A recent study, published in the Diabetes Care journal in December last year, found out that the loss of some of the fat stored in your pancreas can help restore the normal function of the pancreas, thus virtually reversing the cause of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a serious condition, affecting up to 10% of the population in the USA. It is widely known that type 2 diabetes mellitus is caused by a combination of failure of the pancreas to properly secrete insulin, as well as resistance of the peripheral tissues to insulin. For long, the pathophysiological process behind this condition has been widely speculated, yet this particular study might shed some light on the reason why the pancreas stops functioning as intended.
This particular study confirmed that the decrease of the pancreatic fat, referred to as pancreatic triacylglycerol, is associated with the recuperation of the pancreas and the restoration of the normal secretion of insulin.
Out of the 27 individuals that were assessed in this study, 18 had type 2 diabetes with a duration of the condition for less than 15 years, all within the range group of 25 to 65 years and a body mass index marking them as obese. All of the 18 individuals were appropriately matched with 9 other individuals that had a confirmed normal tolerance to glucose, while at the same time being in need of surgery. Both of the groups, with and without diabetes, were studied just before their gastric bypass surgery and at 8 weeks after the procedure.
The results of the study concluded that there was no noteworthy difference between the two groups in regards with the postoperative weight loss, and the same can be said about the change seen in the total content of body fat. In laymen’s terms, this means they all lost about the same amount of fat 8 weeks after the surgery – about 13 percent from their initial body weight. Yet, what was surprising to find out was where that fat came from and this is where the study becomes quite intriguing.
While looking at the MRI scans before and after the procedures, the UK researchers from the Newcastle University were able to deduce that the fat levels in the pancreas of the individuals who presented with a normal tolerance to glucose remained unchanged, since they were not elevated in the first place; while the participants with type 2 diabetes lost about 1.2 percent of fat from their pancreas. Furthermore, when the team looked at the levels of insulin in the blood of the 18 participants with diabetes, they found out that the levels have normalised, meaning that the pancreas has regained its original secretory function.
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