Summary of causes and risk factors of type 1 diabetes, best diet & lifestyle
In this chapter, let’s talk more closely about the causes and risk factors of type 1 diabetes. It is known that in autoimmune diseases, immune cells, here cytotoxic T cells, recognize the body’s own tissue as an enemy and attack it. B cells erroneously produce auto-antibodies.
The auto-antibodies bind to the structures of the beta cells of the pancreas, officially declaring them to be the enemy of the immune system.
The immune cells start an inflammatory reaction and break down the affected cells. That is the main factor responsible for the development of type 1 diabetes.
We can divide the risk factors that favor such an unnatural immune response into the three categories of genetics, infections and lifestyle. The onset of the disease always occurs due to several of the factors mentioned, rarely only one.
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An autoimmune response is a drastic and very unnatural response. A lot has to get out of hand in the body for this to happen. Therefore, it is always an accumulation of different determinant conditions:
Genetics are partly to blame for what we can observe in twin studies: If an identical twin has type 1 diabetes, the other is only 33% more likely to be affected. This despite the fact that both twins are genetically identical.
Therefore, genetics are complicit but not the main culprit. The genotypes HLA-DR3 and DR4 are apparently THE genetic risk factor.
HLA genes play a key role in the development of autoimmune disease in antigen-antibody detection – and, thus, in the development of auto-antibodies.
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In juvenile type 1 diabetes, in particular, scientists suspect that certain infections promote development of the disorder. These include: mumps, rubella, Coxsackie viruses17-20. Vaccination is the safest form of prevention.
Way of life
Many factors in lifestyle or life events are now known that can favor or actively prevent type 1 diabetes. Scientifically proven risk factors are listed below:
Vitamin D deficiency
The trend is clear: Countries with a greater distance to the equator and a more pronounced vitamin D deficiency in the population have an increased incidence of type 1 diabetes. Conversely, type 1 diabetes is less common in countries near the equator (vitamin D deficiency very unlikely).
The cesarean section is completely sterile compared to the vaginal birth and so the infant cannot absorb lactic acid bacteria from the mother’s vagina in order to develop a first intestinal flora. A cesarean section doubles the risk of developing type 1 diabetes if at least one parent is also diabetic.
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The association studies are also clear here. The longer a mother breastfeeds and the later baby foods get introduced, the lower the risk for type 1 diabetes.
Whenever countries adopt the western lifestyle with lots of processed carbohydrates and sugars, trans fats and more alcohol, the incidence of type 1 diabetes increases dramatically. We can see this clearly in the former Yugoslavia after the iron curtain was opened.
The heavy consumption of sugary food leads to the increased formation of triglycerides in the liver, which can damage pancreatic cells. It is, therefore, advisable to drastically reduce sugar consumption.
Other risk factors are:
Food allergies (especially casein from dairy products)
Processed red meat (sausage, fast food)
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Dysbalance of the intestinal flora
Disturbed day-night rhythm (internal clock)
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Knowledge of the risk factors and causes for type 1 diabetes not only enables a deeper understanding of this disease but also active prevention.
Active treatment of diabetes not only through insulin but also through an adapted lifestyle? How could it look like?
Type 1 diabetes – diet and lifestyle
From the risk factors that can favor type 1 diabetes, and from scientific studies and years of experience, adjustments to diet and lifestyle are known today that can not only greatly help the clinical picture; they can also help prevent this disease.
And they can help lower symptoms, meaning people need to inject less insulin, which is an important goal for every diabetic.
This has the following advice in common, as does a reduction in the autoimmune response. Because that should also be a goal.
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Let’s take a look at the factors that can prevent type 1 diabetes or actively improve the clinical picture:
For mothers with young children and infants
Start complementary foods as late as possible (or avoid entirely). If possible, feed without grain.
Immediate administration of probiotics (cesarean section product)
For all concerned
A lot of time in nature, contact with the earth (grounding)
Lots of time in the sun
Maintain a natural day-night rhythm (do not watch TV too late, adequate healthy sleep, preferably no night shifts)
Have trace elements of magnesium, zinc, selenium and chromium checked in the blood and, if deficient, bring them to a healthy level.
Sport: Sport increases insulin sensitivity, i.e. the ability of the cells to absorb sugar even with less insulin. With frequent sports, the sufferer will require less insulin and fewer bread units of carbohydrates. Outdoor sports are especially recommended.
Actively counteract a leaky gut syndrome
Have vitamin D levels in the blood measured (target: 60-80 ng/ml)
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What to eat in type 1 diabetes?
Avoid gluten (in the form of pasta, baked goods, industrial pastries), consume cereals only in the form of sourdough products
Care for a healthy intestinal flora through a high-fiber diet with lots of colorful vegetables and probiotic foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha)
Many omega-3 fatty acids via fish, organic eggs, linseed and chia seeds
Avoid omega-6 fatty acids from sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, corn oil and meat/eggs/dairy products from factory farming
Supplement with 2-3g N-acetyl cysteine daily to give the body antioxidants again
Reduce sugar as much as possible
Consider a carbohydrate-reduced diet
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Type 1 diabetes and carbohydrates
The first goal should be to control blood sugar levels with insulin therapy and keep it in a reasonably normal range.
The next step is to reduce insulin needs and carbohydrates through diet. This is the only way to guarantee a sustainably stable blood sugar level.
A normal, carbohydrate-rich diet with lots of grain products and sugar leads to fluctuating and often high blood sugar levels despite insulin therapy.
You reach a better and more promising outcome when reducing the carbohydrates and to relying on healthy fats (olives, avocado, nuts, organic eggs, fish, meat from animal welfare, pasture butter, coconut products) as an energy supplier.
So-called low-carb diets and the ketogenic diet are well feasible with good monitoring of blood sugar and in consultation with a doctor or therapist for type 1 diabetics, and there are already initial clinical studies.
There is no need to ear Ketoacidosis even then, because it only occurs in moments with extremely high blood sugar, not with a good and healthy carbohydrate-reduced diet.
O, therefore, recommend that you see an experienced doctor or alternative practitioner who is familiar with diabetes and low-carbohydrate diets.
A good guideline for type 1 diabetes is the paleo diet (Stone Age diet). It focuses on natural and nutrient-rich foods. You can find out more about the Paleo diet in the attached article.
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The above-mentioned causes and risk factors of type 1 diabetes can occur, but they do not have to. The better the treatment and the more stable the blood sugar, the lower the risk.
What a standard therapy looks like, how to deal with type 1 diabetes in everyday life and during pregnancy and what you should watch out for, you can read in the article linked below.
Blood Sugar Control, Insulin Therapy & Pregnancy With Type 1 Diabetes
What are your experiences with type 1 diabetes and or any other related metabolic disease? Have you found a doctor who takes your complaints seriously? Tell us all about it in the comments!
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