Article courtesy of SciTech Daily
People with diabetes who fast intermittently may no longer need medication, according to a new study.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, with around 90-95% having type 2 diabetes. There are effective medications, such as metformin (which goes under numerous brand names including Glucophage, Fortamet, Glumetza, and Riomet). It is also known that a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for diabetes control. Now, a new study reveals that an intermittent fasting diet may reverse type 2 diabetes without the need for medication.
Patients achieved complete diabetes remission after an intermittent fasting diet intervention, according to a new research study. Complete diabetes remission is defined as an HbA1c (average blood sugar) level of less than 6.5% at least one year after stopping diabetes medication. The details were published on December 14 in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
In recent years intermittent fasting diets have become popular as an effective weight loss method. Studies have also found that these diets can help fight inflammation and lead to a longer, healthier life. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific window of time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple of days a week can help your body burn fat. Research shows intermittent fasting can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
“Type 2 diabetes is not necessarily a permanent, lifelong disease. Diabetes remission is possible if patients lose weight by changing their diet and exercise habits,” said Dongbo Liu, Ph.D., of Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, China. “Our research shows an intermittent fasting, Chinese Medical Nutrition Therapy (CMNT), can lead to diabetes remission in people with type 2 diabetes, and these findings could have a major impact on the over 537 million adults worldwide who suffer from the disease.”
The scientists conducted a 3-month intermittent fasting diet intervention among 36 people with diabetes and found that nearly 90% of participants, including those who took blood sugar-lowering agents and insulin, reduced their diabetes medication intake after intermittent fasting. Fifty-five percent of these people experienced diabetes remission, discontinued their diabetes medication, and maintained it for at least one year.
Results of the study challenge the conventional view that diabetes remission can only be achieved in those with a shorter diabetes duration (0-6 years). In fact, sixty-five percent of the study participants who achieved diabetes remission had a diabetes duration of more than 6 years (6-11 years).
“Diabetes medications are costly and a barrier for many patients who are trying to effectively manage their diabetes. Our study saw medication costs decrease by 77% in people with diabetes after intermittent fasting,” Liu said.
Reference: “Effect of an Intermittent Calorie-restricted Diet on Type 2 Diabetes Remission: A Randomized Controlled Trial” by Xiao Yang, Jiali Zhou, Huige Shao, Bi Huang, Xincong Kang, Ruiyu Wu, Fangzhou Bian, Minghai Hu and Dongbo Liu, 14 December 2022, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The other authors of this study are Xiao Yang of Hunan Agricultural University, the State Key Laboratory of Subhealth Intervention Technology and Changsha and Tourism College in Changsha, China; Jiali Zhou of Hunan Agricultural University and the Department of Shizi Mountain Primary Care in Changsha, China; Huige Shao and Bi Huang of Changsha Central Hospital in Changsha, China; Xincong Kang of Hunan Agricultural University, the National Research Center of Engineering Technology for Utilization Ingredients From Botanicals and the Hunan Provincial Engineering Research Center of Medical Nutrition Intervention Technology for Metabolic Diseases in Changsha, China; Ruiyu Wu of Hunan Agricultural University and the State Key Laboratory of Subhealth Intervention Technology Achievement Application Center in Changsha, China; Fangzhou Bian of the University of California Irvine in Irvine, Calif.; and Minghai Hu of Central South University in Changsha, China.
The study received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.