A pharmacist's perspective on health and metabolic disease
I apologise for my tardiness with this post, August ended up being more full-on with teaching and marking than anticipated.
After two days of the Food for Thought program about 50 people remained for the Redefining Diabetes session. As it was a smaller group, we were able to have some very productive sessions in a room that left many of feeling like we were part of the United Nations!
We heard success stories from clinical trials performed by Sarah Halberg and VIRTA health, who had predominantly low-carb strategies; Megan Ramos and the Intensive Dietary Management Program (intermittent fasting); and John Schoonbee, the medical director of Swiss Re, reported on the DiRECT trial (low calorie).
This session demonstrated that there are multiple clinically proven methods for improving hyperinsulinaemia and type 2 diabetes. What works for one person may not suit another, so we need to be continually working with the patient to be meeting their goals. It also highlighted that one of the common themes between the different strategies was the high level of support that each person needed.
It was also really interesting to hear from the practitioners including David Unwin who could clearly demonstrate that his program was very cost effective and saved a significant amount of money on pharmaceuticals – but wasn’t able to get additional funding for this service because it came from a different budget.
Stephen Phinney discussed the history of ketogenic diets across a variety of populations. and the evolution of Homo sapiens into “Homo Diabeticus”. Of especial interest was the “vicious” cycle of how type 2 diabetes is trans-generational – mothers with gestational diabetes have children more prone to earlier onset of metabolic disease, and so forth. Of more concern is that the fetus undergoes extensive epigenetic modeling which can also occur in primordial germ cells which means that male children born to a mother with type 2 diabetes may pass on an increased risk of type 2 diabetes to their children.
I spoke about insulin measurements and how difficult it is to a) get good measurements that are clinically meaningful and b) the challenges in being able to compare these across studies.
These lectures were recorded, and hopefully at some point will make it into the public domain as there was some great discussion and learning.