Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food Intolerance & Diabetes

Recently I randomly picked up "The Epoch Times," in the Pepsico Forum at Darden and was surprised to find an article titled "Can Wheat Cause Diabetes?" in the life and science section of the paper. The article starts off with a plot twist discussing how wheat requires extra insulin production and then Dr. Briffa switches gears and states "However, this column is not about the relationship between wheat and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is actually the focus here." At that point I read with a new level of interest.

An article in the Journal Diabetes highlighted a study conducted by Dr. Fraser Scott that analyzed the relationship between wheat polypeptides and immune response. The study was conducted on 42 individuals with 20 of the individuals demonstrating a reaction to the protein. According to the article the rate of individuals who had reactions was much higher than expected. Similar studies that focused on milk proteins have demonstrated the same relationship. Interestingly, other auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis have already been linked to food intolerance, so why not juvenile diabetes?

Prior to my diagnosis I had always noticed that a glass of milk made me feel like a balloon and caused my derrière to be a musical instrument. I always associated that with a form of lactose intolerance but could still eat cheese, yogurt and other dairy products without any discomfort. This article makes me think there may have been something more there. The causes of juvenile diabetes are still unknown, statistics have demonstrated the form of the disease is changing though. A decade ago it was exceedingly rare for someone over the age of 15 or 16 to develop type 1, however examples of that are abound now. Interestingly, most of the people I have met who have developed adult onset type 1 have been fairly high level athletes as well. While the causes were previously thought to be viral it is becoming clearer that environmental factors are playing a huge role in auto-immune and chronic illness.

The Natural Step a consultancy focused on sustainable business practices and industrial eco-systems was founded by Dr. Karl-Henrik after he noticed the number of children he was treating in his oncology practice was rapidly on the rise. The argument over the threshold level of toxins that causes disease and illness has shifted in the past several years. Originally the argument focused on the level of toxins that would cause a severe reaction. However, scientist have now identified that a low level of toxins over an extended period of time can cause genetic triggers to turn on and off. In our sustainability class first quarter we had a scientist tell us that everything from breast milk to proteins could contain toxins and that everyone had some level of toxins in their body. As Dr. Briffa's column identifies, the game has changed and the environment is becoming a much larger component of disease creation than it was in the past.

2 comments:

PJ said...

Interesting study. Being celiac (dairy intolerant as well) and type 1, I've always been aware of the link between type 1 and gluten intolerance but I never considered that the food could be a cause.

Anne said...

interesting...

there have been shared genetic properties found in both type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, and I guess the important thing now is to tease apart just what exactly the trigger is. Here's one of many articles on the topic: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210180841.htm

Although there aren't any general guidelines given for people with type 1 to avoid wheat (to my knowledge), I do feel better when I avoid eating a lot of bread products. But that is just anecdotal for me, not scientific in any way...