Insulin production present in half of people living with type 1 diabetes for 10 years

Insulin production still occurs in about half of people with type 1 diabetes that have been living with the condition for 10 years or more, Swedish researchers have found.

A team from the Uppsala University in Sweden studied 113 people who had been living with type 1 diabetes for more than a decade.

They tested the participants using an ultra-sensitive method of identifying C-peptide in the blood. C-peptide is a protein released with insulin but not found in the insulin that people with type 1 diabetes get on prescription. Therefore, if C-peptide is found in the blood, it shows that insulin is being produced by the pancreas.

The results showed that nearly 50 per cent of those participants still produced insulin and that those that were producing insulin had higher levels of a protein called interleukin-35 (IL-35).

The researchers state that IL-35 has been shown to help block the differentiation of a type of immune cell known as T-helper 17 cells. In doing this, IL-35 may help to dampen the immune attack on the beta cells of the pancreas which produce insulin.

The researchers noted that they do not know is whether those levels were already higher prior to their diabetes diagnosis, or whether the level of IL-35 increased over the years.

Previous research, conducted by the same team, had discovered that levels of IL-35 were lower in people who had been newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when compared to healthy individuals.

The earlier study suggested that it is possible to prevent the development of diabetes, or even reverse it, by carrying out treatment involving IL-35 in animals. They believe that IL-35 could hold the key to possible future treatments for diabetes.

The findings from the most recent trial has been published online, ahead of print, by the Diabetes Care journal.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison.

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, very-low-calorie diets and exercise.

For guidance on healthy eating to improve blood glucose levels and weight and to fight back against insulin resistance, join the Low Carb Program.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.

Ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant to insulin – also known as insulin resistance, which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

In advanced stages, type 2 diabetes may cause damage to insulin producing cells in the pancreas, leading to insufficient insulin production for your body’s needs.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors

A number of factors can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

These include:

The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes is also influenced by genetics and environmental factors. For example,…