant roll it plays in addressing insulin resistance, he is a world expert on the subject. I realised that fasting was something the native populations would naturally do.

  20. My name is Vicky Carrott. I am 67 years old as of this month of April 2016. I am absolutely blown away with the information that I have recently learned concerning Dr. Fung and his low carb/no carb diet and fasting. I was taking 2-3 pills (500 miligrams) of Metformin and 1 pill of Glipiside (10 miligrams) daily for nearly 7 years. About a month ago, at my annual check up dr. said my A1c was still at 10.5 and blood sugar running 300. Then, he claimed that I had developed a heart murmur and my blood pressure, the day of the visit, was 180/100. He then put me on Losartan, Amlopidine and pravastatin. What started me on this journey into finding Dr. Fung was pravastatin. I had already for years suffered with arthritis, but two weeks after starting pravastatin, the arthritic pain had increased immensely and my left thumb developed “triggering” a popping of the joint and pain. (I am a musician who plays guitar and keyboard so this was very scary when this developed) I then went to the web and found out that pravastatin can cause severe joint pain in some folks, next I thought, I’ll look up side effect of Metformin and Glipiside and was shocked to find that these medications too, can cause joint pain. I stopped taking all of them. I have begun fasting and low/carb intake and already, within a weeks time, feel sooooo much better. I applaud Dr. Fung, and all the folks above for their unconventional journey, with wonderful success stories. I am soooo anxious to see weight loss, (I’m five foot two and 203 pounds) and I must tell you that since I’ve quit my prescribe medication, I have clarity of mind, no anxiousness, my legs feel stronger and my blood pressure has lowered to around 166/74 (I believe this dramatic change, so quickly in my blood pressure, may also be due to drinking two tablespoons of vinegar twice daily, and the fasting!) I am soooo excited for the changes that I’ve already witnessed, and thrilled about my future health. Again, I praise Dr. Fung, and all the brave souls who have stepped out and away, from the conventional methods, that have been keeping us sick!

  21. What does it mean when blood pressure goes UP after fasting? I completed my first (recent) day of fasting yesterday, and checked my BP this morning. It was 166/94! I’ve been checking my BP regularly. My most recent prior measurement was a week ago, and it was 134/82, which has been typical of the past few months (with 25 mg HCTZ daily). A bit of searching landed me on this thread at the 5:3 fast/diet site: Apparently I’m not the only person to experience a rise in blood pressure from fasting.

    My guess is it’s all about cortisol, but I’m uncertain how to proceed. My doctor isn’t much help, since he’s not a fan of the fasting plan to begin with.

    • i’m not sure you should worry about every blip of your blood pressure. you’ve just started a new way of eating and have yet to see much effect. when your weight drops so will your bp. perhaps you will need to do 16;8 or some other intermittent schedule instead of full days. [did you do a full day? you don’t say.] understand the principles being explained here, and then find a way of implementing them in a manner tailored to your schedule, your life’s demands, your own metabolism.

      • Yes, I did a full day. And, as you’ve suggested, I decided the best way to proceed was to go 16:8 most days, and with a 24 once a week: dinner to dinner, so no calendar day is without a meal. That seems to be working, for the time being. When I’ve lost more weight I can reconsider a more aggressive approach.

  22. Ahmad Luqman Alias Firdaus Bin Ab Patah

    Is it insulin resistance is fully repair?

  23. Dr. Fung and Others,

    My husband and I are totally on board with LCHF diet, fasting and exercise. But do any of you think that this supplement (Berberine) could be adverse? We are NOT taking any diabetic drugs because we feel it leads to more medication and adds to the progression of this disease. But… if you read this entire article, maybe it’s a good thing? Thanks for anyone’s input.

  24. Roger Bird

    What is worthy of serious scientific study is how most people keep worshiping at the altar of modern conventional medicine. They rather be right (by worshiping medical authorities) than be healthy (by thinking for themselves).

  25. Your story is so very impressive! Would love to see how you are doing! No doubt great…. but would still love to hear an update!

  26. […] Reyn – Male who has lost 100+ pounds some longer fasting session. […]

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