Freezing — A New Promising Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Before answering the questions, we should get to know two proteins, insulin and glucose transporter-4(GLUT4). It seems that even a kid knows insulin can lower blood sugar, but few of us know why.

Generally speaking, islet cells in the pancreas secrete insulin. After entering the bloodstream, insulin works straightly to our body’s fat (both white and brown) and muscle (including skeletal muscle and myocardium). Then GLUT4 among fat and muscle will transfer glucose from the bloodstream to the cells, And glucose in the cells is used to produce glycogen and fatty acids that can be stored. Normally our blood sugar levels are kept within a range, not too high.

Next, let’s talk briefly about type two diabetes and insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes, originally called adult onset diabetes mellitus, often happens after 35 or 40 years old, accounting for more than 90% of patients with diabetes.
In addition to some genetic factors and aging, obesity and overweight due to unhealthy lifestyles make main cause of type two diabetes. Just like rats in lab experience, they show insulin resistant, followed by the onset of diabetes, as a result of eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods for long periods of time.

The so-called insulin resistance refers to reduced hypoglycemic effect with the same dose of insulin. Namely, your body’s using efficiency of insulin gets lower, showing insulin tolerance or resistance effect.  Patients with type II diabetes are likely to have higher levels of insulin than normal people, but the blood sugar is not going down!

To get the blood sugar back to normal levels, abnormally high dose of insulin is needed, which is really hard for your islet cells.
For example, one is easy to be amused when he is slim. Even a simple joke can make him laugh out. Now he becomes fatter and harder to be amused. He stays calm with the previous simple joke. To make him laugh out again, we have to tell more and better jokes. Here we can say the person is sick with joke resistance.
For treating “joke resistance” and “insulin resistance”, we can start from two angles. One is to tell more better jokes and produce more insulin, the other is to reduce the person’s abnormal high laugh point and promote the human body’s insulin using efficiency, including improving the efficiency of both glucose uptake and utilization.

In fact, these two principles are followed in the clinical treatment of type 2 diabetes. Insulin injection is recommended, and drugs promote insulin secretion, such as sulfonylurea (includes glimepirid urea, glibenclamide urea, gliclazide and gliquidone ketone) are good choices. Besides, thiazole, such as Rosiglitazone and Pioglitazone, is conducive to enhance insulin sensitivity, which works to help muscle cells, fat cells, and the liver absorb more glucose in the bloodstream by boosting GLUT4 ‘s ability to transport glucose.
With the above background knowledge, let’s take a look at this scientific paper published in Nature Medicine named “Short-term cold acclimation improves insulin sensitivity with type 2 patients Mellitus “.

Here is the experience in detail: 8 patients with type 2 diabetes, with an average weight of 92 kg and an average age of 59 years, were treated with a 10-day cold treatment. All participants need to sit quietly in a room with a temperature of 14-15 degrees Celsius, wearing shorts T-shirts and taking no medicine or injections.

Yes, this test is simple. Ten days later, it’s surprising that those patients got a 43% improvement in their insulin sensitivity.  How can it be true?

According to the results of CT imaging, as shown in figures a and b, showed a slight increase in the glucose uptake of brown fat near the clavicle as indicated by the arrows before cold.

Later, a series of biopsies and molecular biology tests followed.

And the scientists found that in the skeletal muscles of these patients, GLUT4 was significantly increased, as shown in the red fluorescence in figures i and j.Scientists speculate that it is possible that GLUT4 ‘s high expression improves insulin sensitivity, improving diabetics.

In a word: this group of scientists from the Netherlands proved that staying cold for only 10 days helps alleviate type two diabetes!


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.