When asked “Can Type 1 Diabetes be cured?”, most say NO WAY, it can't happen.
People reverse Type 2 Diabetes (Adult Onset) all of the time with low-carb diets and exercise, but with Type 1 Diabetes, often called Juvenile Onset Diabetes, it's a well-known “fact” that you can plan on taking insulin for the rest of your life, because once your pancreas stops producing its own, it can't start again.
But today you'll hear from Ben, and guess what? He proved them wrong.
By the way, below you'll read how he also cured himself of joint pain, insomnia, fatigue, constipation and depression. Lastly, remember neither Ben nor I are doctors, obviously, so just use the info here as a starting point for your own research.
Here's Ben's story…
I'm 22 now but was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009 at the age of 12. The physician conducting my yearly physical decided to check my blood sugar after hearing that I'd been peeing up to seven times a night and my blood glucose tested at 550. I was then hospitalized at the St. Louis Children's Hospital in St. Louis for 3 days. More testing showed my A1C was around 13 and I had the common antibodies associated with Type 1 Diabetes. The doctors told me that my diabetes was a genetic disease and that I'd have to administer insulin 3-4 times daily for the rest of my life.
I saw a nutritionist and was told that I could eat and drink anything I wanted except for syrup and soda.
Fairly quickly I began to read books on nutrition, diabetes and fitness because I found the topics to be so interesting. I also began to remove really sugary foods from my diet. However, I listened to everything I was told and took quick-acting insulin (Novalog) before meals and long acting insulin (Lantis) before I went to bed every night. I also recorded my blood sugar in a log book four times a day every day. (By the way, as a side note, you may have heard that cinnamon can help lower your blood sugar, and I thought I'd add that it did actually have a lowering effect for me. I tested it multiple times with my blood sugar meter.)
I returned to St. Louis every 3-4 months for the first few years and each time my blood sugar was improving. I think at my first 3 month check up my A1C was down to 5.9. Over the next two years my insulin dose was consistently reduced.
18 months after my diagnosis I was taken off of insulin completely.
Within that 18 months I had greatly reduced my consumption of breads and all grain products in general. I had removed almost all white sugar products from my diet. I was basically eating the mainstream ‘Paleo' diet, but I didn't realize it. I was eating meat, cheese, some fruit, vegetables (at first it was mainly raw carrots and raw cucumbers), tomatoes, bell peppers, milk, and TONS of peanut butter. I would go through multiple containers of peanut butter a week. I would still eat some less than optimal things too, like granola bars occasionally.
I was also playing sports at the time, so I was sweating pretty consistently and moving my body fluids, which I think was very important in my healing.
But I continued going to the St. Louis Children's Hospital. They have done testing to confirm that my pancreas is producing its own insulin and my A1C numbers have been below 5 for the past 3-ish years. I have not taken a drop of insulin in nearly 8 years. The doctors at the hospital still don't have an answer as to why my pancreas was able to heal, and they have even done genetic testing and ruled out a specific gene mutation that could've accounted for the healing that I experienced. I feel very blessed to have been through this, and that's basically my experience with diabetes.
But there's more to my story. As all of this was unfolding, I became quite interested in health.
I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I ended up with diabetes. From day one I was told it was a genetic disease, and that I just got an unlucky draw. However, this never satisfied me because no one in my family has ever had Type 1 Diabetes, none of my immediate or extended family. Not even my great grandparents. Additionally, the classification of Type 1 Diabetes as an autoimmune disorder never really made sense. For some reason my body began to attack itself out of no where? How is that in any way a functional trait for an immune system to have? I've always thought there had to be a reason.
Then one day the answer finally hit me!
I knew exactly why I got diabetes and exactly when it all began. I began playing junior football league at age 10 in 2007. There was one practice when I accidentally left my football helmet on the field overnight. The maintenance crew at the school sprayed the field with grass fertilizer that night and fertilizer got all over my mouthpiece. The next day at practice I found my helmet, put it on, and put my mouthpiece in. I distinctly remember the bitter taste of the fertilizer and crunching on the granules. I didn't make a big deal about it, because I was just a kid and had no idea how dangerous it was to have that in my mouth. (I have no actual proof that the fertilizer exposure was the actual cause of my diabetes, but I do strongly suspect it because of everything that happened next…)
Going into 5th grade I began to gain weight, especially in the face and neck area.
I developed a rash on my chin, around my nose, and in the creases of my eyes. I also began to get intense dandruff. It seems so clear to me now in hindsight, but I had no idea at the time. I was poisoned by that fertilizer and we know that many fertilizers/pesticides are endocrine disruptors. The pancreas in the largest endocrine gland in the body. The body strategically places foreign chemicals in adipose tissue in order to get the caustic substances out of the blood stream so they don't continue to circulate and damage important organs.
So gaining body fat is a physiological adaptation to toxicity.
Also, the body begins to excrete those chemicals from the body via the kidneys, liver and skin. As the compounds are pushed through to the skin they often irritate and leave rashes. I can only speak of anecdotal evidence here, but people have taken swabs from skin rashes and lesions and had them tested at various laboratories to find that they do indeed contain detergents, pesticides, flame retardants, etc. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig have done a great job documenting the protective and health giving effects of saturated fats. (See Sally's book here: Nourishing Fats.)
I do believe it is the most important macro-nutrient for protecting the body.
I really think reducing carbohydrates, eating peanut butter, as well as intense athletics are what made the difference for me when it came to healing my pancreas in those 18 months. I was able to give my pancreas somewhat of a break from trying to keep up with tons of carbs. My body really CRAVED peanut butter, I think it was because of all the fats in it. It's no where close to ideal and I don't eat any peanut butter today, but I think the saturated fats in it were enough to help me. (Peanut butter often contains hydrogenated fats, plus peanuts are treated with lots of pesticides, so raw butter, avocados, and homemade coconut cream are better options, but I didn't know any of that at the time. A note from Kelly: organic peanut butter with palm oil is still a fairly good option!)
Also all the sweating I did really helped move fluid to my skin and I'm sure that I perspired a lot of garbage out through my skin because of it.
There are many very qualified researchers and doctors who believe that the current explosion of autoimmunity is due to environmental pollution accumulating in the bodies of our youth. I have to agree. We also are in an age of widespread malnutrition, as I'm sure you know. So we also have less nutrients to buffer the insane amount of industrial chemicals coming into our bodies. This is a big problem. I'm not saying that all diabetes is a matter of chemicals, because I'm sure it is much more complex than that. But I bet we would see a much larger amount of healing if were were to adopt nutrient dense diets like our ancestors had. Of course, that requires much more individual participation in raising our food and I think there is a lot of value in that.
You may already know of this, but the Environmental Working Group did a study called the Body Burden in 2005. They took umbilical chord tissue from 10 newborns and found 287 industrial chemicals present. So these kids in 2005 were coming into the world with all of these chemicals. Not to mention all that they would come into contact with throughout their lives. I think we as humanity have a lot of things to change, but one step at a time…
Diabetes is not the only ill health I've experienced however.
I took multiple rounds of antibiotics when I was 18 due to chronic ear infections and they destroyed a good part of me. I lost 30 pounds, suffered with depression, joint pain, insomnia, fatigue and had constipation 1 to 2 times a week.
There was a good period of time there where I just didn’t experience joy.
One reason was the fact that I could no longer lift weights without fatigue or some kind of minor injury. I was getting a degree in exercise science and yet I felt incapable of being able to exercise, which is one of my favorite hobbies. I felt lost because of that, and I was very afraid it was going to be like that for the rest of my life. I actually spent many weekends driving multiple hours to Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis to see different kinds of chiropractors, physical therapists, body workers and so on, trying to figure out why I was in pain. The main reason I was depressed and suffered with all of those issues was because I was so deficient in nutrients and intestinal bacteria because of the antibiotics. I had stool and urine tests that showed I was not fully digesting fat or protein from my diet. I needed those nutrients to rebuild muscle, build connective tissue, build neurotransmitters, add fat to my nerves, and more. I did the GAPS protocol for a while, and took plenty of supplements.
So once I was able digest those fully once again, all of those symptoms disappeared.
A malnourished body is a depressed one, and the depression itself is feedback for the individual that they are not getting the nutrients they need. Obviously, this doesn’t account for all cases of depression, but I think it represents a large percentage of cases that do not involve traumatic experiences. (See this: 20 ways to fight anxiety and depression naturally.)
It took me quite a while to connect the dots and recover from that, but I learned a lot from this experience as well. It was as much of a mental struggle as it was physical.
Ultimately eating raw and fermented animal products was what helped me.
I have studied a lot of material on body work (structural integration/rolfing to be specific), and some of my greatest resources have been Paul Chek, Aajonus Vonderplanitz, Ida Rolf, Carl Jung, Natasha Campbell McBride, Dietrich Klinghardt, David Getoff, Kelly Starrett, Aaron Alexander, and Moshe Feldenkrais.
After I read We Want to Live and The Recipe for Living Without Disease, both by Aajonus Vonderplanitz, I began following his dietary advice. According to Aajonus, much depression is caused by lack of naturally occurring e-coli bacteria in the colon, because they are responsible for breaking down proteins and fats small enough to feed to the brain and nervous system. He also believed that constipation is another sign of a lack of proper bacteria in the gut (this correlated with much of what is talked about in GAPS and WAPF circles). Everything I knew about my body up to this point pointed to these statements as being correct. Like the fact that my stool test showed lack of proper bacteria and poor protein/fat digestion, plus I had constipation 1 to 2 times a week and I was depressed.
So I followed his diet which emphasizes raw meat, raw milk, raw butter, raw cream, vegetable juices, raw cheese, kefir, and “high meat”.
High meat is literally fresh meat (organic and pastured) that is put into a jar and left to rot for 4-6 weeks, while being aired out every 2-3 days. It is concentrated in natural bacteria that break down the meat, and they call it high meat because it gives you a buzz after eating it since it's so high in probiotics. (I’ve even heard the bacterial action on the meat produces Vitamin K2, but I don’t know if that has been proven.) The bacteria on meat and in raw milk are designed to break down animal fats and proteins rather than cellulose. Probiotics from vegetables aren’t as beneficial because they break down cellulose and carbohydrates and that isn’t as important for building new tissues. I experimented with sauerkraut years before this, along with many probiotic supplements, and never got benefits. However the kefir and high meat have really worked for me, and I am rarely constipated now. At this point I can’t recommend it to anyone because I haven't had enough experience with it. I do think it can be very therapeutic in certain circumstances though.
Another recommendation from Aajonus is in regards to minerals, which you probably know, especially if you're familiar with Weston A. Price, that they're vitally important for good health. He said that the best place to get minerals is from vegetable juices and raw animal products, including raw unsalted cheese eaten with unheated honey. The enzymes in the unheated honey help digest the concentrated minerals in the cheese. That makes a lot of sense to me.
I have since read everything Aajonus has ever written, and listened to nearly 100 hours of his lectures and recordings. He claims to have healed himself of blood/bone cancer and Type 1 Diabetes, and helped over 300 people heal their cancers. He had some radical views and crazy life experiences, but he was well spoken and much of his theory can be explained by science and physiology. I think he was ahead of his time in some ways. Anyway, I'm still following his advice and feel better every day. Really it is pretty much a raw Weston A Price type diet that is focused on detoxification of the body’s tissues. (Side note from Kelly, just FYI: Aajonus also is said to have caused some harm to the real food community because of his role in this case — but it's been so long now that I don't remember the details.)
Honestly I could continue talking about this all night, because it is basically all that I'm focused on in my free time. I think we have a great opportunity to change the world for the better and I want to be a part of that process.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Ben! Sadly, most people who are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes either won't be told that reversing it is even possible (because most don't know) OR they won't have the desire or motivation to make the changes and sacrifices necessary like Ben did — he is an impressive guy! However SOME will. Please share this to get the word out for those who want to know that this is possible and who will jump on board to take control of their own future!
Can Type 1 Diabetes be cured? More stories of healing:
First, I asked Ben if he'd heard of other cases of Type 1 Diabetes being healed, and here's what he said:
“I have heard of a few other cases of people healing their diabetes, but it's rare. The medical group Paleo Medicina in Hungary has documented reversing two cases with a high fat Paleolithic diet, which consists of only animal fat and meat. (This is called the Carnivore diet and my friend Cara can help you implement it.) They have also documented halting the progression of cancer and quite a few other illnesses. However, they are using cooked meat and restrict all dairy. (I think raw dairy should be a staple once it can be tolerated.) Recently I have stumbled upon a site dedicated to reviewing the research investigating the link to chemicals and diabetes. That site references two cases where patients were deemed to have reversed their diabetes, but I don’t think the studies had followed the patients for more than 1.5-2 years. A doctor from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital told me of a few cases where people have mistakenly been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and were found to have extremely rare genetic conditions that they refer to Type 1.5 Diabetes or MODY. These people are able to reverse their condition. As mentioned above, this has been ruled out for me through testing though.”
Can Type 1 Diabetes be cured? Here's more info I found…
- Type 1 Diabetes Cured?
- Has a British man really been cured of Type 1 Diabetes?
- Chris Kresser: Can Type 1 Diabetes be reversed after all?
- How keto and/or carnivore can heal diabetes (that link isn't specific to Type 1 Diabetes)
More you might like:
- Want to lower your carbs? Here are some of my top posts about that:
- You can eat bread again! Try these Keto dinner rolls
- How my friend with adrenal fatigue lost 20# in 2 months on Keto — plus keto Q&A (Now it's been 10 months and she's down 70#!)
- Are you Taking Vitamin D or Calcium? What You MUST Do First (Scary: My doc didn’t even know)
- The Two Biggest Lies of Type II Diabetes — Reversing Diabetes Naturally IS Possible!
- Here are all of my posts on diabetes and blood sugar issues. Some I listed here but scroll through to see them all.
- Here are all of my posts on healthy fats. Again, some I listed here, but scroll down through these to see them all.