Changes in the pancreas that scientists once only thought occurred in Type 1 diabetes are now known to occur in Type 2 diabetes as well.
For a long time there was just one definition of diabetes. It was a disease in which blood sugar levels were too high. Before about 1950, the only medical treatment was insulin, and insulin was in short supply. It didn't really make a lot of difference whether diabetes occurred in childhood or adulthood, because there were very few ways for most doctors to treat it.
Types of diabetes: About 1950, doctors began making a distinction between childhood-onset diabetes, or Type 1, and adult-onset diabetes, or Type 2. When children got this disease, usually the only ways to control blood sugar levels were insulin or starvation. Without insulin, children either were limited to diets of as little as 500 calories a day, or they died of diabetic complications.
As scientists began to understand that the immune system attacked the insulin-making beta cells in the pancreas in Type 1 diabetes, they also recognized a "Type 3" kind of diabetes occurring in adults. This is the form of the disease known as LADA. It was understood to be a kind of "adult Type 1."
Nowadays, the way all three diseases are diagnosed is something like this.
- Before the pancreas makes insulin, it makes a storage form of the hormone called proinsulin. Proinsulin is a "ball" of protein that "unzips" into insulin
- Type 2's unzip proinsulin slowly
- Type 1's don't unzip proinsulin at all
If scientists could just find the "zipper" that changes proinsulin into insulin, then there just might be a cure for diabetes. No more injections, no more drugs to make the pancreas work harder, no carb-blockers or hormone blockers in the stomach and intestines.
What can diabetics do right now? There is one hint from the recent research. Diabetes seems to result from stress on the endoplasmic reticulum, the part of the cell that makes proteins and also "detoxifies". Maybe, just maybe, helping the endoplasmic reticulum of the insulin-producing beta cells will stop their destruction, and maybe a "detoxifying" agent such as alpha-lipoic acid will do this.
How to protect the pancreas? There are some laboratory studies suggesting that a combination of alpha-lipoic acid and L-carnitine with the B vitamins biotin and nicotinamide might protect the pancreas from the effects of a high-fat diet and too much fructose. Of course, it's even better simply to avoid eating too much fat and fructose! However, consider adding these four supplements to your treatment program to slow, stop, and even contribute to reversing the progression of diabetes.