Medicinal Food Diet Prevents Type 1 Diabetes In Study

An international study has discovered a diet yielding two short-chain fatty acids that protect against the onset of type 1 diabetes.

The specialized diet contains digestive resistant starches that are not broken down by gut bacteria until reaching the colon. The break down of these starches in the colon produces the short-chain fatty acids acetate, and butyrate. Together, these fatty acids protect against type 1 diabetes development.

Researcher Dr. Eliana Marino at Monash University points out that our Western diet affects the bacteria in our digestive tract, which in turn impacts the production of these short-chain fatty acids.

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“Our research found that eating a diet which encourages the gut bacteria that produce high levels of acetate or butyrate improves the integrity of the gut lining, which reduces pro-inflammatory factors and promote immune tolerance,” said Marino. “We found this had an enormous impact on the development of type 1 diabetes.”

These findings were presented at the International Congress of Immunology last year, and recently published in the journal Nature Immunology.

The study’s initiator, professor Charles Mackay, emphasizes that special diets influencing gut bacteria could become preventative treatments for autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes. “The findings illustrate the dawn of a new era in treating human disease with medicinal foods,” says Mackay.

Foods containing digestive resistant starches are a normal part of our diet. However, replicating the research results requires more than just eating plenty of vegetables and high-fiber edibles. Specific foods and a special process are involved that need to be supervised by nutrition and medical professionals.

Future research will test the effects of this specialized diet on obesity, and other inflammatory conditions such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, food allergies, and cardiovascular disease.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus

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