Researchers Observed That A Fasting Diet Can Reverse The Effects Of Diabetes


Diabetes is becoming an increasing concern nowadays and US with its increasing obesity is at high risk. Researchers are always looking for ways to reverse the effects. They just came up with an interesting approach where they were able to reverse the diabetes symptoms and restore pancreatic function in mice by putting them on something similar to a fasting-mimicking diet. So what does this diet actually do? The diet tricks the body in entering into a fasting mode for a few days each month even though selective food is being consumed. This, according to the researchers may be enough to reboot the pancreas’ functions including insulin production.

Fasting, Pancreas and Diabetes

According the team from University of Southern California, this method was able to reverse the symptoms of both type I and type II diabetes. The head of the research team Valter Longo said, “By pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back, the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming.” The fast-mimicking diet has been used previously for humans for the purpose of losing weight and reducing risk factors for heart disease and cancer. This diet is earning great importance in the eyes of researchers as it has also helped in reducing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It seems that starving the body is resetting the cells.

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For this study, mice were put into a fasting mode for four days every week over a period of several months. It was observed that this process regenerated beta cells in the pancreas which basically store and release insulin. Scientists also experimented on cell cultures from human donors with type I diabetes. In this case as well it was observed that fasting produced more insulin and more of the Ngn3 protein which is necessary for normal and healthy pancreatic function.

Don’t try this at home

The research is still in its early stages so scientists have warned not to use this at home to treat diabetes. The diet requires measured calorie intakes and can be effective only if certain types of food are consumed. It is hoped that in the future the fast-mimicking diet will be able to help treat diabetes. According to Longo, “Scientifically, the findings are perhaps even more important because we've shown that you can use diet to reprogram cells without having to make any genetic alterations. The amazing thing is that this system has probably always been there. Now that we've discovered it, we can find ways to work with it and utilize it for benefits to human health."