Have Cures for Type-1 Diabetes Been Overlooked?

Sometimes, it seems advocates of the natural health community guffaw at pharmaceutical companies for their search of a cure when there are natural substances that have been shown to aid someone or reverse a disease’s effects. Type-1 diabetes is regularly deemed as uncurable, and public and private entities have funded research into its cure.

Unlike type-2 diabetes, which is where the body becomes resistant to its own insulin, type-1 diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin. In the body of someone with type-1 diabetes, the mechanisms which create insulin are destroyed mainly or severely impaired and can stem from autoimmune diseases, viral or bacterial infections, damaging foods, or chemical exposures.

Even though the conventional medicine faction deems type-1 diabetes as incurable, there have been many peer-reviewed, published studies published which show common natural substances and plant foods may have the ability to alleviate some of the causes of the disease. For example, one of the characteristics of many of these substances is their ability to exhibit beta cell regeneration actions, which may potentially result in a cure for this disease. However, a cure using a natural compound is not profitable; thus, it is purposefully overlooked. Also, the FDA costly procedure to have something approved further adds to the cost-prohibitive nature of promoting natural substances.

In this article, we will review various substances which have been shown to exhibit beta cell regenerative actions and their respective studies.


In 2013, researchers in India investigated the beneficial effects of flax seeds in type-1 diabetic mice. The researchers found the seeds were able to produce a wide range of benefits, including improved glucose utilization of the liver, enhanced glucose forming activity in the liver and muscle tissue, and reduced pancreatic and intestinal glucosidase inhibitory activity, which can mean lower post-meal blood sugar elevations [1]. Additionally, the flax seed notably normalized plasma insulin and C-peptide levels, which is a direct indicator of how much insulin is being produced by beta cells in the body. Thus, indicating that beta cell function was effectively restored, which could have breakthrough implications for type-1 diabetes treatment [1].

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In 2007, researchers found that the amino acid L-arginine was capable of encouraging the genesis of beta cells in an animal model of type-1 diabetes. The scientists stated, “The effect of L-arginine on antioxidative defense was observed especially in restoring to control level the diabetes-induced increase in glutathione peroxidase activity …  In conclusion, the results suggest beneficial L-arginine effects on alloxan-induced diabetes resulting from the stimulation of beta cell neogenesis, including complex mechanisms of transcriptional and redox regulation” [2].

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In 2007, researchers investigated the effects of the alligator pear, also known as avocado, in type-1 diabetic rats and compared the results to non-diabetic rats. The researchers found that in the diabetic group, the glucose levels were significantly reduced, and the scientists noted the results suggested the supplement had a restorative (protective) effect on the pancreatic islet cells and the supplementation could be useful in the treatment of diabetes [3].


Berberine is a plant compound found in many herbs, including barberry and goldenseal and has been used for over 1,000 years in China as a treatment for diabetes. Chinese researchers investigated its effects and have found that it induces beta cell regeneration in diabetic rats, as well as increasing insulin expression and antioxidant activity [4].

Additionally, berberine has been shown to have more positive effects on patients with diabetes.

A 2015 study found that berberine can amend tubulointerstitial fibrosis, a final common manifestation of chronic kidney disease, in diabetic nephropathy [5]. Additional studies found the compounds to have positive effects in the diabetes model [6] [7].


Chard is a dark-leafed, green vegetable, similar to collard greens and bok choy. A study published in 2000 found that chard extract caused beta cell regeneration in diabetic rats and may reduce blood glucose levels [8].

Corn Silk

A 2009 study found that corn silk markedly reduced high-blood sugar in diabetic mice. The researchers noted this effect was caused by the corn silk recovering damaged beta cells and increasing insulin levels, and the researchers stated, “The results suggest that corn silk extract may be used as a hypoglycemic food or medicine for hyperglycemic people in terms of this modern pharmacological study” [9].


Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, and curcumin and its effects regarding diabetes have been thoroughly studied.

In a 2012, long-term study found that a curcumin derivative regenerates pancreatic islets in the experimental type-1 diabetes model in rats [10], and in a 2010 study, researchers also found that curcumin stimulated regeneration of pancreatic islet cells in a type-1 diabetes mouse model [11].

Additional studies have supported this effect [12] [13] [14] [15].

Further, studies have shown, in general, curcumin has positive effects for people with diabetes by preventing some diabetes complication.

A 2015 study found that curcumin improved skeletal muscle atrophy in diabetic mice through its antioxidative effects [16]. A 2017 study found that curcumin significantly improves blood reperfusion and increased capillary density in type-1 diabetic mice [17]. Also, a 2015 study found that curcumin might be able to prevent neuronal damage in the retinas of patients with diabetes [18].

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In a 2013, randomized, crossover study, researchers found that the long-term consumption of honey might have positive effects on the metabolic disorders in people with type-1 diabetes, which could promote the regeneration of beta cells as indicated by the increase in fasting C-peptide levels [19].

Side note: A 2011 study found that honey may be an ideal sugar substitute in patients with type-1 diabetes [20].

Black Seed Oil

Nigella sativa, one of the main components in black seed oil, has been shown to have positive effects in patients with type-1 diabetes.

In a 2003 animal study, scientists found that black seed consumption lead to partial regeneration/proliferation of beta cells [21], and in a 2012 animal study, researchers found that black seed has protective and antidiabetic effects; however, that article has been since redacted, so I cannot guarantee its authenticity [22].

In a 2010 human study, researchers found that 2 grams of black seed a day could increase beta cell function, as well as a wide range of other benefits [23].

Healthmasters offers a black seed oil product in capsule and liquid form.


Like honey, stevia may be a good sugar alternative for patients with diabetes. A 2011 study found that stevia had anti-diabetic properties and even compared favorably to the drug glibenclamide but has no unfavorable side-effects [24].

Further, a 2000 study found that stevia contains compounds which enhance the insulin secretion of beta cells [25], a 2007 study found that stevia improves and protects beta-cell function during glucotoxicity [26], and a 2010 study found that, in general, stevia has anti-diabetic properties [27].

Healthmasters offers a non-GMO, powdered stevia product.


As illustrated in the above-study review, many natural compounds act upon type-1 diabetes favorably, through promoting the regeneration or performance of beta cells or improving various functions in individuals with type-1 diabetes. However, because there is no profit in natural substances, pharmaceutical companies and the FDA will most likely continue to overlook the beneficial effects of these substances purposely.

If you have any questions about any of the Healthmasters products mentioned in this article, please feel free to call 800.726.1834.



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23656171

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17717015

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19553173

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19374872

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27529235

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27507202

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818314

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11025163

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19930631

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24279645

[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280528

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20395228

[13] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18093618

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18695642

[15] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17900558

[16] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25998196

[17] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28774328

[18] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26207889

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23256446

[20] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19941014

[21] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14690013

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23947821

[23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675032

[24] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21687353

[25] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10690946

[26] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17341549

[27] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21808578