I’m Jackie and you can find out about me from my about me page on another blog. Since this blog will be almost entirely about me, and my journey to attempt to reverse diabetes, I didn’t bother with an “about me” page here.
Why does a post about diabetes have a Pacman? The reason is autophagy, a word which means self-eating. Autophagy is the process by which lysosomes within a cell eat malformed proteins and/or damaged organelles, breaking them down into their component parts so those parts can be used to rebuild.
Autophagy is distinct from apoptosis, in which entire cells die. It is a relatively recent discovery; Yoshinori Ohsumi having won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering it. It has implications for life extension, autoimmune diseases, cancer treatments; all sorts of healing.
Whenever I hear the word autophagy, I hear the little Pacman sound effect in my head, imagining it going around eating all the bad bits inside my cells. Not wanting to inflict an annoying autoplaying sound on my readers, I instead chose a rather silly logo. Of course, now that I’ve explained, many of you will have the sound playing in your head!
Speaking of my readers, I do expect to write in a more technical manner here than I did on previous blogs. However, you don’t have to have taken advanced science courses to read here; all the technical terms are hoverable and should give you a popup definition on computers, some tablets, but few phones. If this doesn’t work for anyone, or if I didn’t define a term you don’t understand, please click to let me know; I intend for this to be accessible to as many people as possible.
BTW, I am utterly useless at graphics and have no intention of learning how to edit videos. What I am good at it writing; so expect rather a lot of it here!
Back to autophagy: the primary known method to induce autophagy is via fasting, which I am fully aware is not an idea that thrills anyone. It didn’t thrill me!
Fasting does not have to be extreme; there is the notion of intermittent fasting, which is simply not eating around the clock. When I was a kid, we ate at 7AM, noon and 5PM pretty much every day. There were exceptions of course, but for the most part, we had a built-in 14 hour fast daily.
Since then, we have come to believe it is healthier to eat multiple small meals a day and it is nearly considered abuse to expect a child to survive from one meal to the next without a snack.
Intermittent fasting is a new phrase, but it is not a startling modern concept; everyone ate that way when I was a kid.
I’ve never known people who did extended fasts that went on for multiple days. The first time someone told me she’d done so, I thought she’d gone off the deep end, as you’ll read in a future post.
In addition to autophagy, fasting has a profound affect on the production of insulin. Insulin levels increase most when we eat carbohydrate, but also to some degree when we eat protein. This rise is repeated every time we eat, and an overproduction of insulin can lead to insulin resistance over time; this leads to metabolic syndrome and eventually T2 diabetes.
Fasting also seems to preferentially reduce visceral fat as opposed to subcutaneous fat. Reducing fat around the liver may improve insulin resistance; reducing fat around the pancreas may allow better beta cell production of insulin. Reducing insulin resistance and increasing insulin production is what I am calling reversing diabetes.
So my goals for fasting are threefold:
- prevent worsening insulin resistance by limiting insulin spikes
- reverse diabetes by reducing visceral fat
- repair diabetic damage via autophagy
You are cordially invited to be a voyeur for my journey!