Nutrition could regulate gene that reverses diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New research shows that regulation of a gene with the right combination of nutritional compounds that control inflammation might also reverse and even cure diabetes. The findings suggest that diabetes, even in the presence of obesity, can be avoided or reversed with the right combination of nutrition.

The PFKFB3 gene has been studied by scientists for the role it plays in cancer. It also controls metabolism and is commonly linked to inflammation that leads to diabetes. The focus of the new research is in looking at :metabolic inflammation: that differs from other types of inflammatory processes in the body. Controlling metabolic inflammation with diet and nutrition could reverse diabetes.

According to Dr. Chaodong Wu, AgriLife Research nutrition and food scientist who authored the paper with the University of Minnesota's Dr. Yuqing Hou, "Because we understand the mechanism, or how the gene works, we believe a focus on nutrition will find the way to both prevent and reverse diabetes.”


Dr. Wu explains that just being overweight does not mean an individual will develop diabetes – controlling metabolic inflammation may be the key to preventing, reversing, and even curing diabetes.

Dr. Wu plans to collaborate with nutritionists in hopes of discovering the right combination of nutrition and supplements that will prevent or stop the progression of diabetes. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. When the body cannot metabolize glucose properly blood sugar levels rise, producing more inflammation, and robbing the cells of needed energy. Complications of diabetes include heart disease and a wide array of vascular problems that can lead to blindness, stroke, neuropathy and amputation.

For now Dr. Wu says focusing on a healthy diet is still important. He recommends consuming fish and other seafood. Finding the right combination of nutrition could regulate the PFKFB3 gene in a way that reverses and may cures diabetes. "First we will need to identify what effective compounds will trigger the gene to regulate metabolism", Wu said. "Then we need to determine what combinations within foods are more effective." The discovery of how the PFKFB3 gene works to regulate metabolism brings scientists closer to finding a way to cure diabetes.




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