A recent study published in Cell Metabolism found that fat over-spills from the liver into the pancreas and this can trigger type 2 diabetes.
The findings confirm that type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat within both the liver and pancreas and this process is reversible.
The researchers suggest that through diet and persistence, patients are able to lose fat and potentially reverse diabetes.
The sooner this is done after diagnosis, the more likely it is that remission can be achieved.
The study is from Newcastle University and one author is Professor Roy Taylor.
In the study, the team tested a group of people who previously had type 2 diabetes but had lost weight and successfully reversed the condition.
The majority remained non-diabetic for the rest of the two-year study, however, a small group went on to regain weight and re-developed type 2 diabetes.
These people did advanced scanning and blood monitoring. The team says that when a person accumulates too much fat, which should be stored under the skin, then it has to go elsewhere in the body.
The amount that can be stored under the skin varies from person to person, indicating a ‘personal fat threshold’ above which fat can cause mischief.
When fat cannot be safely stored under the skin, it is then stored inside the liver and over-spills to the rest of the body including the pancreas.
This ‘clogs up’ the pancreas, switching off the genes which direct how insulin should effectively be produced, and this causes type 2 diabetes.
Previous research had shown that patients could achieve remission of type 2 diabetes by using a low-calorie diet with support to maintain weight loss.
This study shows that type 2 diabetes is a simple health condition where people have accumulated more fat than they can cope with.
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