Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Could Dietary Tweaks Ease Type 1 Diabetes?

Foods rich in amino and fatty acids may help preserve insulin production, study suggests

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Eating foods that contain certain nutrients may help people with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes continue producing some insulin for as long as two years, a new study finds.

Although eating such foods doesn't alter the need to take insulin injections to treat type 1 diabetes, foods with leucine -- an amino acid -- and with omega-3 fatty acids may mean that less insulin is needed, according to the new research.

"After the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, a branch-chain amino acid and long-chain fatty acid were related to C-peptide levels, which are important because they've been shown to improve control of glucose, and maybe help prevent complications," said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, the study's lead author.

This is "very early work," however, and parents of children with type 1 diabetes need to continue to follow their child's doctor's orders with regard to insulin and any other medications, said Mayer-Davis, professor of nutrition and medicine and interim chairwoman of the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Foods containing leucine include dairy products, meat, soy products, eggs, nuts and whole wheat. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, especially salmon.

At least one expert wasn't convinced that these foods could make a difference in insulin production in patients with type 1 diabetes.

"Nutrition in type 1 diabetes is very difficult to evaluate," said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "It's possible that nutrition has a small effect, but people have been trying to connect nutrition to type 1 [diabetes] for more than 30 years. This study will not change my practice."

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and eventually destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone that's necessary to metabolize the carbohydrates in food. When carbohydrates are processed into glucose, insulin helps that glucose get into the body's cells to be used as fuel for the body and brain. Without insulin, glucose can't enter the cells and it builds up in the blood.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner