Beta cells are cells that are located in the pancreas. They produce insulin which regulates blood sugar. From the Beta cell point of view, there are two phases in a person’s life:
- “Nothing happens to me” Phase: During this phase which may stretch, with a bit of luck, up to 30 years of age or so, people think that their body is immune to all the lifestyle abuses heaped on it, 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.
- “Nothing I can do” Phase: In 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.
The “Nothing I can do” 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.
There are some simple methods and tests that can be done to find out if the Beta cells are being destroyed/fatigued. These are:
- 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.
The most agonizing part is that 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, when we and our families are most vulnerable both financially and physically. Thus, preserving the Beta cells is extremely important as they help in keeping the diseases at bay.
Some of the measuresthat you could take to preserve the Beta Cells include having a healthy active life style that provides holistic well being, having a balanced nutritious diet, adequate physical activity, least amount of intermittent stress and maximizing undisturbed sleep. Refer to wellness orbit to know more.