There is evidence to suggest that diabetes complications can be reversed if strong diabetes control and a healthy lifestyle are followed. Control of blood glucose levels can lead to diabetic complications development slowing down or even regressed in some cases. Usually when diabetic complications is mentioned it’s almost always said that the development of diabetic complications can be slowed rather than reversed. However, in theory the body can do some healing of the damage from complications as long as the right conditions are met.

Reversal of diabetic complications

In 1983, a study was published showing that when a damaged kidney from someone with diabetes is transplanted into a subject without diabetes, the kidney showed signs of healing. [178] A study in 2015 by researchers in Kyoto, Japan showed a similar effect. Kidney biopsies taken a year after transplantatio, from someone with diabetes into someone without the condition, showed evidence of healing. [179] In 2011, researchers showed that someone with diabetes showed evidence of kidney healing after receiving a pancreas transplant. The results showed that whilst evidence of healing was not significantly apparent at 5 years, at 10 years the kidneys were ‘markedly improved’. [180]

Reversal of diabetic complications with ketogenic diet

Researchers have found that diabetic complications can be reversed in mice studies, by dietary methods alone. In the study, mice that had diabetes and had developed diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy) were put onto a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet which allowed the mice to regain kidney function. Further research will be needed however to show evidence that complications can be reversed in humans.

Has anyone with diabetes successfully reversed complications?

To date, reversal of complications in people with diabetes, outside of pancreas or islet cell transplantation, has only been recognised on an anecdotal basis. A number of members of the Forum have noted reduced symptoms of neuropathy and improved kidney function since achieving better control of blood glucose levels.

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