Scientific developments come in leaps and bounds. 15 years ago, we were listening to the sound of a car crash every time we logged onto the internet. Next thing we know, we’ve cloned a sheep or created driverless cars. While innovations in all fields seem to be coming fast and furious, most times, it takes years for the actual leap in sophistication to find its way into our everyday lives. A new study in the Journal Cell may have made a discovery that will change the lives of diabetes sufferers everywhere, forever.
Led by Dr. Valtar D. Longo, a group of 10 researchers at the University of Southern California tested a specialized diet, akin to a fasting diet, on lab rats which had type 1 or 2 diabetes. The diet was initially developed by Dr. Longo as a 5-day crash course meant to slow the aging process. It is currently sold online here to promote weight loss, healthier skin, and improve energy levels, among other ancillary benefits.
However, when researchers put mice with either type of diabetes on this diet, they found a special beta cell regenerated within the pancreas. That special beta cell may be the key to help those with diabetes to start over. Essentially, when the test mice received a particular 5-day crash diet, which was low in carbohydrates, calories, and proteins, but high in unsaturated fats, the effects of diabetes were reversed, at least in mice. The diet is full of soups and nuts, while only providing about 1,000 calories a day. The restrictions seek to mimic a “feast to famine” reaction in your body, forcing the pancreas to reset, while reminding the organ of its job to produce insulin. Thus, it could potentially cure diabetes.
It has to be noted that the research is still in its early stages and is not fully vetted for consumer application. Dr. Longo warned the BBC of potential dangers of anyone starting the diet without medical advice, “It boils down to ‘do not try this at home’, this is so much more sophisticated than people realize.” The results have only been tested on mice, which as lab results go, doesn’t necessarily mean the diet will have the same effects on humans. That being said, researchers are very enthusiastic about the potential advancements to current diabetes treatment.