What are Beta cells?
Beta cells are unique cells located in the pancreas that produce, store and release the hormone insulin. Known as islets of Langerhans, they are one of at least five different types of islet cells that produce and secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream.
How are they important?
There are two different phases in a person’s life from the Beta cell point of view and they are-
Phase 1: Nothing happens to me
During this phase (up to 30 years, with luck) people think that their bodies are immune to all the lifestyle abuses, as nothing other than a bit of pot belly shows up externally. Internally, however, the Beta cells are getting killed due to glucose poisoning caused by excess blood sugar and/or blood fat. They are also fatigued due to increased insulin production caused by Insulin Resistance.
Phase 2: Nothing I can do
During this phase, the consequences of reduced Beta cell mass show up as Metabolic Syndrome at first and then later on, as Lifestyle Diseases (LSDs) such as Diabetes, BP, Heart attack, Stroke and even cancer.
This feeling comes because restoring the lost Beta cell mass, which may be more than 50% by the time Diabetes is diagnosed, is a herculean task due to the following reasons:
- Beta cells are a special type of cells which grow very slowly after the age of 30.
- The medicines used for treating Diabetes, other than insulin, further destroy Beta cells by way of increased fatigue.
- The grain based diet, at lower calories is required to be consumed due to our present lifestyle, does not have enough nutrients to regenerate Beta cells.
- Insulin Resistance caused by Vitamin D deficiency which is so rampant at present adds to the problem by causing Beta cell fatigue.
- Excess blood sugar caused by fermented carbs, eaten in the name of ‘healthy foods’, destroys the Beta cells faster than the rate at which they can be replaced.
- Eating at other than meal times causes Beta cell fatigue by continuous withdrawal of insulin from pancreas.
How can you find out if they are being destroyed/fatigued?
- If you have a fasting blood sugar level of over 110 and post meal sugar level of more than 140, shows that the Beta cells are killed by glucose poisoning.
- Triglycerides / HDL ratio is a rough indication of Insulin production. A ratio of more than 3 indicates excess insulin production and consequent Beta cell fatigue.
Why it’s important to preserve Beta cells?
Unfortunately, the Beta cells get destroyed by the reckless acts of youth but surfaces in the form of not only Diabetes but also as Heart attack, Stroke and even as cancer that appears during the silver years. This is why preserving the Beta cells is extremely important as they help in keeping the diseases at bay.
How can you protect them?
Now, you know that Beta cells are important to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, make sure you protect them with the help of below given tips.
- A balanced and nutritious diet
- Adequate physical activity
- Maximum undisturbed sleep
- Less stress