October 21, 2013

People with T1D Producing Insulin

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fireA study in Diabetologica describes how a certain percentage of people with T1D can be stimulated to produce insulin. This study may redefine the capabilities of people with the inability to produce insulin.

Although people with T1D are thought to have no insulin production capability, this study has shown that some people in response to food, can muster insulin secretion. In a study involving 74 T1D participants, 75% of them had insulin stimulation after consuming food.

C-peptide levels are almost never checked in people with T1D because it’s automatically assumed that their levels are undetectable. This being said, the test would be run when you get your HbA1c lab drawn. This is usually a fasting test.

C-peptide is secreted when beta cells make insulin. Assuming you haven’t eaten in 12 hours, it’s unlikely your C-peptide reading is going to measure because you haven’t needed insulin for food.

Researchers wanted to understand what protects the 75% of people from total obliteration  of insulin-producing cells? That, my friend, is the million dollar question in T1D.

The curiosity factor in my head asks if the people who had diabetes for 50 years were more likely to produce insulin after food than those who have had diabetes less than 30 years. The reason for my curiosity?

People who were diagnosed 50 years ago were treated with natural insulin (pig and cow). People diagnosed in the last 30 years were initially treated with analogues that are not natural.

The natural insulin may have had that protective aspect that allowed beta cells to survive the autoimmune attack. Analogues are designed to look identical to human insulin, not pig or cow insulin. If your body is attacking the cells that produce human insulin, the attack will continue if you’re putting the fire out with fuel that started it.

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