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  • Writer's picture Bowie Matteson

The Long Road to Type I Diabetes

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

The road to diabetes is a long one. People often feel like they're walking on glass in those first few weeks or months following a diagnosis. Cutting out this, or doubling down on that. Milking the Honeymoon Phase for everything it's worth. In reality, the loss of beta-cell functions is a relatively progressive one.

The verbiage surrounding the disease leads you to believe that your immune system attacked the beta-cells (cue the Braveheart battle scene) and left you diseased after this profound battle. Others may think COVID did it. Others think vaccines or procedures. But does that really make sense?

How many people have had vaccines and didn't get diabetes? Far more than those that did. For me, this paints a picture where there were a few too many straws on the camel's back. While you may have gotten diagnosed after a run-in with COVID, I'm willing to bet you were compromised long before COVID came around.

Think of your beta cells like a water tower supplying a small town. You start off full of water. Through a series of life circumstance like nutrition, water quality, stress and sickness, holes start to form in the base of the water tower. So you've sprung a few leaks that won't immediately disarm the tower, but give it time. Because that tower has a big red line near the bottom of the container that says "If levels fall below this line, there is not enough water to hydrate the town". So your pancreas is slowly losing beta cell by beta cell because of oxidative stress. Slowly picking away. Until finally you cross the threshold where you simply don't have the beta cell function to sustain a steady baseline of insulin to supply your body.

Type I diabetics are those living below the red line. It's interesting to note that just because your levels are below the threshold doesn't mean that you don't make insulin. You can be a Type I diabetic and still make insulin. Just not enough.The Honeymoon Phase? That's you teetering the line of enough/not enough. Then because of your bodily state of affairs, the holes you have in you water tower continue to drain the supply.

Type I diabetics have been shown to have a reduced beta-cell mass of 88-95% compared to non-diabetics. That's a big percentage.

But think of it like this: that must mean there's a big variance in how many beta cells are enough to be OK, right? 88-95% means Type I diabetes. What does 75% or 50% reduced mass mean? Pre-diabetes maybe? Or maybe there are people that have 50% beta cell mass of a typical person and have a perfectly regulated blood sugar. I don't know.

All I know is that I want to find that line of enough/not enough and devise a way to grow beta cells to that point.

And can we pinpoint the things that are causing the leaks in the beta cell water tower?

The cure lies in plugging the holes and finding a way to refill/regrow the lost cells.

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