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Dietary fasting regenerates the pancreas in diabetics

a bowl of sugar and diabetes testing machine

Study finds that tests on animals, cured diabetic symptoms involved restoring the pancreas’ ability to control blood sugar levels.

According to the study published in Cell, the diet resets the body, the BBC reports.

The discoveries are “potentially very intriguing,” according to experts, as they could lead to a novel treatment for the disease.

People should not do this without medical supervision.

In the tests, mice were fed a modified version of the “diet imitating fasting.”

People who consume a low-calorie, low-protein, low-carbohydrate, and high-unsaturated-fat diet for five days resemble the human version of the diet.

It mimics a vegan diet in that it includes nuts and soups, but has between 800 and 1100 calories per day.

The subsequent 25 days are unrestricted, therefore simulating periods of feast and famine.

Previous study suggests that it can halt the aging process.

Diabetes treatment?

However, animal trials demonstrated that the diet restored beta cells, a specific type of pancreatic cell.

Dr. Valter Longo from the University of Southern California stated, “Our conclusion is that by starving them mice and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use a type of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the non-functioning portion of the organ.”

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes benefited from the mouse experiments.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune function killing beta cells, but type 2 diabetes is mostly caused by a sedentary lifestyle and insulin resistance.

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Additional tests on tissue samples from individuals with type 1 diabetes yielded similar results.

Dr Longo said: “We have demonstrated – at least in mice models – that nutrition may be used to cure the symptoms of diabetes. 

“Scientifically, the discoveries are possibly even more significant because we have demonstrated that nutrition can reprogram cells without requiring genetic modifications.”

However, Dr. Longo advised against rushing into a crash diet.

“It boils down to this: do not attempt this at home; it is far more complex than people realize.”

Without medical supervision, people could “get into difficulty” with their health, he claimed.

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