Saturday, September 15, 2012

Are There Skinny Diabetics?


One of the ongoing mysteries of type 2 diabetes research has been that sometimes people who aren't fat nonetheless become diabetic. The reason may be genetic.


Italian scientists who conducted the Verona Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Study have found that type 2 diabetics who have high blood sugar levels but who aren't overweight often have abnormalities in a gene called TCF7L2. When this gene does not function correctly, the beta cells may stop producing enough insulin but fat, muscle, and liver still respond to insulin properly. Usually type 2 diabetics develop insulin resistance and then their insulin-producing cells "burn out." When the problem is genetic, and with this gene, then diabetes comes without the years of insulin resistance and weight gain first.

This also means that if you are thin and diabetic, taking chromium won't help you. Chromium improves insulin resistance, and that's not your problem. This means that if you are thin and diabetic, exercise won't help you specifically help you with diabetes, load-bearing exercise will help you in a very different way. If you are insulin resistant, exercise reduces insulin resistance. If you are not insulin resistant, load-bearing exercise at least helps clear out excess blood sugars in the post-exercise period.

But if you are thin and diabetic, you just may be able to deal with your high blood sugar levels with injected insulin. That's actually easier than dieting and exercise, and maybe for you, insulin will take care of diabetes without making you gain weight. It sounds painful but once you learn how to give yourself the shots, they don't hurt at all (assuming you use a 29-gauge needle). Otherwise, you need to be very, very careful with your diet, especially about foods diabetics need to avoid, and either way you need to test your blood sugar levels regularly to know whatever you choose to do actually is working.

Selected Reference:

Bonetti S, Trombetta M, Malerba G, Boselli L, Trabetti E, Muggeo M, Stoico V, Negri C, Pignatti PF, Bonora E, Bonadonna RC. Variants and Haplotypes of TCF7L2 Are Associated with {beta}-Cell Function in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes: The Verona Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Study (VNDS) 1. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Photo credit: Thanks to By אנדר-ויק • שיחה.אנדר-ויק at he.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

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