Sunday, February 09, 2014
Yoghurt slashes diabetes risk: Daily pot can reduce chance of developing Type 2 by a quarter, claims researchers
This is another correlational study but it seems better controlled than most so there may be something in it. Yoghurt is easy to digest so may ease strain on the pancreas
Eating a pot of yoghurt a day may help keep diabetes at bay, claim researchers. Regular consumption of yoghurt cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than a quarter, according to a new study.
Similar health benefits come from other low-fat fermented dairy foods, such as fromage frais and cottage cheese.
Taken together, eating modest amounts of yoghurt and low-fat cheeses reduced the chances of becoming diabetic by 24 per cent over an 11-year period.
The greatest gain came from just 4.5 standard 125g pots of yoghurt a week, which resulted in a 28 per cent cut in risk of diabetes.
Scientists at Cambridge University said it was the first study of its kind, where dietary habits were recorded in advance to determine whether they could affect diabetes risk.
Lead scientist Dr Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University, said 'This research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages.
'At a time when we have a lot of other evidence that consuming high amounts of certain foods, such as added sugars and sugary drinks, is bad for our health, it is very reassuring to have messages about other foods like yoghurt and low-fat fermented dairy products, that could be good for our health.' The number of Britons diagnosed with diabetes is over three million - equivalent to almost one in 20 of the UK's population.
Most have type 2 which is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet.
It occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to process blood sugar, leading to high levels which can damage body organs and years of ill-health.
The new research involved participants in the large Epic-Norfolk study looking at links between diet and cancer in more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk.
Researchers compiled a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed in the course of a week by 4,255 participants, including 753 who developed type 2 diabetes over 11 years.
Previous studies have suggested dairy products might have a protective effect on the risk of diabetes.
Consumption of total dairy, including high-fat dairy and low-fat dairy foods, was not associated with new cases of diabetes once factors such as healthier lifestyles, education, obesity, other eating habits and calorie intake were accounted for.
But people with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented products were more than a fifth less likely to develop diabetes than non-consumers.
Yoghurt made up more than 85 per cent of the fermented dairy products studied and when examined separately, it was linked to a 28 per cent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
The effect was seen in individuals who consumed an average of four-and-a-half standard 125 gram pots of yoghurt per week.
Consuming yoghurt in place of a snacks such as crisps was also found to reduce diabetes risk.
The analysis covered all kinds of low fat yoghurt - up to 3.9 per cent fat content - including those with added sugar.
The findings appear in the latest edition of the journal Diabetologia published by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
The research used food diaries compiled in advance which is more specific about beneficial foods than asking volunteers to remember what they ate, and less likely to be affected by memory lapses.
The researchers believe beneficial probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K in fermented dairy products may help to explain the results.
Because these products are low energy-dense foods - naturally low in fat and high in water content - they have an independent effect on diabetes risk, it is thought.
Could a cure for type 1 diabetes be in sight? Scientists discover how to turn ordinary skin cells into those that produce insulin
Certainly a great leap forward if it works in humans
A diabetes cure could be in sight after scientists transformed ordinary skin cells into pancreatic cells producing insulin.
Scientists used a step-by-step technique to reprogramme skin cells called fibroblasts taken from mice. At the end of the process they created immature precursors to pancreatic beta cells, the body's insulin 'factory'.
When these cells were injected into mice genetically engineered to mimic symptoms of diabetes, the animals' blood sugar levels returned to normal.
The U.S. research is a major step forward in the hunt for a stem cell solution to type 1 diabetes, caused by the body's own immune system attacking and destroying insulin-making beta cells.
Around 300,000 people in the UK have type 1 diabetes, which is distinct from the much more common type 2 version of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes usually strikes in childhood and dooms sufferers to a lifetime of self-administered insulin injections, without which their blood sugar would reach lethal levels.
Earlier attempts at using stem cells to replenish lost pancreatic beta cells have been largely disappointing.
Professor Sheng Ding, from the Gladstone Institutes and University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), said: 'The power of regenerative medicine is that it can potentially provide an unlimited source of functional, insulin-producing beta cells that can then be transplanted into the patient.
'But previous attempts to produce large quantities of healthy beta cells - and to develop a workable delivery system - have not been entirely successful. So we took a somewhat different approach.'
A major challenge to generating large quantities of beta cells is that they have a limited regenerative capacity. Once they mature, it is difficult to increase their numbers.
Professor Ding's team overcame this obstacle by stepping further back in the cell's development.
The researchers first collected fibroblast skin cells from laboratory mice, then used a cocktail of chemicals to reprogramme them into immature 'endoderm-like' cells.
Endoderm cells are stem cells from one of the three primary layers of an early stage embryo. They eventually mature into the body's major organs, including the pancreas.
A second chemical cocktail was used to nudge the endoderm-like cells into a further stage of development, causing them to take on the properties of early pancreas-like cells, or PPLCs.
'Our initial goal was to see whether we could coax these PPLC's to mature into cells that, like beta cells, respond to the correct chemical signals and, most importantly, secrete insulin,' said co-author Dr Ke Li, also from the Gladstone Institutes in California.
'And our initial experiments, performed in a petri dish, revealed that they did.'
The scientists then injected the PPLCs into mice modified to have high levels of blood sugar, a key indicator of diabetes.
One week later, the animals' blood sugar began to decrease until it approached normal levels. When the transplanted cells were removed, there was an immediate glucose 'spike', showing a direct link between the treatment and blood sugar control.
Two months after the cell injections, the PPLCs had given rise to fully functional insulin-secreting beta cells in the mice.
The ground-breaking research is published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
'These results not only highlight the power of small molecules in cellular reprogramming, they are proof-of-principle that could one day be used as a personalised therapeutic approach in patients,' said Dr Ding.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:33 AM