Here is an interesting comment. One of two things is at work here:
1-As she notes, this may be a bounce back period in which the pancreas is not completely destroyed and is still working in spurts.
2-They have removed the environmental irritants that CAUSED the Type 1 in the first place (gluten, grains) and her daughter is thus recovering from the disease and might have narrowly avoided a lifelong condition which involves insulin injections, significant health issues and and almost certainty of a shortened lifespan. And the recommendation from the endocrinologist? “Feed her what she wants, dose insulin appropriate to that…”
That’s fracking Avant Garde!
Best case scenario, this little girls will need to limit some foods but will not suffer from this horrible disease as a consequence. Worst case scenario, this little girl can manage the condition better with a low carb paleo diet than any other approach. In fact, she can keep her blood sugar and insulin levels in aange which will not be detrimental to her health. Unlike the current standard of care.
I’m still waiting for Theresa and Eddie to give me their alternative approach for folks to try…
Thanks so much for the blog. My daugher (6) was diagnosed Sept 10. My husband and I are crossfitters (now), but have been into various types of excercise for years (weight training, powerlifting, etc.). About a week after our daughters diagnosis, we realized too that we were feeding her injections and it seemed like we should clean up her diet and then see where we were at.
We (all 3 of us) went Paleo. And the next thing will amaze you, but her blood sugar readings began to drop like a stone, and we began to reduce her insulin injections in order to avoid so many lows. The poor kid was spending more time in the nurses station eating food to bring her blood sugar up than she was in class. Eventually, we had to stop giving insulin completely, as even 1 unit of Levemir would cause her to have lows all day long.
She has been off of insulin for a couple of weeks and we continue to test her blood every 2 or 3 hours. We have located a new Endo who we hope is open to working with us on her diet (previous guy actually said – “feed her whatever she wants and give her insulin accordingly”).
Perhaps this is the infamous ‘honeymoon’ phase, or she was misdiagnosed (the previous endo did not do c-peptide or antibody test – only looked at her and said “shes 6 years old and thin, she must be a type 1?) but I will tell you that her improvements began the very DAY we started the Paleo diet.
Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone!!!
A Cross Fit Mom.
Nick Wilson says
Amazing story, I’m always blown away when I see posts like this. And well done to the family in question, you did the right thing! I only wish I’d know the efficacy of a paleo approach when I was diagnosed T1 in 1998.
It sounds to me like it could be a combination of your points 1 and 2. The honeymoon is very rarely strong enough to mean NO insulin is required – it sometimes means reduced dosages, or often just means you get really stable bloods for a while. In fact, I believe it’s common practice to intentionally keep injecting some insulin to give the recovering islet cells a “crutch” and try to prolong the honeymoon. But I can’t remember ever hearing of a honeymoon period where insulin treatment has to cease altogether for a matter of weeks as the patient cannot tolerate even a single unit of exogeneous insulin – that implies the islet cells have recovered a LOT of function, far more than normal. Low carb eating alone doesn’t usually account for this – so the removal of environmental irritants could well be the saviour here.
Seriously, the best I’ve ever heard of is people simply having excellent control for a long period – A1C’s of 5.1 or so – while needing relatively small amounts of insulin. These are the cases that get hailed as examples of the best you can expect from the honeymoon period, so complete cessation of insulin for 2+ weeks seems pretty outstanding to me!
I’ll keep my fingers crossed the condition stays in remission – certainly a low-carb paleo approach will give the child the best possible chance of this, or of maintaining great control if worst comes to worst and the condition presents again.
Slight aside, but great to see the content flowing regularly again!
Chris - ZTF says
Awesome Robb. Keep this stuff coming, these stories are so powerful in getting people in the right direction!
Sorry this is large, but here is an amazing story about type 1 diabetes and Paleo. An exert from The Paleo Diet newsletter.
Vol 5 Issue 35 Type 1 Diabetes and the Paleo Diet
We believe that the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes (T1D) may be preventable through diet if caught early enough. This seems reasonable because it typically takes some time for the complete destruction of beta cells, which make and release the hormone insulin that controls the level of glucose in the blood.
The following report from Michelle is very interesting because some type 1 diabetics are “brittle.” In other words, the beta cells are completely destroyed and cannot produce insulin. Diabetes becomes apparent when 80-90% of the beta cells have been destroyed.
In Michelle’s case, there may have been sufficient function in some residual cells that were allowed to regain function when the change in diet halted the autoimmune response.
Here’s Michelle’s experience and you can follow her progress on her blog.
“I’m a type 1 diabetic and have been on the Paleo Diet for 7 months. After weeks of going Paleo, my insulin needs dropped dramatically, and after 6 months, I quit taking insulin altogether!
The Paleo Diet is a miracle for autoimmune type 1 diabetes! I just started a blog about it: http://michellestype1diabetes.blogspot.com/.”
Dairy and Diabetes
Eliminating dairy, as Michelle did by following the Paleo Diet, may remove potential proteins found in cow’s milk that may be involved in T1D, such as:
Beta (ß)-lactoglobulin (BLG)
BLG is a protein found in the whey portion of cow’s milk (but not in the whey of human’s milk) that has structural homology with the human protein glycodelin, which is responsible for the modulation of T-lymphocytes1. This means that BLG could generate antibodies to glycodelin, and indirectly lead to autoimmunity in genetically susceptible children1, especially if introduced early in life when there is increased intestinal permeability1, 2.
Bovine insulin (BI)
Cow’s milk, human’s milk, and presumably milk from all mammals contain insulin2. Immunity to BI is common in children who consume cow’s milk or who have been exposed to infant formulas containing cow’s milk2. Because BI differs from human insulin by only three amino acids, it can generate antibodies against human insulin in genetically susceptible individuals with increased intestinal permeability and other gut dysfunctions2 and/or enteral virus infections in their early years2, 3.
Bovine serum albumin (BSA)
This is another protein in cow’s milk that doesn’t exist in human’s milk. Antibodies against a specific peptide in BSA, called ABBOS, have been found repeatedly in the majority of patients with T1D4-6. This is relevant because there is molecular mimicry between the peptide ABBOS and a beta-cell surface protein p694, one of the autoantigens attacked by T cells in T1D patients.
Peptide beta (ß)-casomorphin 7 (BCM-7)
BCM-7 results from the breakdown of proteins into peptides and amino acids during digestion of the A1 variant of bovine ß-casein7. Since this peptide has opiate-like activity7, it could “influence the development of gut-associated immune tolerance, or suppress defence mechanisms towards enteroviruses, both of which have been implicated in the aetiology of diabetes mellitus type 1”7.
Grain and diabetes
By following the Paleo Diet, Michelle also eliminated grains that include gluten (wheat, rye, barley and oats). Gluten is a well-known environmental trigger of another autoimmune disease frequently associated with T1D called celiac disease8.
There is an interesting report in medical literature of an adolescent, who had abnormal blood glucose and insulin levels, testing positive for islet cell auto-antibodies (a marker of T1D development) and celiac disease. After following a gluten-free diet for 6 months, the adolescent became islet cell auto-antibody negative, and presented normal glycemia (glucose in the blood) and insulinemia (insulin in the blood).9
It is also known that diabetes progresses faster in rats when gluten is included in their diet early in life10, 11.
One research study reported that: “Diabetes onset was delayed and diabetes incidence was significantly reduced in female mice that received the wheat and barley protein-free diet throughout life”12.
Similarly, a gluten-free diet in people with a high risk for T1D led to significant improvements in their insulin response during a glucose tolerance test13.
The main reason why gluten may be involved in T1D (and other auto-immune diseases), and why celiac disease is normally associated with other autoimmune diseases involves one of the proteins in gluten – gliadin. Gliadin up regulates zonulin14 (a protein expressed in gut tissue), thereby increasing gut permeability (not only in celiac patients, but also in “normals”)14, which is a very important factor underlying T1D2,15-20.
Other factors involved in increased intestinal permeability
As readers are aware, there are other dietary factors in Neolithic foods that can increase intestinal permeability. This includes lectins (present in legumes and grains), saponins (found in legumes, potatoes, peppers, alfalfa sprouts, root beer, quinoa and amaranth), and alcohol.
Fatty acids, vitamin D and diabetes
In addition to eliminating dairy and gluten, the Paleo Diet may help stop beta cell destruction by correcting the omega-6/omega-3 ratio21.
We also recommend that people optimize their vitamin D status by getting enough sunlight or with supplements. This may also help to halt beta cell destruction and prevent the development of T1D22.
Next time, we’ll take a look at new research that shows how well the Paleo Diet protects you from disease compared to other diets. We’ll also suggest ways to help your kids keep up their great nutrition at school.
Another interesting link to type 1 diabetes: A1 verses A2 milk causing an auto immune reaction.
Ben W says
This is great! Keep us updated!
I am trying to wrap my head around Insulin and its effects on infertility. Is it the fact that when your body can’t read insulin anymore because you ate too much damn sugar you won’t activate estrogen receptors? Or does insulin resistance somehow lower the estrogen production, therefore your estrogen is to low and chronic to make any preovulatory peak? Combination of both?
Read Light’s Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival
Sex lies and menopause
In a nutshell: elevated insulin leads to too much estrogen (and other androgens). If you want to research this look at insulin and sex hormone binding protein (SHBP).
why is insulin resistance linked to obesity if the action of insulin is to shuttle fat into adipose tissue? shouldn’t insulin be less able to promote fat accumulation?
Dan- Buy a book like Protein Power Lifeplan.
Paleo Garden says
One of the scary things about the epidemic of diabetes isn’t only that it’s founded on incorrect dietary dogma from the 1970’s that refuses to take into account the understanding of insulin via increased carb ingestion research that’s been down subsequently, but pushing carbs on kids and adults had its origins in sexual repression. It’s horrible that shaming humans into eating more carbs to allegedly improve our morales has caused kids to suffer. To the Cross Fit Mom, I wish you peace and health in your family, thanks for sharing, it reminds me of the stakes involved in teaching my kids good nutrition.
Longtime lurker, first time poster. I’ve gone paleo thanks to you and I also CF. From prior blogs, I’ve noticed a whole slew of symptoms that have disappeared with switching to Paleo. Do you think it could possibly work for allergy related asthma?
Both my kids suffer from allergy related asthma (they were both diagnosed by 6 weeks of age- strange I know) and have been on Xopenex solution since (seems to really only flare up during weather changes and manifests itself through serious bouts of coughing). My oldest (9 yoa) has been on Singular since age 2. I control it quite well and it they’re both very active kids. I’d just like to get them off meds if they don’t have to be on them.
Heal the gut (remove grains, legumes and dairy) and you will see a marked improvement in both asthma and allergies. It works!!
What would be bad ass, is if you could actually get any of the “Docs” that are worth a damn and following these guidelines to give you a link to where they are, or even their websites. There are too many S&@t bag doctors out there that don’t give a hoot as to actually helping anyone. Of course, there are as many victims too.
We are working on a physician network that is knowledgeable about this stuff. And a continuing education program for physicians (and other folks) predicated on all this stuff. Just takes TIME!
Ben W says
Read both, many many times. Wiley only mentions it once in each book.
“high levels of insulin down-regulate the production of this protein, leaving excess amounts of enormous growth factors like estrogen circulating to ensure reproductive capability when the carbohydrate food supply is high.”
pg.149 Lights Out
Did some research on SHBP and led me to some good stuff. Too high of estrogen seems to put FSH out of wack. Interesting shit. Thanks Robb!
Light’s Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival has got to be one of my all time favorite books. Keep up the posting of results as real world results tell more than a bunch of researchers fractionating rat brains ever will.
casey h says
hey rob, just a quick question. for long term low-carb diet affects the overall body response to blood pH and stress from the ketoacidosis.
that’s not a question brother! Use your google fu and tell me the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis.
You are hanging out with too many dietitians! I’ve explained it on this blog, so has Mike Eades at his blog. Then read the FAQ and find the line regarding acid base balance.
Great post, and it just adds to the amazing power of one’s diet over their lives. I myself am a type-1 diabetic and although I haven’t yet cut out grains and gluten completely, I notice my blood sugars are in a great range with a zone +paleo-ish diet. Mixing the familiar concept of weighing and measuring my food, with taking the added step of reducing my carb intake (to increase performance) has honestly made every aspect of my health improve. It seemed too large a task to cut out all grains before but now that I am here, removing the rest of the toxic components doesn’t seem so bad. In regards to the post, I received the same recommendation from my dietitian!! Also, during the training process on how to manage my condition, they explained that exercise ALONG with insulin would be the healthiest route. Upon explaining this as a part of my strategy years later, I was met with resistance.
As Robb always tells people, just experiment and find out what works best.
Give that grian/dairy free schtick a shot for a month, I think you will be impressed by the results.
Definitely going to start implementing it. But I travel back and forth to school (2hrs) with limited space (my backpack), and I find myself using fruits because they’re smaller and more carb dense. Any tips on what I can do to switch over to a veggie based diet that doesn’t require me to carry another backpack of food? 🙂
I tend to do a lot of curies and soups. You can cook the veggies down. I’ll think on that!
Robb great seeing you and Nikki today.. I am beginning my search for information. Where do you have a link to the actual paleo diet? I would like to see, read more on what this diet requires. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge.
Just checking in to let you know our little girl is still going strong! We visited with the new endo on Friday. He reviewed her last few weeks of blood sugar readings from her glucose meter on his computer (very cool how he jacked it in with a USB connection. I need that cable and software!).
He saw that she was almost completely in optimal range (70-140) with only a couple of outliers (a couple lower, a couple higher) and a mean of 96. He concurs that she needs NO insulin at this time. I was happy to have a Doc say that to me!
He did a blood draw in order to do the 4 antibody tests that the first doc did not do. He wants her back in two months but will call us when the results of the tests are back from the lab.
I don’t think the lab results will change anything we are doing, but it will be nice to know a little more about what we are dealing with here.
Thanks for the support everyone! Most regular people think grains and dairy are a MUST, especially where young kids are concerned. I know I am considered somewhat of a heretic in many circles.
I’m going to throw this on the front page so folks will see it and add some thoughts. CANNOT thank you enough for sharing your experiences. It’s impossible to convey their value.
In need of a little guidance…I’m a 29-year old female, active, 115 lbs. at 5’5″ and have begun eating LC Paleo (am well-adjusted at 50 g carb/day) after happening upon all the info that supports it. I’ve recently been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), though have basically have known for years this was a problem. My doctor wants to put me on a birth control pill to induce menstruation. I really abhor the idea of being on ANY medication, so I’ve started researching natural alternatives. A low carb diet with chromium supplementation has supposedly been shown to be effective for treating this, as it seems that it might be caused by insulin resistance. So my questions for you are:
1. Have you had any clients/blog followers who can attest to what is going around on the internet and/or do you know of any research to support these claims…most of the info I’ve found is testimonial and/or sites that don’t provided any research.
2. The diet also suggests eating fermented soy products…what are your thoughts on this? I’m not a fan of soy…
I want to have a baby within the next few years, so I’m really holding out hope here…thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
The soy recommendation is hippy propaganda…run! If you are really eating LC paleo we may need to tinker a few more things:
1-add 500mg r-alpha lipoic acid,150mcg iodine and about 6g of fish oil per day.
2-make sure you are sleeping, pitch black room, waking without an alarm.
3-NO DAIRY for you protein! You can use a little heavy cream in your coffee if you want, nothing else.
Give that a whirl for a month and let me know how things go. You could get a fasting insulin level (along with androgens) pre and post and htis would give us a good idea how you are responding.
Yeah, soy is pretty terrifying. Just wondering…are whey and 85-100% dark chocolate considered ‘dairy’ (might be a little bummed if affirmative).
Thanks for your help…will keep you posted!
Yep, no Whey for you. Dark chocolate 1-2x/week till you get better insulin readings. its not a forever thing, just to get things back on track.
Hi, there…just to check in. Have been taking all the supplements you mentioned above, continuing to eat LC paleo, and have cut the dairy. I did run some blood work a couple of days after my last post and it showed fasting insulin at less than 2, glucose at 68, free testosterone at 1 and total at 12. Not exactly sure what all of that means, but my doc says it’s all normal? Just wondering if insulin resistance applies to my situation, then…thoughts?
those numbers look pretty damn good. I’m not a doctor but to my eye that does not look like insulin resistance.
Well, I guess this one is out of this control freak’s control. Plus side…chocolate can be a daily indulgence again. Anyway, thanks for your input – take care!
Dan Dahl says
I am a physician assistant who practices in an endocrinology and internal medicine practice in Denver who studied under Dr. Cordain while getting a MS at CSU from 1998 to 2000. If anyone needs an endocrine provider who understands the paleo diet please let me know.
Robb Wolf says
I hope you signe up for the physicians network when it rolls out. BTW-Few folks will see this as it is an old post, intro yourself in the forum if you’d like,
I actually go to the Barbara Davis Center, though I don’t live in Denver. I’m type 1 diabetic (obviously). Have you had any experience with them? I love my doctor, but I’m sure he won’t like the paleo diet. My wife and I are starting the diet today. Not sure what to do about insulin.