Medically supervised fasting could eliminate the need for insulin in some patients with type 2 diabetes, according to findings in BMJ Case Reports.
Three men who'd had type 2 diabetes for 10 to 25 years — and who were taking various pharmacotherapies, including insulin — underwent nutritional training and were instructed to fast for 24 hours three times a week for several months. On fasting days, they ate just dinner. On nonfasting days, they ate lunch and dinner. Low-carbohydrate meals were advised, and participants were seen twice a month for lab testing.
Among the findings:
- All three patients were able to discontinue insulin within 5 to 18 days. Two ultimately stopped all diabetes medications.
- All participants saw reductions in hemoglobin A1c, and none experienced symptoms of hypoglycemia.
- All three lost weight (10%–18% of body weight) and reduced their waist circumference.
- Patients described feeling "terrific" and "excellent" on fasting days.
- The researchers write, "Educating patients on the benefits of fasting ... may aid in the remission of (diabetes) and curtail the use of pharmacological interventions."
As you know from previous blogs, I have been recommending intermittent fasting for a few of my patients. Most commonly, I recommend the 18-6 fast where you eat from noon to 6 pm and fast the rest of the day and night. In this case study they used the intermittent 24 hour fast. I typically limit this fast to two non-consecutive days a week. However, extreme health issues like chronic, insulin dependent type II diabetes often calls for extreme measures. In this scenario, fasting three days per week is warranted.
I am not surprised by the results. Type II diabetes is often reversible, even when insulin dependent, with appropriate diet and exercise. However, without lifestyle improvements, no amount of supplementation will resolve insulin resistance. As Dr. Schippel said at my seminar last weekend, “you can’t supplement your way out of this.”
The most interesting aspect of these cases is that all three patients felt “terrific” and “excellent” on fasting days. What has come out of clinical studies on fasting is that patients with insulin resistance do feel great when they fast. However, patients that do not have this aspect of metabolic syndrome, and especially hypoglycemics, often feel terrible as their blood sugar dips too low.
If you have Type II diabetes or are pre-diabetic (having an A1c over 5.6%), consider intermittent fasting as an important tool in reversing insulin resistance. The higher the A1c, the more dramatic the fasting needed. So if you are prediabetic, try the 18-6 fast a couple of days a week. Make sure you fast under the supervision of a qualified nutritionist, who can guide you through the process and support your efforts with adequate supplementation.
Source: October 10, 2018 Medical News Today