Special diet that includes starvation and entry mostly foods of plant origin, may help in the regeneration of the pancreas, according to scientists. As a result, they can rebuild cells that produce insulin and thus prevent the progression of diabetes type 1 and 2, write the researchers in the journal “Cell”.
Scientists have examining mice and found that the pancreas in these rodents regenerate by itself, if they are placed in a special regime during the four days of the week.
In type 2 diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone crucial to converting sugar into energy, and the insulin that is produced does not work as it should. Some patients may initially control the symptoms with exercise and proper diet, but most are eventually forced to take medication and insulin injections.
“By enabling regeneration of pancreatic cells, we managed to save the mice suffering from diabetes type 1 and 2 in an advanced stage,” explained Dr. Walter Longo, Gerontology and Director of the Institute for the longevity of the University of Southern California (SCU).
“We were able to re-activate the production of insulin in pancreatic cells in people suffering from type 1 diabetes,” he said.
“We have concluded that , forcing the mice to extreme diet, firstly starvation, then normal feeding, ‘force’ and the pancreatic cells to use some kind of developmental reprogramming which enabled the restoration work of the organ that has ceased to function,” says Dr. Longo.
Type 1 diabetes comprises five to 10 percent of all diabetes cases. The disease has no symptoms for a long time, and also occurs in childhood or adolescence, when 80 to 90 percent of pancreatic cells which produce insulin are already destroyed by an autoimmune reaction.
Dietary regimen that the researchers applied is poor with calories, sugars, proteins, but it is rich in unsaturated fats.
It is most similar to the vegan diet and includes the vegetable soups, energy bars, teas, vitamin supplements.
The total daily calorie intake ranges from 770 to 1,100 kcal compared to the normal daily intake of 2,500 kcal for men and 2,000 kcal for women. Previously conducted studies have shown that fasting can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
In people with diabetes are more likely to develop diseases such as heart attack, blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage and circulation. If it is left untreated, diabetes can damage many parts of the body that is sometimes necessary even amputation.