Research on Insulin Production May Help Stop Diabetes

When someone develops Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas typically quits producing insulin. Hold that thought for a minute.

Your body needs insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, and prevent serious damage to circulation, vision, heart health, kidney function and more. It’s why Type 1 diabetics typically need a steady source on insulin via a pump or injections.

For people with Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is often the problem. The pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to regular blood sugar levels on it’s own. So medication, and lifestyle changes are necessary.

Now back to Type 1 diabetes and insulin.

Here’s what’s interesting. Not everyone who develops Type 1 diabetes stops producing insulin. Some people with Type 1 diabetes also have higher levels of a molecule (IL-35) that supports the immune system. And this group still produces insulin, according to a recent study.

What does this mean? It’s still too early to tell. More research will be required to fully understand why some people with Type 1 diabetes can still produce insulin. But it does suggest that there’s hope for treating or curing diabetes.

If researchers can find a way to elevate levels of IL-35, it’s possible this could become a treatment option naturally increasing insulin production, and ultimately control or stop diabetes.

But that’s probably going to take some time. The study looked at 113 people living with diabetes for more than a decade. About 41 percent were still producing measurable levels of insulin, but not enough to manage diabetes without medication.

But that could change if researchers are able to learn how to manipulate IL-35. It appears to be a promising way to treat diabetes. And there’s at least one added benefit. Higher levels of IL-35 also helps strengthen the immune system.

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you’ll still need to keep your blood sugar levels in check until this becomes a proven treatment practice for diabetes. Until then, medication, a diabetic-friendly diet, and regular exercise are proven and effective ways to stay healthy when you have diabetes.