Fast Mimicking Diet & Diabetes.
A fasting diet has the ability to regenerate the pancreas and could potentially reverse diabetes, researchers have found.
A US study, published in scientific journal Cell, tested a modified version of the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) on both mice and human cells.
The findings showed cycles of the diet could regenerate pancreatic cells to restore insulin in type 1 diabetes patients and could also reverse both type 1 and 2 diabetes in mice.
The study’s co-author, Dr Valter Longo from the University of Southern California, told the ABC the findings were “potentially very exciting” because they could lead to cures for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Longo also said a FMD could also regenerate other organs because their research had shown similar effects for blood cells.
“They show that extreme diets with very specific compositions can trigger self repair and regeneration processes in the mouse and possibly humans,” Dr Longo said.
Taking into account the challenges and side-effects of fasting in humans, Dr Longo and his team developed a modified low-calorie, low-protein and low-carbohydrate but high-fat four-day FMD.
The diet caused changes in the levels of specific growth factors, glucose, and ketone bodies and reduced the blood glucose on pre-diabetic patients.
Mice receiving the FMD showed improved glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance.
The pancreas helps to control blood sugar levels and restoring the organ can reverse the symptoms of diabetes.
The diet can regenerate the pancreas by reprogramming cells into “beta cells” that make insulin.
The study found cycles of the FMD could promote the generation of those insulin-producing cells.
This is exciting because pancreatic cells only replicate at an extremely low rate in the adult pancreas and tissue regeneration rarely occurs.
Until now, the only solution to cell depletion and loss of insulin secretion was thought to be stem cell transplantation.
The FMD cycles rescued the mice from late-stage type 2 diabetes because of it restoring insulin secretion and reducing insulin resistance, leading to a major improvement in the mice’s survival.
Despite the potentially ground-breaking findings, Dr Longo warned people not to take up a fasting diet without consulting a doctor.
“This should not be done at home with self-made diets and should be done under medical supervision,” he said.
Dr Longo said the next step was to carry out clinical trials on humans, however he encouraged patients to speak to their doctor before trying this at home.