“Giant leap to type 1-diabetes cure”


This is cool news. Scientists at Harvard just announced that they have managed to generate insulin-producing cells from human stem cells. This is hailed as a step towards a cure for type 1-diabetes:

BBC: ‘Giant leap’ to type 1-diabetes cure

Harvard: Giant leap against diabetes

Unfortunately, there are a couple of steps remaining to make it possible to cure people with type 1-diabetes. The cells need to be protected against the immune system, and would in reality act as a transplanted organ. This would require a life-long need for medicating with immunosuppressants for it to work – unless in the future, the cells can be made from the patient’s own stem cells.

Even in this the best case scenario, the immunosuppressing treatment might be required for a long-term effect, as type 1-diabetics also produce antibodies against insulin-producing cells, which is what triggers the disease in the first place.

There are also plans for trying to “encapsulate” the cells to protect them from the immune system without the need for medication. If this will work is not yet clear.

Finally, this is long-term a potential cure for just type 1-diabetes, which “only” one of ten diabetics in the world suffer from. Type 2 is a lot more common and is not caused by a lack of insulin-producing cells.

But still – potentially a big step towards being an important treatment consideration in the future.


Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar

Scientists: A Low-Carbohydrate Diet Should Be First Approach for Diabetics!

Why Do More and More Adults Get Type 1 Diabetes?

One Year on an LCHF Diet with Type 1 Diabetes


  1. FrankG
    "Type 2 is a lot more common and is not caused by a lack of insulin-producing cells." Agreed that Type 2 is more prevalent (increasing every day... as is Type 1 strangely enough) and although they seem to be separate diseases, I did understand that: at the time of diagnosis, a Type 2 may have lost up to 80% of their insulin producing capacity.. probably due to beta-cell burnout; after decades of working overtime to keep the BGs in the normal range.


    Good old BBC article... they do like to get the off-hand judgmental remarks in "It is different to the far more common type 2 diabetes which is largely due to poor lifestyle." -- mea maxima culpa for my "poor choices" :-P

  2. JanH
    Regarding the immune issue, there is work being done by Dr. Denise Faustman at Massachusetts General on that.


    It's early to see how it will all eventually work out and everybody is being understandably conservative on their prognostications, but it is encouraging for sure. (I've had T1 for 35 years.)

  3. Doug Beard
    Andreas have you encountered this research on type 2 diabetes, only the Daily Mail I'm afraid which tend to sensationalise: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2786886/Researchers-en...
  4. Galina L.
    I hope stem-sells treatment will be the option for the people with a Hashimoto thyroid disease too.
  5. GP
    I really hate it that medicine focuses way more on curing diseases rather than preventing them.
  6. Matt
    I wonder if logically this might not potentially help T2 diabetics who have damaged beta cells due to over production of insulin more than T1 diabetics (who have anti-bodies that will continue to attach pancreas cells).

    Perhaps this will help a number of T2 diabetics who have progressed well beyond insulin resistance and have become insulin dependent (or even T2 diabetics who still produce some insulin, but not enough).

  7. Matt
    GP - Please let us know what preventative measures can be taken w/r/t T1 Diabetes.
    Reply: #9
  8. francois

    As far as I know, there is no true "prevention" for T1 diabetes... Some people are more at risk than others, as they may be more sensitive to some outside factors that I'll describe below. Those are people who have a parent, brother, or sister with type 1 diabetes. What I'm describing here is not by far "the" answer but rather a theory based on observation... In T1 diabetes, the immune system attacks beta cells on the body and destroys them. Why is that? It may be because of the following series of events:
    1. Cows produce milk with a series of proteins
    2. Most kids drink cow's milk, some much more than others
    3. It so happens that one of these cow's milk proteins is nearly identical to one of the proteins on beta cells of the pancreas
    4. When kids who are "sensitive" to this chain of events happen to be infected with a virus (as far I I know, yet unidentified), their immune system becomes crazy and becomes sensitized to tone of the milk proteins.
    5. Antibodies then cruise the system, looking for that foreign protein and when they arrive at the pancreas, there is a case of missed identity as the antibodies attack a protein on the beta cells, nearly identical to that milk protein.

    Since we have no control on viral infection (except by receiving the flu shot - and I am not sure this is the offending virus), the only thing we have control over would be the intake of milk and in people who are at risk (first degree relatives of type 1 diabetics), when kids are weaned, maybe replace cow milk with maybe goat milk or coconut milk...

    Will it work? I do not know. But it's the only thing I could think of. Hope this helps.

  9. Cindy C
    In my reading, i came up with some studies on wheat and vitamin D status, and risk of Type 1 diabetes.




    Also vitamin A is very important to the immune system. D and A complement each other, along with K2, and omega 3. There are some good cod liver oils out there, but some may still have to take another D 3 or A, according to the amounts listed. Some good grass fed butter would be good to add, as well as eggs, and fatty meat.



  10. Nate
    Cindy C, Your post looks like you are a member of the Weston A Price Foundation. But then I noticed that none of the articles you referenced are from their literature. If you're interested in vitamins A, D3 and K2, as well as, the grass fed butter etc, you might want to check out the WAPF: http://www.westonaprice.org

    They are supporting a lot of research in the workings of these vitamins in the body. Their journal almost always has an article about them.

    Reply: #11
  11. Cindy C

    I am not a member of the Price Foundation, but I have read a lot of the articles in their site, as well as other references. The Price Foundation is a good source of information and references. On going research is always welcome. I have always enjoyed reading on science, nature, and nutrition subjects, and it takes a lot of wisdom, and effort, not just knowledge, to put these all together, and generate understanding and benefits. I appreciate the attempts of others, as my humble attempts at making a stab at this is woefully inadequate..

  12. Lisa
    Hi Andreas,

    Are you able to provide an English translation for the video of the young lady with type 1 on your Swedish website please? My son has type 1 and I also do low carb high fat with excellent results.

  13. Eric Anderson
    Also some news on the frucose fron! Question? Does type two show up more in line with fructose, glucose, or all carbohydrate consumption?

    My response for myself is limit carbs to 30 grams or less on the days I eat and those from sources like eggs, orgn meats, cream and low carb vegetable like leafy green ones.

    ArticlePaving the way for a fructose tolerance test
    A new study finds that the hormone FGF21 is stimulated by fructose ingestion
    BOSTON – Increased consumption of table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup has been linked to rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States and throughout the world. Both sweeteners are commonly found in processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, and both are made up of nearly equal amounts of two basic sugars, glucose and fructose.

    The effects of glucose ingestion in humans are well understood, in part, because they are easily assessed by performing a Glucose Tolerance Test, which measures serum glucose levels after glucose ingestion and has become the diagnostic cornerstone for modern diabetes care. Furthermore, the hormone insulin can also be easily measured to assess the acute metabolic effects of glucose ingestion and evaluate a person's risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    But determining the body's metabolic response to fructose has been much more difficult, and consequently, there is no equivalent test to warn of impaired or altered fructose metabolism.

    That may soon change. A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) now finds that blood levels of the hormone Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21) increases rapidly acutely and robustly after fructose ingestion. Reported online in Molecular Metabolism, the new findings suggest that FGF21 is a reliable predictor of altered fructose metabolism and, in essence, provides the basis for a "Fructose Tolerance Test."

    "Accumulating evidence suggests that the fructose component of sugar may have a particularly deleterious effect on health," explains co-senior author Mark Herman, MD, of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). "If you feed animals or people higher-than-normal amounts of fructose, they become obese, less responsive to the key actions of insulin, and develop fatty liver disease and abnormal blood lipid levels. All of these increase the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease." Fructose is a pervasive presence throughout our foods: high fructose corn syrup, for example, can be found in everything from processed cookies and sweets to seemingly healthy foods, such as yogurt.

    "Fructose is taken up by the liver as soon as it's ingested and very little of it makes it to peripheral blood where it might be sampled and measured," adds co-senior author Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, MD, HMS Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at BIDMC. "This makes it very hard to determine how an individual responds to fructose ingestion. Furthermore, there has, to date, been no known hormonal response to fructose in the way that the hormone insulin responds to glucose."

    Maratos-Flier has been studying the FGF21 hormone for almost a decade and previously found that in both humans and animals, FGF21 levels are elevated in association with obesity, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Herman's work, meanwhile, had focused on a cellular factor, Carbohydrate Responsive-Element Binding Protein (ChREBP), which senses simple sugars and responds by activating cellular gene expression programs. Observations that fructose potently activates ChREBP in rodent livers and that ChREBP can regulate FGF21 expression suggested to Maratos-Flier and Herman the intriguing hypothesis that fructose ingestion might stimulate production of circulating FGF21 in people.

    To test this hypothesis, the researchers, led by first author Jody Dushay, MD, HMS Instructor in Medicine, recruited 10 lean, healthy study subjects. They first tested the effect of glucose on FGF21 by giving volunteers a drink of 75 grams of glucose and measuring blood levels over the course of five hours. There was no immediate effect on FGF21 levels although modest changes in FGF21 were seen three to four hours later. In contrast, after ingesting 75 grams of fructose, FGF21 levels dramatically increased by an average of 400 percent – within only two hours.

    "This tells us that fructose actively regulates FGF21 in humans," says Maratos-Flier. "The hormone-like response of FGF21 to fructose ingestion suggests that FGF21 might play an unanticipated role in regulating fructose metabolism. We were totally surprised by this dramatic effect because, to date, there has been no way of assessing the body's acute metabolic response to fructose ingestion. We haven't had a simple quick test like we have for glucose."

    Furthermore, she adds, the findings demonstrated that the FGF21 response was exaggerated in subjects with metabolic disease, suggesting that either some aspect of fructose metabolism changes during the development of metabolic syndrome and/or there are innate differences in fructose metabolism among individuals and those with an exaggerated FGF21 response to fructose are predisposed to developing disease.

    "For the first time, this provides an avenue for labs everywhere to easily study fructose metabolism in people," adds Herman. "This study provides a foundational observation for further investigation into the genetic and environmental determinants of an individual's metabolic response to fructose and this type of knowledge will be essential to develop personalized dietary recommendations as well as pharmacological strategies to prevent and treat cardiometabolic disease."


    In addition to Herman, Maratos-Flier and Dushay, coauthors include BIDMC investigators Elena Toschi, MD, Emilie K. Mitten, BS, and ffolliott M. Fisher, PhD.

    This work was supported by the JPB Foundation and the Harvard Catalyst/Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Grants 8UL1TR000170-05 and 1UL1TR001102-01. Drs. Herman and Maratos-Flier received support from from the National Institutes of Health: R01DK028082, P30DK057521 and R01DK100425.

    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide.

    BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital

    Reply: #14
  14. Cindy C
    Thanks Eric,

    I did some reading and found this study about FGF21. That hormone seems to turn fat into brown fat, which sounds good, unless you want to become insulin resistant and gain weight. Fruit/fructose more readily turns to fat instead of just glucose. The extra brown fat gets you ready for the cold/winter to come where you burn it off during times of no fructose, and lower sugar in general. Some have more or less problems with this due to epigenetic differences and fructose transport.




    This is in more detail about fructans/fructose in relation to humans, and horses. It seems the amount of fructose and fructans being turned into fructose can make the difference into a benefit or a detriment. There is a lot of research into tying up in horses/lameness and changing the diet of the horse. They reduce the grains/sugar content and increase fatty acids. It is interesting in that too much fruit and my legs will hurt me.



  15. George Harding
    A question more than a comment as I could not find a place to email questions on your website.

    Q. Does it take a long time (many months, years?) to reduce greatly one's prediabetes fasting sugar level on a low carb/high fat diet?

    Context...I am 70 years old in good health, no weight issues....except my wife thinks I should gain some weight...height 1.82 metres, weight 69 kg).

    Early september 2014 my fasting sugar level was 5.94 mmol/L which prompted me to start on the low carb/high fat diet....since then have been quite strict, avoiding root veggies, rice, bread, eatinglots of meat with fat, cooking with butter, coconut oil, lots of salads with vinegar and olive oil + cooked veggies, fresh coconut meat, fish etc....no processed food or added sugar, one small (usually half a papaya) piece of fruit after a high protein/high fat +veggies breakfast, eatien with hi fat yogurt and fresh coconut meat. ( I live in the Philippines) no alcohol, lots of water, coffee with cream, cooking with coconut oil and butter.

    Early October 2014 fasting blood sugar level at same lab as Sept. test 5.61 mmol/L...only dowm 5% I thought it would have been down a lot more after one month's low car/high fat diet.

    since then I have read that eating cinnamon, vinegar, olive oil and other things might help to bring down my fasting sugar level.

    Please advise!

    Sincere thanks...and congratulations on providing much information and guidelines for high at/low carb diets. You are appreciated!!

    Sincerely,George Harding

    (previous to early Sept. I eat a lot of the great tropical fruit available here...in the last 10-15 years prior to moving to the Philippines greedily ate rich desserts in quantity...fruit pies with ice cream, cakes etc.

    Reply: #18
  16. Steven Strober
    I am aware of the Dreamfield's fraud but was unaware of the BG level testing showing a bump in serum glucose after eating the Julian's Bakery bread. LC Foods sounds like a legit manufacturer
    and posts a sample of BG readings on a small group of eaters of their bread, which from personal
    experience is surprisingly good. They report a 20% bump in serum glucose after eating their
    product which seems very acceptable to me. They post all the readings at 15 min. intervals and
    unless they are totally dishonest, their product may represent a real, lo carb bread that is
    acceptable to those on a lo carb diet.
    What do you think?
    Steve Strober
    Reply: #17
  17. Cindy C
    Has anyone else seen this video about Julian bread/sponge.


    Not sure if this was posted before here about cooking then cooling, then reheating pasta to reduce insulin spikes.


    The show

    Saturated fat, vitamin D, sunshine, resistant starch.


  18. Zepp
    Well.. fasting glucose levels dont tell that much.. many prediabetics do have normal glucose levels for a long time, before they get/measure diabetic levels!

    To make safe asumptions of glucose metabolism one need to take HBa1c or make a glucose provocation test!

    Easyest for home use is to take postprandial glucose values, first a fasting value then a measure after 2 hours after a normal mixed meal whit normal carbs, like potatoes or rice.. then it should have get back to fasting values!

    A fasting value of 5,94/5,61 is not that much/alarming.. its in the normal zone.. fasting values do variate a lot!

    Its when it comes up to 8-10 several times one should be worried!

    And on top of that.. I got slightly higher fasting glucose levels on a LCHF diet, but my HBa1c get lower.. i got 5/31 so im quite sure im not prediabetic!

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