Type II Diabetes Prevention and Reversal
In the United States, diabetes is considered epidemic. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the United States affecting 25.8 million children and adults in the United States. This amounts to 8.3% of the population and each year this number is increasing (ADA, 2013). The disease in its early stages is known as Type II diabetes. This form of the disease is normally controllable through diet and exercise. Eventually the disease begins manifesting itself in its more severe form known as Type I diabetes. This form requires insulin injections and regular blood work examinations. Type II diabetes has traditionally been thought of as a chronic progressive disease, but evidence shows that the disease is avoidable, controllable, and likely reversible.
Type II Diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes, is a disease in which the body becomes incapable of producing or using insulin properly. Insulin is the hormone that functions to help the body produce energy by regulating the metallization of fats and carbohydrates (MNT, 2012). During the digestion process, food is broken down into glucose and insulin signals the blood cells to absorb the glucose (MNT, 2012). In individuals with diabetes, the blood cells ignore the insulin and glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells.
The direct causes of diabetes remain a mystery but medical science understands that there are several factors that increase the likelihood of contracting Type II diabetes. There are four lifestyle factors which increase the likelihood of diabetes. These individuals with the highest risks include: sedentary individuals, individuals eating high fat diets, individuals who consume large amounts of sugar, and people with diets low in dietary fiber (MNT, 2012). One of the largest risk factors is aging. As people age, their risk of becoming diabetic increases substantially. The reason that the longer one lives increases the risk of diabetes is most likely associated with living for long periods with the common risk factors (MNT, 2012).
Although diabetes is a threat for many people, this disease can be prevented by reducing weight and sedentary risk factors. Type II diabetes can be avoided through proper diet and exercise (Mozaffarian et al, 2009). Studies have shown that losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight through dietary changes and exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes by 65% (Mozaffarian et al, 2009). As well, eating a low fat and high fiber diet can significantly lower the chances of contracting diabetes (Mozaffarian et al, 2009).
There are also many secondary risk factors that if reduced can significantly lower the chances of contracting Type II diabetes. The secondary risk factors include: drinking alcohol and smoking. In a study of lifestyle factors individuals who did not smoke and consumed alcohol in moderation exhibited an 82% lower rate of diabetes (Mozaffarian et al, 2009). It has also been determined that if a person who quits smoking for at least 10 years and consumes no more than one drink a day will reduce their risk of contracting diabetes by 80% (WSJ, 2011). Statistically, the prevention of diabetes through lifestyle and diet changes is overwhelming. In a study of 34,539 individuals it was found that:
After adjustment for age, sex, race, educational level, and annual income, each lifestyle factor was independently associated with incident diabetes. Overall, the rate of incident diabetes was 35% lower (relative risk, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.59–0.71) for each 1 additional lifestyle factor in the low-risk group. Participants whose physical activity level and dietary, smoking, and alcohol habits were all in the low-risk group had an 82% lower incidence of diabetes…compared with all other participants. When absence of adiposity (either body mass index <25 or waist circumference < or =88/92 cm for women/men) was added to the other 4 low-risk lifestyle factors, incidence of diabetes was 89% lower… Overall, 9 of 10 new cases of diabetes appeared to be attributable to these 5 lifestyle factors.
The high levels of preventability in diabetes have led some researchers to believe that the disease is less genetic in nature and more environmental. If the disease has increased or decreased prevalence in association with lifestyle and other risk factors then it is plausible that the disease might be reversible by changing these factors. The studies showing the high level of preventability of diabetes are coupled with new research that is redefining the disease.
Once thought of as incurable, new evidence supports the fact that Type II diabetes can be cured. In a clinical trial of a new diet approach at Newcastle University, resulted in the reversal of Type II diabetes (Lim, Hollingsworth, Aribisala, Chen, Mathers & Taylor, 2011). In this study, eleven individuals with long-term Type II diabetes participated in a 600 calorie per day diet for 8 weeks (Lim et al, 2011). The consumption of this very low calorie diet allowed for fat in the pancreas to be dissolved and this restored insulin production (Lim et al, 2011). Almost a year after the study most of the participants were still free of Type II diabetes.
In cases of those who had diabetes return, there were two reasons given for this possible outcome. The first is that the diet may not have been long enough to allow for the body breakdown the organ fat (Lim et al, 2011). The second reason for diabetes returning was that many of the individuals who did reacquire the disease may have slipped back into unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle factors (Lim et al, 2011).
The initial clues that made researchers believe that Type II diabetes could be cured came from observations of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. These patients often showed improvement or complete reversal of diabetes. It was noted that these patients showed improvement in correlation with fat loss which accompanies the bariatric surgery.
We have hypothesised that the profound effect of a sudden negative energy balance on the metabolism could explain the post-bariatric surgery effect and, specifically, that the decrease in the intracellular fatty acid concentrations in the liver would lead to a lower export of lipoprotein triacylglycerol to the pancreas, with the release of beta cells from the chronic inhibitory effects of excess fatty acid exposure (Lim et al, 2011).
Under a Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI), fats in the pancreas were shown to be lodged in the organ creating malfunctions in insulin production and use (Lim et al, 2011). This research shows that diabetes may be an organ failure caused by poor diet and long term unhealthy living. If this is the case, then diabetes has been a misunderstood disease for a long time now. This new understanding of the disease may open new doors for physicians treating patients with the disease and how the disease should be treated by focusing on malfunctions caused by fat buildup in the body.
The traditional belief amongst medical professionals and laypersons has been that Type II diabetes is a progressive disease that is controllable in its early stages through diet. This control is limited due to the ever increasing need for insulin control. Eventually, Type II diabetes will degenerate into Type I and require increased medical supervision. In later stages, the disease must be controlled through insulin injections. This new research into diet and pancreas fats shows that diet may be a much larger factor in not just prevention but also in curing the disease.
This common belief amongst medical professionals and laypersons has been a defining characteristic in the treatment of Type II diabetes. The assumption that the disease is progressive and only controllable in its early stages has channeled research into looking for mechanical causes of the disease rather than failure of organs due to diet. The growing body of evidence suggests that Type II diabetes is directly caused as a result of diet. The research shows that individuals living with Type II diabetes may be able to reverse the condition by using extreme diet methods that allow the body to purge itself of fats lodged in organs. This discovery will impact millions of people who currently suffer from the disease.
ADA. (2013). Diabetes statistics. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes- basics/diabetes-statistics/
Lim, E. L., Hollingsworth, K. G., Aribisala, B. S., Chen, M. J., Mathers, J. C., & Taylor, R. (2011). reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol,. Diabetologia, doi: DOI 10.1007/s00125–011- 2204- 7
Mozaffarian D, Kamineni A, Carnethon M, Djoussé L, Mukamal KJ, Siscovic, D (2009). “Lifestyle risk factors and new-onset diabetes mellitus in older adults: the cardiovascular health study”. Archives of Internal Medicine 169 (8): 798–807.
MNT. (2012, July). What is diabetes? what causes diabetes?. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/diabetes/ WSJ. (2011, December 6). reducing the risk of diabetes.
Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/06/reducing-risk- diabetes/
Vincent Triola. Mon, Feb 01, 2021. Diabetes Prevention & Reversal Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/diabetes-prevention-reversal