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Researchers: Intermittent fasting could prevent diabetes
Numerous scientific studies have already shown how strongly diet affects the risk of developing diabetes. Researchers have now found that interval fasting could also help prevent diabetes.
Intermittent fasting not only helps with weight loss
According to health experts, interval fasting not only helps you lose weight, but is also said to help with high blood pressure, improve mood and improve mental performance. It is also known that this form of fasting improves sensitivity to the hypoglycemic hormone insulin and protects against fatty liver. Researchers have now found that the pancreas fat also shrinks during an intermittent fasting cure. In their study, they show the mechanism by which pancreatic fat could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Fat of the pancreas shrank
A team of researchers from the German Institute for Nutritional Research Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) recently reported that even occasional meat cuts can protect against diabetes.
And now scientists from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) from DIfE have found that in mice who were given intermittent fasting, the fat in the pancreas also shrank.
In their study published in the journal “Metabolism”, they show the mechanism by which pancreatic fat could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Examination on mice
As the DIfE wrote in a communication, fatty liver has been thoroughly researched as a well-known and frequently occurring disease.
Little is known about the excess fat accumulation in the pancreas and its effects on the outbreak of type 2 diabetes.
The research team led by Professor Annette Schürmann and Professor Tim J. Schulz from DIfE has now found that obese mice prone to diabetes have a high accumulation of fat cells in the pancreas.
In contrast, mice that, despite their high weight, are immune to diabetes due to their genetic make-up, had hardly any fat in the pancreas, but did do so in the liver.
"Fat accumulations outside the adipose tissue, e.g. in the liver, muscles or even the bones have a negative impact on these organs and the entire body, ”explains Schürmann, head of the Experimental Diabetology Department at DIfE and spokeswoman for the DZD.
"The impact of fat cells on the pancreas has not been clear," said the expert.
Avoid food at certain times
The scientists divided the thick, diabetes-prone animals into two groups: the first group was allowed to eat as much as they wanted.
The second group received intermittent fasting: the rodents were given unlimited food one day and the next day they received nothing.
The release explains that intermittent fasting means avoiding food in certain time slots. Water, unsweetened tea and black coffee are allowed around the clock.
Depending on the method, meal breaks last between 16 and 24 hours or a maximum of 500 to 600 calories are consumed within a week on two days.
The best known form of interval fasting is the 16: 8 method: you can eat on eight hours of the day and fast the remaining 16 hours. One meal - usually breakfast - is left out.
Fat cells accumulated in the pancreas
After five weeks of intermittent fasting, the researchers could see differences in the pancreas of the mice.
In group one, fat cells accumulated. The animals in group two, on the other hand, had hardly any fat deposits in the pancreas.
In order to find out how fat cells could impair the function of the pancreas, the research team isolated fat precursor cells from the pancreas of mice for the first time and let them differentiate into mature fat cells.
If the mature fat cells were subsequently cultivated together with the Langerhans islands of the pancreas, the beta cells of the "islands" released more insulin.
As the experts explain, Langerhans Islands are island-like accumulations of hormone-forming cells in the pancreas. The beta cells produce the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin and make up about 65 to 80 percent of the islet cells.
If the blood sugar level is high, they release insulin into the blood so that it can return to normal.
Promising therapeutic approach
"We suspect that the increased insulin release exhausts the Langerhans Islands from diabetes-prone animals more quickly and stops their function after some time," explains Schürmann.
"In this way, fat in the pancreas could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes," said the scientist.
Current data suggests that not only liver fat should be reduced to prevent type 2 diabetes.
"It is possible that the accumulation of fat in the pancreas under certain genetic conditions can make a decisive contribution to the development of type 2 diabetes," says Schulz, head of the fat cell development and nutrition department.
Intermittent fasting could be used in the future as a promising therapeutic approach. The advantages: It is non-invasive, can usually be easily integrated into everyday life and does not require medication.
More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:
- Interval Fasting: Losing Weight More Effectively With This Diet Trend?
- The number of diabetes cases in Germany will increase to up to twelve million in the next few years
- Diabetes is widespread in Germany - but many do not know about its illness
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- German Institute for Nutritional Research: New trail: Prevent diabetes with interval fasting, (accessed: 03.07.2019), German Institute for Nutritional Research
- Trade journal "Metabolism": Pancreatic adipocytes mediate hypersecretion of insulin in diabetes-susceptible mice, (access: 03.07.2019), Metabolism