‘Diabetes can be reversed in just four months’
*Exercise reduces cancer risk as active people are better at removing by-product that fuels tumours
Scientists have shown that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed in just four months by cutting calories, exercising and keeping glucose under control and that exercise reduces risk of cancer as active people are better at removing by-product that fuels tumours.
Although Type 2 diabetes is considered to be chronic, requiring a lifetime of medication, Canadian researchers proved it was possible to restore insulin production for 40 per cent of patients.
The treatment plan involved creating a personalised exercise regime for each trial participant and reducing their calories by between 500 and 750 a day. The participants also met regularly with a nurse and dietician to track progress and continued to take medication and insulin to manage their blood sugar levels.
After just four months, 40 per cent of patients were able to stop taking their medication because their bodies had begun to produce adequate amounts of insulin again. The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Also, scientists in a new study published in Carcinogenesis believe they have found another reason why exercise reduces the risk of cancer – and even say it could pave way for new treatments.
The research showed those who stay fit are better able to process a by-product of running, jogging and pumping iron. The researchers claim lactate – which makes muscles stiffen after exercise – is a key driver of cancer growth and spread.
Meanwhile, the researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said the programme worked because it gave the insulin-producing pancreas ‘a rest.’
“The research might shift the paradigm of treating diabetes from simply controlling glucose to an approach where we induce remission and then monitor patients for any signs of relapse,” said the study’s first author, Dr. Natalia McInnes, of McMaster.
“The idea of reversing the disease is very appealing to individuals with diabetes. It motivates them to make significant lifestyle changes.
“This likely gives the pancreas a rest and decreases fat stores in the body, which in turn improves insulin production and effectiveness.”
The condition occurs when an individual does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that allows cells to absorb glucose into the blood, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. As a result, blood sugars build up in the body and the cells do not receive the energy they need. Over time type 2 diabetes can lead to damage to the blood vessels, nerves and organs and trigger kidney disease and blindness. It also increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke. The increased number of people with the disease has been linked to rising levels of obesity.
Meanwhile, Dr. Inigo San Millan, of the University of California, Berkeley, United States (U.S.), said: “With this paper, we open a whole new door for understanding cancer, showing for the first time that lactate is not only present, but mandatory for every step in its development. We hope to sound the alarm for the research community that to stop cancer you have to stop lactate.”
Exercising is known to reduce the risk of breast, bowel, colon and womb cancer. The researchers wanted to understand why, and built upon previous research about the ‘Warburg effect’ – when cancer cells quickly rake in more glucose than normal cells. Despite the cause not previously being known, the new study, published in Carcinogenesis, sought to explain why. They found lactate interferes with the body’s immune response to cancer, and helps the tumour to spread.
When exercising, muscles use glucose for energy. When there isn’t enough oxygen to keep up with the amount of energy needed, the body produces lactate as a by-product. It therefore recycles the lactate for a beneficial use, including turning it into a key fuel source for the brain, muscles and organs. But, the study found the recycling system broke down for cancer cells. A fault in the recycling system was less likely to happen in athletes, as their body was more used to converting lactate to beneficial fuel sources.