Diabetes Mellitus (Type 1), also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, and juvenile diabetes, affects approximately 3 million people nationwide, at a cost of nearly $15 billion annually. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that involves the body’s autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. The inability to produce insulin effectively leads to increased blood and urine sugar levels. Currently, the cause of diabetes mellitus type 1 is unknown.
This week, researchers from Harvard’s Stem Cell Institute, announced that they have been able to produce cells that are able to generate insulin from human embryonic stem cells in mice. Some doctors are labeling this finding as a giant step in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The current treatment for insulin management among type 1 diabetes patients is through injecting insulin multiple times a day. Poor insulin management and injections do not provide the kind of natural fine tuning necessary to properly control metabolism, and this lack of control leads to devastating complications, including: numbness, neuropathy, poor weight management, blindness to loss of limbs. If Harvard’s researchers are successful in delivering the stem cell derived, insulin producing pancreas cells to humans, without triggering the autoimmune response, a greater balance of blood sugar regulation could be achieved. The video below demonstrates the process that they have used in order to grow the pancreas cells.
In the mean time, patients that have insulin dependent diabetes can support blood sugar balance with lifestyle changes, in addition to their insulin injections.
Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Should Avoid Gluten
Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist that wrote the book Wheat Belly, states that “Children with celiac disease are ten times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes; children with type 1 diabetes are ten to twenty times more likely to have antibodies to wheat and/or have celiac disease.” Individuals with type 1 diabetes should avoid wheat and gluten containing grains until testing confirms that they are not stimulating an autoimmune reaction by eating gluten containing grains.
Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Should Avoid Dairy
In addition to wheat/gluten reactions that can trigger increased autoimmune activity in a type 1 diabetic, researchers from the Unit of Diabetes and Endocrinology, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy, have demonstrated that “Significantly increased levels of antibodies to beta-casein (protein found in mammal’s milk) were found in patients with Type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and in latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) compared to age-matched controls.” Avoiding milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, and other dairy based products (not including eggs) could help reduce the autoimmune activity to the pancreas.
Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Should Take Herbal Supplements
Dr. Shanmugasundaram of the University of Madras, India has reported that the herb, Gymnema sylvestre can be used to ” to enhance endogenous insulin, possibly by regeneration/revitalisation of the residual beta cells in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” In addition to supporting insulin and pancreas function in the body, gymnema also suppresses the sweet sensation of taste, helping individuals with blood sugar problems to resist carbohydrates.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 can have devastating effects on the body, yet there are safe, and natural ways to help support the blood sugar and autoimmune systems. Avoiding wheat and gluten containing foods, avoiding casein containing milk, and supporting the insulin maintenance pathways with gymnema are three steps that individuals with type 1 diabetes can take while waiting for the medical advances that could potentially reverse these lifelong conditions.