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Type 2 diabetes reversed with intermittent fasting

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Type 2 diabetes can be reversed with intermittent fasting—even if you’ve had the condition for 10 years or more.

Scientists had believed that diabetes was reversible only in its early stages, but new research has demonstrated it can be achieved up to 11 years after developing the condition if they fast.  Intermittent fasting can either be a period of 14 hours or so when nothing is eaten, including the time you sleep, or eating just one meal a day a couple of times a week.

Either way, the approach has a dramatic effect on diabetes, say researchers from the Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, China.  They put 36 people with type 2 diabetes on an intermittent fasting programme for three months; 23 of them had suffered from the condition from between six to 11 years.

Twenty of the participants had complete remission and discontinued their diabetes medication for at least a year after fasting, and almost all reduced the amount of medication they were taking.  Overall, the group spent 77 percent less on medication after fasting.

“Type 2 diabetes is not necessarily a permanent, lifelong condition,” said Dongbo Liu, one of the researchers.  

Intermittent fasting can have a dramatic effect on the 537 million people around the world with type 2 diabetes, he said.   

Endocrine Reviews, 2022; 43: 405

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