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Medicine Science Technology

Fasting Diet 'Regenerates Diabetic Pancreas' (bbc.com) 166

According to a new study published in the journal Cell, a certain type of fasting diet can trigger the pancreas to regenerate itself. Of course, the researchers advise people not to try this without medical advice. BBC reports: In the experiments, mice were put on a modified form of the "fasting-mimicking diet." It is like the human form of the diet when people spend five days on a low calorie, low protein, low carbohydrate but high unsaturated-fat diet. It resembles a vegan diet with nuts and soups, but with around 800 to 1,100 calories a day. Then they have 25 days eating what they want -- so overall it mimics periods of feast and famine. Previous research has suggested it can slow the pace of aging. But animal experiments showed the diet regenerated a special type of cell in the pancreas called a beta cell. These are the cells that detect sugar in the blood and release the hormone insulin if it gets too high. There were benefits in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the mouse experiments. Type 1 is caused by the immune system destroying beta cells and type 2 is largely caused by lifestyle and the body no longer responding to insulin. Further tests on tissue samples from people with type 1 diabetes produced similar effects.
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Fasting Diet 'Regenerates Diabetic Pancreas'

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    • by Anonymous Coward

      Type 1 diabetic here. If your extra pancreas works alright, I'd be happy cut it out of..er, take it off your hands.

      • Type 1 diabetic here. If your extra pancreas works alright, I'd be happy cut it out of..er, take it off your hands.

        I assume the claims are regarding type 2. Kind of the opposite disease to type 1. No alpha cells, vs no beta cells.
        But I'll keep a spare pancreas on ice in case I need one in the future.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Ah, you assume wrong.


          These results indicate that a FMD [Fast Mimicking Diet] promotes the reprogramming of pancreatic cells to restore insulin generation in islets from T1D patients

      • Please try this diet and report the result back to us. Confirmation (or falsification) would be very welcome.
    • Considering the rise of pancreatic cancer as a cause of death, most folks would gladly have a spare laying around.
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Considering the rise of pancreatic cancer as a cause of death, most folks would gladly have a spare laying around.

        Wouldn't more pancreatic cells increase the risk of pancreatic cancer?

        • Without being able to show you any source, I think I remember that pancreatic cancer can be caused by 'abuse' of the pancreas from eating loads of sugar which needs loads of insulin, to be produced by the pancreas, to be removed from the blood.
  • Not unheard of (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @11:55PM (#53927525) Journal

    We already know that the liver will regenerate itself, and no special dietary restriction is necessary (though you do have to be kind to your liver).

    If you cut a chunk off of someone's liver, it will grow back. We've learned this from Hepatitis C patients who have Stage 3 fibrosis or even cirrhosis. Cure the Hepatitis C (which is possible now with the new, expensive, drugs) and the liver will come back from the functionally near-dead. It was once believed to be a one-way process, but it turns out it's not.

  • by nomad63 ( 686331 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @12:00AM (#53927549)
    Unlike other people, attacking the article, just because they have nothing to contribute, yet want to leave their brain droppings on every topic, I have actually something to say, from personal experience as a type-2 diabetic. Beta cell regeneration is fine and dandy and may help a small portion of type-2 diabetics, but in the US most type-2 diabetes sufferers, are not suffering from not enough beta cells. They are suffering from the condition called insulin resistance. Their body generates enough or some time more than enough insulin. But if the insulin receptors in the cells are not opening up to take in this insulin, it goes to waste. And we have the HFCS to thank for this unfortunate condition in our SAD (Standard American Diet) which the politicians dictated to save the corn field plowing people of the midwest in its day. I hope to see a miracle cure for insulin resistance before I die. RIght now the only thing that works, is a very strict diet (calorie and carb controlled) and a very rigorous physical training for a long-long years time, to reprogram the insulin receptors. Unfortunately, nobody with a day job and family responsibilities, can follow such rigorous program in my opinion, let alone eating in the guidelines of this diet (a.k.a. starvation) Tried and failed miserably after few short weeks, of course with no results to show for. Now shooting Insulin 4-5 times every day, in a vicious circle.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @12:44AM (#53927671)

      And we have the HFCS to thank for this unfortunate condition

      The link between HFCS and diabetes is very, very weak. It is more myth than reality. One study [webmd.com] found a correlation at the national level between countries that use a lot of HFCS and also have higher levels of type 2 diabeties, but that is a weak link with very few data points that could have a lot of other explanations rather than direct causality. AFAIK, no study has found a causal link between HFCS and diabetes in humans. If the link was really as strong as many corn critics claim, then it would be very easy to show causality, yet that hasn't happened. I am very interested in this topic, so if someone can cite a study, I would be very interested to see it.

      Disclaimer: I try to avoid HFCS (and other sugar as well), but I am not a fanatic about it.

      • by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @02:00AM (#53927851)

        Furthermore HFCS and cane [table] sugar are essentially the same thing and both are highly processed. In the case of cane sugar the glucose and fructose molecules are bound together creating a crystalline structure whereas with HFCS the molecules do not share a bond and therefore the substance is much more pliable.

        Really eating any excessive amounts of any type of sugar is bad a person's health but there is a huge financial incentive for producers of cane sugar to discredit the much cheaper HFCS even though they're both highly processed, plant based and, practically, have identical chemical composition.

    • https://www.drfuhrman.com/shop... [drfuhrman.com]
      "After I was diagnosed with diabetes, my brother recommended I read Dr. Fuhrman's book The End of Diabetes. I started to read it right away and applied what I learned from it to my own life. By the time I was able to see my doctor -- three weeks later -- I had already lost 15 pounds, my blood glucose levels had returned to normal and the doctor said he had planned on putting me on meds but, after reviewing my new numbers, he would hold off for three more months. By that appo

      • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @01:56AM (#53927843) Homepage

        This comment sums up an alternative to the Fuhrman approach that is more fat heavy:
        https://www.amazon.com/review/... [amazon.com]
        " ... based on what I've read and the lectures I've listened to over the last year, I'd say that the low carb, high (healthy) fat, moderate protein (LCHF) diet works for more people with type 2 diabetes than Fuhrman's diet, BUT his diet DOES work well for type 2 diabetics too. Which diet works best for you likely will be influenced by what your ancestors ate. If you enjoy eating grass-fed, pastured meat, free range poultry and eggs, and wild seafood, try the LCHF diet first. If you prefer a whole food, plant-based diet (vegan or vegetarian) try Fuhrman's diet first. Of all the books written on the low carb diet, Mark Hyman's book, The Blood Sugar Solution, is probably the best because it goes into greater detail on all aspects of a healthy diet, not just low carb. ..."

        Basically, the "Fat makes you fat" meme (which led to eating lots of refined carbs) has been terrible for our health! Our brains are mostly fat. Healthy fats are an important part of any diet, although we can argue about the best sources of them.

        The "Banting diet" (later variant is the Dukan diet) builds on that protein/fat alternative -- but a problem with that approach healthwise is that too much protein and meat from badly raised animals can cause other health issues in the long-term (as well as ethical issues). Of course, it still may be better to get rid of diabetes first anyway you can and then worry about preventing cancer later when you feel better...

        I also think Fuhrman is probably low on his iodine and vitamin D recommendations. And his general advice may not be a good match some few people with specific needs from genetics or microbiomes.

        In general, Fuhrman's history as a world-class athlete in training may also bias him towards expecting so much that some people give up entirely (so, there is social / psychological aspect of all this that is somehow missed -- perhaps intentionally) whereas they may have done better with a lesser approach. I also agree it is very easy to backslide when only one family member makes the change and is constantly confronted with other people in their space with SAD eating habits.

        Another interesting discussion with a specific disagreement with Fuhrman vs. McDougall even within broad agreement:
        http://lanimuelrath.com/mcdoug... [lanimuelrath.com]
        "The similarities between these 2 doctors and their dietary approaches are far greater than their differences."

    • by mystuff ( 1088543 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @02:10AM (#53927867)

      You write "RIght now the only thing that works, is a very strict diet (calorie and carb controlled) and a very rigorous physical training for a long-long years time, to reprogram the insulin receptors." Fortunately, that is not completely true.

      I could write an entire thesis here about why this is so, but others already have done so extensively. Just google for "Reverse type 2 diabetes" or LCHF and look out for a website called dietdoctor dot com. Enjoy opening a pandora's box of information.

      You might not believe this low carb - high fat (LCHF) moderate protein diet for reversing type 2 diabetes, but what's the harm in trying? In the Netherlands, we are already a few steps further, one of the largest healthcare insurance providers is now providing full coverage for LCHFas an effective and cheap treatment for type 2 diabetes. That has to tell you something.

      It's a little-known fact that the current dietary guidelines, primarily based on very weak 50-year-old scientific evidence, are actually driving the non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and fueling the obesity epidemic. This is why you need to go to places like dietdoctor [dietdoctor.com] to find your information and you cannot rely on information from webmd or the mayo clinic. The authors Nina Teicholz and Gary Taubes have written great books about this. Again, enjoy opening a pandora's book.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Weight is a factor, and highly processed carbohydrates are very efficient at delivering excess calories. One has more trouble eating a pound of butter than a pound of sugar. The first thing a type two diabetic does is lose 7% of weight.

      The simpler more processed a carbohydrate is, the more Gloucester it will deliver. Eating minimally processed carbohydrates with lots of fiber and good fat is key. The problem with our diet is that we eat fat with no fiber, like meat, or sugar with no fiber, like potato

      • > . One has more trouble eating a pound of butter than a pound of sugar

        While you have a point, your question might be somewhat misleading. A pound of sugar has roughly 1300 calories. a pound of fat roughly 1800. And you might be surprised by the amount of fat in many popular foods.

    • by mugnyte ( 203225 )
      First, I sympathize with this your plight. I have insulin resistance and sugar sensitivity, worsening with age. However, I've scaled my life slowly, in fits and (re)starts, to drop most of my sedentary habits and instead convert that time to movement - any movement. So lunches are walking, before and after work is biking, weekends are more of the same. I would offer that if your family knew you'll be dying earlier, after accumulating a massive medical portfolio and insurance rates, they'd make a lot mor
    • Now shooting Insulin 4-5 times every day, in a vicious circle.

      If you have a working pancreas and need to take insulin, I suggest eating less of the foods, that raise your glucose levels in the first place. You don't have to go extreme, you don't have to eat foods that make you feel sick. You can cook tasty satiating foods, with just less of rice, pasta, potatoes, and such things.

      You can make adjustments in steps you feel comfortable with.

    • First I want to express my empathy with your difficult situation.
      Further beta-cell regeneration is only necessary in type 1 diabetes, which is covered in the article [cell.com], although I feel also there is a suggestion that the damage to the beta-cells could be caused by the high levels of insuline that have to be produced from the time the insuline resistance kicks in in those mice.
      The insulin resistance which type 2 sufferers suffer from, can be reversed by a 'not so very strict diet' [ncl.ac.uk] for about 6 to 8 weeks only
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Unfortunately, nobody with a day job and family responsibilities, can follow such rigorous program in my opinion, let alone eating in the guidelines of this diet (a.k.a. starvation)

      I'm confused... not eating takes too much time...?
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It seems reasonable that a fasting diet might help this, also, however. But 5 days a month is a bit extreme. I could do it a few times, but I think I know myself well enough to say I probably wouldn't be able to continue doing it. And from my past experience 1000 calories a day is harder to handle than a complete fast (except water).

      What I'm trying is an extremely restricted carbohydrate diet. I even consider Oat bran to be high in carbohydrates. Wheat bran, however, and wheat germ are essentially free

    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      I concur with everything you stated -- except about the difficulty of a proper diet and exercise to help you with your type 2 diabetes. I have a close friend that is type 2 and now no longer needs meds thanks to a careful diet. I have other friends and family members that fall into the pre-diabetic range as well and type 2 diabetes is in our families.

      Insulin resistance has multiple factors, but diet and exercise is almost always effective. IR is mostly a metabolic issue with muscle tissue -- and just 30

    • Dr Hyman's "The Blood Sugar Solution" book mentioned earlier (in a Dr. Fuhrman comment):
      http://bloodsugarsolution.com/ [bloodsugarsolution.com]

      One of several books he wrote:
      https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Hy... [amazon.com]

      A review on his very latest book"Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health":
      https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Fat... [amazon.com]
      "I was a member of Dr. Hyman's beta test group for this book and my results were miraculous. I was an insulin dependent type 2 diabetic with high blood pressure. I have be

  • The article's main focus was diabetes, but does anyone know what it meant when it mentioned hormones related to pancreatic cancer?
  • That's not fasting. That's a modified fast. Wimps and their half-arsed fasts.

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