Great news out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine!

The epidemic of diabetes is soaring at alarming rates and costing the US BILLIONS of dollars. Most of these cases are type II related. This disease’s devastating effects stems from the insulin resistance in the body. The phenomenon as to why insulin resistance progresses into diabetes has kept scientists scratching their heads, but a recent study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has shown that the common dual-diagnosis of type II diabetes and inflammation is more than just an unhappy coincidence.

The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is the first to identify a new molecular link between inflammation and the disease. The specific gene called IRAK1. IRAK1 (Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1) may be a key player in transition between insulin resistance to full-on diabetes.

Xiao-Jian Sun, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UM SOM, and his team discovered that IRAK1, an enzyme activated by inflammation, blocks insulin signaling in muscle which effectively reduces the ability of insulin to metabolize glucose in muscle.

Dr. Sun says that with testing for this IRAK1, it may be possible to predict how much insulin resistance is present and
how much can be reduced with weight loss or other preventive measures.


Why is this important?

Inflammation plays a huge role in almost every major disease including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. So identifying this specific link that affects the progression of insulin resistance will help doctors treat their patients more effectively, and help with slowing the rise of diabetic numbers.

The bad news is that inflammation runs rampant in our Western lifestyle. Because of the unhealthy lifestyle that has become commonplace, the causes of inflammation are numerous:

  • poor diet
  • foods high in sugar
  • processed food
  • lack of exercise
  • stress
  • infections
  • allergens
  • toxins such as mercury and pesticides

Many with type II diabetes are also diagnosed with chronic inflammation, making it even more important for those wanting to reduce their chances of developing diabetes to reduce the inflammation in their body.

You can do this by:

  • eating high fiber, plant-based, whole foods and lean meats
  • eliminating sugar
  • eating healthy fats
  • exercising
  • reducing stress
  • identifying and removing food allergies

As we are learning about diabetes and many other conditions that play a part in developing this disease, the approach to treating and preventing it must be initiated. Many people have found success with alternative treatment options such as functional medicine. Functional medicine evaluates the body as a whole, using the latest science to uncover the source of inflammation, deficiencies, and other dysfunctions happening within. They then work to bring the patient to total body health. Every day, science is learning just how important it is to focus on holistic treatment. If you want to learn more about what is missing in your overall health, check out functional medicine.

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