Diet fads are a dime a dozen. it seems that just about every week there is a new diet being promoted that promises to help you lose weight, feel better, sleep great, have more energy, lead your hair looking silky and just about any other claim you can imagine. However, according to a new study published in the journal Cell, a new fasting diet might be able to reboot the body; more specifically, reverse diabetes and repair the pancreas.
The research goes in depth at how our diet can work to trigger the pancreas to regenerate itself, which works to control blood sugar levels and reverse symptoms of diabetes. Here is how the experiment played out.
Scientists put mice in an induce fasting mode for four days a week over a period of several months to regenerate beta cells in the pancreas, which stores and releases insulin, and saw that working cells took the place of damaged ones. The team then followed this development up with experiencing on pancreatic cell cultures from human donors affected by type I diabetes, and found that the diet generated additional insulin, as well as the Ngn3 protein needed to ensure the pancreas functions correctly.
According to the team from the University of Southern California, the diet reverses, for mice, symptoms of type I diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas can’t make insulin, and type II diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is damaged by insulin resistance.
“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,” explains Valter Longo, the head of the research team.
“Medically, these findings have the potential to be very important because we’ve shown–at least in mouse models–that you can use diet to reverse the symptoms of diabetes,” explains 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,” notes Longo. “Now that we’ve discovered it, we can find ways to work with it and utilize it for benefits to human health.”
According to Dr. Emily Burns, a research communications manager at Diabetes UK, the discovery is “potentially very exciting news, but we need to see if the results hold true in humans before we’ll know more about what it means for people with diabetes.”
“People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes would benefit immensely from treatments that can repair or regenerate insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.”