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Breaking: Antioxidants Prevent Type 1 Diabetes (But There’s a Catch)

By on June 19, 2013
For decades, researchers have struggled to find a solution for preventing type 1 diabetes–but now they believe a cure could be in your grocery aisle.

A recent study conducted by the University of Colorado shows that rats exposed to antioxidants faced a lesser risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

For those at risk of developing the deadly condition, this news is just too good to be true–but it’s not.

How the Study Uncovered a Potential Anti-Diabetic Benefit

Conducted by the University of Colorado, researchers had rodents prone to type 1 diabetes undergo a series of test to determine the viability of antioxidants as a anti-diabetes aid. Some of the mice were injected with a synthetic antioxidant; others were not given injections and served as a control group.

The findings shocked researchers: The mice who received the antioxidant injections did not develop type 1 diabetes. The control group did not fare as well.

“Mice prone to the disease were treated with the antioxidant and compared to control mice,” says Geoff Michaels, a reporter for NewsFix, which originally reported the story. “The antioxidant either delayed or prevented diabetes, while all the control mice developed the disease.”

But why? Researchers believe it has to do with how antioxidants interact with free radicals, atoms or groups of atoms that have been linked to cellular damage–and to a larger extent, an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. By injecting antioxidants directly into the body, the cells receive a boost of antioxidants that can protect against free radical damage, which prevents the onset of type 1 diabetes.

For those at risk for the disease, the news couldn’t be better–but unfortunately, an earlier 2001 study conducted on children at risk for type 1 diabetes didn’t fare as well. Those exposed to high levels of antioxidants did not experience any change in their diabetes risk.

How to Minimize Your Type 1 Diabetes Risk

While antioxidants could have the potential of reducing your risk of type 1 diabetes, you shouldn’t rely on it–studies conducted on humans show it may not be that potent. Still, there are ways you can keep your risk low–here’s how:

  • Get more healthy fats into your diet. Research shows that a type of healthy fat, called omega-3, may lower your risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Make sure to practice healthy hygiene habits. Staying away from people who are sick, always washing your hands, and eating a healthy diet that supports a good immune system are all ways to keep your health protected. And it really counts too: Viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus and coxsackeivirus have been linked to a higher incidence of type 1 diabetes.
  • Get vaccinated. Mumps, a type of virus, has been known to trigger an autoimmune response that can increase your risk of type 1 diabetes. A simple vaccination can protect you from this virus.

Readers: Are you at risk for type 1 diabetes? What are some other ways you minimize your risk?

Sources:
Antioxidants May Prevent Type 1 Diabetes – NewsFix
Type 1 Diabetes Study – PubMed

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