Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Newcastle University's findings could benefit millions of people across the globe
The World Health Organization estimates that, in just over a decade, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. As well as causing serious long-term health problems, including impaired vision, blindness and amputation of the lower limbs and feet, diabetes is a major cause of kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
Type 2 diabetes has long been regarded as a chronic disease and one with a complex, obscure cause. However, research by Newcastle University’s Professor Roy Taylor using innovative magnetic resonance methods has confirmed his Twin Cycle Hypothesis – that Type 2 diabetes is simply caused by excess fat within the liver and pancreas. In the liver, this fat causes a poor response to insulin and it produces too much glucose. In the pancreas, the fat inhibits insulin secretion. By clearly defining the cause of the disease, treatment can be planned to reverse the processes.
The research has established that people can reverse their Type 2 diabetes to the point where they no longer require medication. Importantly, the recent findings show that diabetes stays away providing that the excess weight is not allowed to reaccumulate.
Now, a trial is aiming to find an effective and accessible way to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long term. Results from the first year of the trial, published in late 2017, have identified that people in the first six years of Type 2 diabetes who follow a low-calorie programme with support from their GP can reverse their diabetes for at least a year.
The trial, DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial), found that almost nine out of 10 people taking part who lost 15kg or more put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. The study also found that almost half of those were still off all their Type 2 diabetes medication with normal blood glucose levels after one year.
Professor Roy Taylor
Professor Roy Taylor is Director of Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre and an Honorary Consultant Physician at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. His work has shown that Type 2 diabetes is not inevitably progressive and life-long.
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