This is a question i have been asked many times and i think the way the evidence currently stacks up the answer is yes although it is probably fairer to say you can put your type 2 diabetes into remission.
Type 2 diabetes is typically refereed to as an irreversible chronic condition which is also often considered to be progressive over our lifespan .
Much of this understanding comes from large research trials that showed individuals with type 2 diabetes had a steadily increasing requirement for hypoglycemic agents (diabetes medications) over years and loss of function of β-cells (the ells that produce our insulin). When looking at this finding we need to also consider that over that period the individuals also had a progressive weight gain and were sedentary.
So is Type 2 Diabetes Really Progressive And Irreversible
Yes and No :
There is clear evidence that we can put our type 2 diabetes into remission and the progressive nature of diabetes may well be related entirely to the progression of poor lifestyle habits particularly excess weight and reduced physical activity not type 2 diabetes itself.
: It is defiantly progressive and irreversible if we do not act and introduce significant changes if we have a lifestyle that doesn’t include eating well achieving a healthy body weight and being physically active.
Some Evidence For Reversing Diabetes
We are getting more and ore evidence in this space with each individual research group touting their particular regimen or diet . From a pure reversal standpoint the key factor is individual sustainability and weight loss. The best results are early in the disease process and with significant weight loss such as 10-15kg where appropriate.
What is sustainable and attainable for you might be completely different from someone else. Their solution or diet might work for them but not you. Lifestyle and nutrition needs to be individualized for the person with diabetes it needs to make sense to them and they need to be in charge .
This group was small but showed that A well planned and sustainable weight loss program achieved continuing remission of diabetes for at least 6 months using a very low calorie diet for 40% of the participants.
A large study of 4500 overweight Americans adults with type 2 diabetes showed that while complete remission was rare with an intensive lifestyle intervention partial remission was an obtainable goal. As many as 11.5% of lifestyle intervention participants had partial or complete remission within the first year of intervention and 7% had partial or complete remission after 4 years.
Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol . This study was small in numbers but was able to show that energy restriction (they were on a 600 calorie a day diet) Normalized both beta cell function and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.
Can This Be Translated To The Community
While early research suggests significant potential for sustained lifestyle changes being a potential cure, questions remain about how long the effect will last and whether it can work for the typical patient with diabetes.
A number of studies are looking into this with one example being the Direct Remission Clinical Trial in the UK which is looking at type 2 Diabetes remission in the community
A Word About Diabetes And The lifespan
The stage of life and age we get type 2 diabetes can play an important part in how you act if you have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. While we always need to take this disease seriously we need to be particularly mindful of acting and making significant positive changes if required if we get type 2 diabetes early in life. If you develop diabetes or pre-diabetes early in life which i would categorize as between 20-50 you should consider tackling it assertively as an acute disease as the evidence suggests getting on top of it early may lead to greater success in the long term.
In 2014-2015, a staggering 63.4 percent of Australian adults were overweight or obese — well over half of our nation’s population. That’s almost two in three adults. This is an increase from 1995, which was 56.3 percent, illustrating that the problem is getting worse.