The idea that type 2 diabetes is reversible is a cause of disagreement among scientists, but a new study that was successfully able to reverse the condition in rats is giving hope to those who believe the disease can be beaten.
The global burden of type 2 diabetes has nearly quadrupled over the past 35 years. In 1980, there were around 108 million people with the disease, and by 2014, that number had risen to 422 million.
The vast majority of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which is a disease that results when the body becomes less effective at using insulin to help cells to convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy. Excess body weight is a main cause of this type of diabetes.
Researchers at Yale’s School of Medicine discovered that by restricting the calorie intake of rats in the study, they were able to reverse the signs of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers restricted the calories in the diets of rats that showed the equivalent of all the type 2 diabetes hallmarks in humans, which are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hyperglycaemia, obesity and hyperinsulinemia.
The rats were placed on restricted diets – which contained a quarter of their normal calorie intake – for three days, after which their plasma glucose levels were significantly lower.
The researchers found three mechanisms by which the very low calorie diet drastically lowered blood sugar concentrations in the rodents.
- The diet decreased the rate at which lactate and amino acids were turned into glucose.
- It decreased the rate at which hepatic glycogen was turned into glucose.
- It decreased the liver’s fat content, which, in turn, made the liver more sensitive to insulin.
While the latest research reports that type 2 diabetes can be reversed irrespective of weight loss, another study from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom suggests that shedding about 15 kilograms often produces total remission of the disease.
The Scottish study explains that “Remission of diabetes (no longer having diabetes, at least for a period) is clearly attainable for some, possibly many, patients but is currently very rarely achieved or recorded.”
“Greater awareness, documentation and surveillance of remissions should improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs,” the study explains.
Do you suffer from type 2 diabetes? What have you tried in order to reverse the condition? Have you had any success?