FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community is painfully aware of the tremendous increase in diabetes in the worldwide population. Most disturbing, however, is the startling rise in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children. While there has been research conducting trying to pinpoint the reason for the sharp increase, we still don’t have a conclusive reason for the increasing problem. Type 1 diabetes is almost always diagnosed between infancy and young adulthood, according to the American Diabetes Association. The body’s pancreas is unable to produce adequate amounts of the hormone insulin, required to metabolize food properly and create energy for the body’s cells.
Today we learned of some especially encouraging news coming out of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It appears that by adding foods rich in specific amino and fatty acids to the diets of children, teens and young adults with Type 1 diabetes, their bodies can be encouraged to produce some of their own insulin for up to two years after their diagnosis. While participants still required supplemental insulin, they may have reduced risk of diabetes complications because of the ability to produce some of their own insulin.
The study (Nutritional Factors and Preservation of C-Peptides in Youth with Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes) involved over 1,300 young people ranging from toddler age to 20. They are part of a multi-center “SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth,” the largest United States study of childhood diabetes.
The study identified Leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids that is known to stimulate insulin secretion. Leucine is found in dairy products, meats, soy products, eggs, nuts and whole wheat products. In addition, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, were also associated with the insulin production. The researchers made specific note that the effects were found when the subjects ate actual foods rich in these nutrients. The effects were not associated with taking supplements.
FoodFacts.com is especially encouraged by the association between diet and insulin production. We know that fresh, whole foods impart many benefits to our health and well being. But, we are always thrilled to find out how simple dietary changes can help chronic health problems and disease. We’re excited by the idea of a future where we need less drug-related intervention and enjoy more nutritional intervention. Natural solutions to health conditions will help the worldwide population enjoy longer, more fulfilling and happier lives.