Can your pancreas heal?

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Can your pancreas heal?


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Old 05-29-2012, 03:03   #1
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Default Can your pancreas heal?

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54 years old
very active with yoga, weights, dirt bikes, YMCA etc
5' 11' 175 lbs

life long arrogant horrible diet.
3 main food groups were sugar, carbs and more sugar
always thought since i worked out so much i was fine

Ha1c was 6.5 fasting BS was 115 about 6 months ago
doc said headed to diabetes
said my diet was pathetic

I radically changed diet to atkins like with little carbs.
basically, if it had carbs i did'nt eat it
monumental changes

Ha1c went to 5.5 BS 114

slacked off some on carbs 9still MUCH better then life long diet)

ha1c went back to 6.4 bs 115

disappointed. another wake up call that i needed to get more serious about this. got doc to give me BG tester

Now learning more and using GI index to add some new things

I have 2 questions.

is the MAIN goal to avoid spikes in BS? So even though a food has what seems to be alot of carbs (ie: all bran)
the fact GI index is low makes it ok? because the spikes are what harm pancreas?

the other question is can you 'heal" your pancreas if you have screwed it up with life long crap diet? if i keep this on this great diet can i look to a goal of getting fasting BS normal?

By the way, for anyone else reading this, I feel so much better since changing my diet. It has blown me away.
I sleep better. am more calm and happier. never really tired.
i think i was %^^&*$ addicted to the highs of the sugar and didnt know how the ups and downs mess with your lives.

thank you very much in advance

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Old 05-29-2012, 05:05   #2
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Welcome aboard! Sure glad to hear you finally got a meter . . . it should become your best friend. But no, you can't heal your pancreas; once a diabetic, always a diabetic. You absolutely CAN get your fbg to a normal level though!

The high blood sugars don't damage the pancreas per se. What they damage is your retinas, kidneys, vascular system . . . which is why you hear of uncontrolled diabetics going blind, going on dialysis, and losing extremities by amputation due to poor circulation and neuropathy.

The GI business has been useless to me, because my aim is to stop the spike completely - not just arrest it for a little while. All the GI tells us is how fast/how hard it will hit. What I try to avoid is getting hit at all, so I go strictly by the carb counts. Having used my meter extensively in the beginning, I know which foods spike me and I no longer eat them. My method is called is 'eating to my meter'. My meter gets the last say over whether I use any given food item in my meals; any food that bumps my blood sugar up over 140 (7.7) gets deleted from my menus. Many of us work up our own food plans - although Atkins is a good one - but we use a concept called low-carb/high-fat, which means replacing the carbs in our diet with fats. Because protein can also be converted to glucose in the body, we take care to keep protein intake low/moderate too. But any natural saturated fats and/or monounsaturated fats are fair game to fill out your meals & provide satiety & freedom from hunger. It also lowers your cholesterol and often your blood pressure. I have the lab results to prove it, and so do many others here.

There is lots of good information and great wisdom here, and anything that's confusing to you, or seems peculiar, just ask.

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Old 05-29-2012, 05:41   #3
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Actually I have a slightly different view and that's based on what i've read in Dr Bernstein's book.

I just read that he's of the opinion that if you truly control your blood sugars (His definition of normal is "truly normal blood sugars at all times", something like in the low 80s) there is some level of healing of the pancreas that happens. But he did not conclude a complete healing but a healing to some extent.

But yes once a diabetic, always one.

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Old 05-29-2012, 11:39   #4
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The first 6 months after an "insult" to your pancreas, ie really hyperglycemic, DKA, etc, there is measurable recovery of beta cell function. After that, recovery levels off.

That is per publications from a group at UT who study KPD, or ketosis-prone diabetes.

You can also improve your insulin resistance by developing your muscle mass. (though if you are very active, I have no idea how you can improve that!).

ETA: Shanny? Hyperglycemia does damage beta cells, they have glucose receptors and take up glucose at a very high rate. I am not sure of the threshhold at which it does cause damage, though .... I think it is quite high. Believed to be part of the reason that many T2Ds become insulin dependent.

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Last edited by foxl; 05-29-2012 at 11:46.
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Old 05-29-2012, 13:22   #5
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My tuppence worth.

As the others have said, once you become diabetic or even just "glucose intolerant", you have to accept that for the rest of your life you need to do manually what the pancreas does automatically for a non diabetic. And that is to monitor your blood glucose with the aim of keeping it at a sensible level at all times. As Tony says, that means a fasting value in the 80s if possible and a one hour post meal figure below 140, dropping to 120 by two hours.

If you are type 2, the chances are that some of your issue arises from insulin resistance rather than lack of insulin. As you get your blood glucose level down to normal, that resistance will reduce and you get what seems to be a recovery of beta cell function. I'm personally not convinced that it's a genuine recovery, more just an improvement in effectiveness - but that's just my view.

I do agree with Dr Bernstein's view that insulin stimulating medications like Prandin don't do us any favours. Do you red-line a damaged car engine? I certainly wouldn't.

So, again just my view, yes I think the first aim of diabetic management is reducing the impact of blood glucose spikes. Borrowing again from Dr Bernstein's book - the "law of small numbers" should be applied whether you need medication or not. What that boils down to is that you eat things that do not create serious spikes in the first place. That means that if you need medication to handle even those spikes, the dose of medication can be kept down to smaller values. Then an error in dose or timing won't generate a frightening hypo/hyper roller coaster.

How? Forget the GI - It doesn't matter how a substance compares to sugar in a lab experiment - what matters is what it does in your body. This is a very individual thing. There are some things that I can eat that you will consider lethal and vice versa.

You have to, using Shanny's phrase, "eat to the meter".

To start with this will use a lot of test strips but once you have identified your problem foods, you can cut back on the tests - but you can never relax completely. Always be on the look out for changes to sources of food or "new improved recipes"

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Old 05-29-2012, 13:30   #6
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I find that Diabetics who had a terrible diet prior to diabetes, seem to get much better results when they take control of their diet and start to eat low carb. Usually the new Lifestyle diet really lets them get much better bgs. So in that case their insulin resistance has diminished and their pancreas is working much better. I ate really healthy before diabetes, vegetarian, mostly vegan. So for me it was a much longer road to get good control over my bgs. I am super sensitive to carbs so I think I still have significant pancreatic damage that has not been healed. So I really think it is an individual thing. But use your meter to know what foods are good for you as an individual.

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Old 05-29-2012, 14:38   #7
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No hard and fast rules about who and how much healing can occur -- as I see it: the Pancreas (beta cells) is under a double assault of being BOTH

* overworked by trying to secrete ever greater amounts of insulin to control Blood Glucose in the face of an high-carb diet, while trying to overcome (and simultaneously adding to) the increasing levels of insulin resistance (IR)

AND

* as Linda points out above -- being damaged by (later) ever higher levels of BG which cause toxicity.


By the time of diagnosis (which may be years or even decades after the deterioration starts), I have read estimates ranging from 50 - 80% of beta cell function having been lost. The remaining functional cells may be enough BUT only if we limit the demands on them.

Think of it like holding your hand near a flame: the damage can range from slight redness that is resolved in minutes, through blisters that may take a few days to heal, through to third degree burns where the only option left to the body is to replace the damaged cells with scar tissue.

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Old 05-29-2012, 15:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fgummett View Post
No hard and fast rules about who and how much healing can occur -- as I see it: the Pancreas.
Other than BS101, do you know of any place that offers a reliable review of research on the issue? It'd seem off the top of my head that this might be a perfect application for someone to do some research into stem cells to see if they can be used to form new beta cells.

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Old 05-29-2012, 15:10   #9
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CDB you might try an on-line search such as "beta cell damage type 2 diabetes"

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Old 05-29-2012, 15:23   #10
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I always recommend Pubmed.gov, for peer-reviewed articles!

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