Pumpkin Extract...For Your Blood Sugar?

Patient Expert


This is one of coolest, weirdest things about diabetes I've heard in awhile. Pumpkin extract could be an alternative to taking insulin. A recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that after feeding Type 1 diabetic rats the extract they had "only 5 percent fewer plasma insulin and 8 percent fewer insulin positive (beta) cells than rats without diabetes." The extra is believed to have regenerated damaged pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. These cells then actually began to make insulin again. The article does state that the scientists involved don't seem to believe the extract will eliminate insulin injections entirely, but could drastically reduce the amount.

This possibility for a cure or alternative treatment is so bizarre and so fascinating to me. It's so basic. So simple. It doesn't involve stem cells and organ transplants. It doesn't involve islet cells and anti-rejection pills. It's just a pumpkin...

Due to the shortness of this article, I'm tempted to assume this is still a fairly new discovery and there is still much work to be done before humans come into the picture. And while we certainly don't want to get our hopes up and our pump tubing into an excited twist, this is really exciting.

I do strongly believe I will not live with diabetes for the rest of my life -- or even most of my life. There are so many people working on finding a cure in so many different ways. I don't care if it involves peach pits or standing on my head for a hundred minutes every day, if they find something that will help my body regulate itself, you'll have to peel the ear-to-ear smile off my face. I do believe a cure is on its way.

Can you imagine? To suddenly not be diabetic anymore? To eat cereal without counting carbs? To go for a hike without a pack of glucose tabs in your back pocket? To drink lemonade...not Crystal Light -- but actual lemonade.

It's kind of hard to fathom actually. I think it would take a long time for me to adjust, a long time to let go of that responsibility. I'd probably continue to check my blood sugar a couple times a day just to make sure I wasn't dreaming, just to make sure I wasn't going to going in to DKA or a coma. I'd have trouble believing my new reality doesn't involve syringes and test strips -- but I'll take it any way it comes.

Is it unfair to speak so hopefully about a cure? I almost feel guilty for getting anyone's hopes up if we're still going to have to wait 10 or 15 years for this incredible achievement in science...but I do think that moment will come, and I will stand in line at the hospital when it does. I hope to see you there!