Exercise Could Slow The Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes
An article From The Real Diabetes Truth
admin | November 20, 2014 | Comments (0)
Running around outside in the open air seems like a natural thing for children to do. And recent scientific findings suggest that exercise and sunshine could have some previously unknown health benefits. Scientists at the University of Birmingham Medical School tell us that exercise can have a protective effect on the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and could help to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in both children and adults. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, researchers in Perth, Australia have found that ultraviolet rays might boost metabolism in a way that prevents weight gain.
In the mid-20th century, children still ‘went out to play’. Play was active, often energetic and mostly outdoors. Then, in the wake of a few tragic cases of child abduction, parents started to worry whether unsupervised outdoor play was safe. Not long after, the first computerised games appeared. Then there were the dire warnings about sun exposure and skin cancer. As a result, for today’s children, ‘play’ often means sitting indoors with an electronic gadget. In parallel with this decline in physical activity, there has been a relentless rise in the incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes; and it seems that this could be more than coincidental.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin. As a result, beta cell function is reduced but may still be around 50 per cent of normal when type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. And studies have shown that beta cells may not be permanently killed off and could be capable of regeneration under the right conditions. As I mentioned here, around three-quarters of people with type 1 diabetes still have some functioning beta-cells.
Exercise appears to have a beneficial impact on the beta cells in several different ways, by altering levels of various hormones, glucose and fats in the blood and by affecting inflammatory substances and immune system activity. In an article published recently in the journal Diabetologia, the University of Birmingham researchers review the evidence that exercise promotes beta cell proliferation, reduces beta cell death and could help to preserve beta cell function in diabetic patients.1 The evidence for this is now so strong that the authors call for clinical trials to determine the type, intensity and duration of exercise that has the greatest benefit. The idea that something as simple as exercise could have a huge effect on the global epidemic of diabetes may not please the pharmaceutical companies but it make a lot of sense to me.
Sunshine – it’s not just about vitamin D
The Australian research found that exposing overfed mice to ultraviolet (UV) light slowed their weight gain.2 Not only that – it also suppressed the development of glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and reduced blood levels of glucose, insulin and cholesterol. Although previous studies have associated vitamin D, which is manufactured in the skin when it is exposed to UV light, with weight loss, vitamin D was not the hero of this story. Instead, the researchers found that increased levels of nitric oxide resulting from UV exposure were responsible for the improvements seen. Nitric oxide is known to reduce blood pressure and benefit the heart and blood vessels, but it also regulates the body’s basic metabolic rate and the burning of glucose and fats for energy.
The results of this study need to be interpreted cautiously, since mice are nocturnal animals covered in fur, so their skin isn’t normally exposed to UV light. However, it does suggest that the nitric oxide produced in our skin by sunshine, in addition to the vitamin D, could have important health benefits for people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
At this time of year, the sunshine may not be strong enough in the UK to produce much vitamin D, but you could still benefit from some nitric oxide production. Getting outside on fine days and exercising in the fresh air – whether it’s a run, walk, cycle ride or a kick-about with a football – can do you a power of good in other ways, too. To remind yourself of the many benefits of exercise, see my earlier post here.
While exercise and sunshine are free for everyone, Big Pharma would prefer you to take its patented drugs. The latest one to get approval is called Trulicity – an innocent and appealing name for a particularly dangerous medication that could cause thyroid cancer and other tumours. In my next blog post I shall explain why Trulicity is truly one you should avoid.
Wishing you the best of health,
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth
Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
1. Narendran P, Solomon TP, Kennedy A, Chimen M, Andrews RC. The time has come to test the beta cell preserving effects of exercise in patients with new onset type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2014 Nov 4 (Online ahead of print).
2. Geldenhuys S, Hart PH, Endersby R, Jacoby P, Feelisch M, Weller RB, Matthews V, Gorman S. Ultraviolet radiation suppresses obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome independently of vitamin D in mice fed a high-fat diet. Diabetes. 2014; 63(11):3759-3769.