An international study showed that a special diet can protect against type 1 diabetes and beneficial to the immune system. Autoimmune type 1 or juvenile diabetes develops when autoreactive T cells destroy the cells that secrete insulin.
Researchers from CSIRO and Monash University developed this special diet which uses starch that is resistant against the usual digestion process and can travel to the colon where the gut bacteria is able to break them down. This fermentation process creates acetate and butyrate which, when combined, provides complete protection against type 1 diabetes.
Food and Gut Bacteria
Researcher Dr Eliana MariÃ±o said, Western food damages our gut bacteria and also affects short-chain fatty acid production. Our research showed that following a diet which facilitates the production of high levels of butyrate or acetate by gut bacteria enhances the integrity of the intestine lining, which minimizes pro-inflammatory factors and increases immune tolerance. We discovered that this had a great effect on the development of juvenile diabetes.
Professor Charles Mackay, who started the research, mentioned that the study pointed out how non-pharmaceutical methods like special diets and gut bacteria might cure or prevent autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes.
“The findings show the beginning of a new era in curing human disease by using medicinal foods,” Professor Mackay said. “The materials we utilized are digestible resistant starches that are a regular part of our food. The diets we used are highly effective at producing useful metabolites. I would call them as an extreme superfood,” he mentioned.
Professor Mackay insisted that the food we eat should be special food through a special process that is managed by dieticians, nutritionists and clinicians. The researchers' team is expanding their research to evaluate diet’s impact on obesity and other inflammatory diseases like asthma, food allergies, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
Written by Lax Mariappan, MSc