Type 2 Diabetes – Is Chronic Inflammation The Link to Developing Diabetes?


Chronic inflammation has long been associated with Type 2 diabetes. According to scientists at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Tokushima, Japan, inflammation throughout the whole body is linked with Type 2 diabetes in people without any diabetic relatives.

In March of 2017, the journal Science Reports published the results of a study on 11,102 participants between 35 and 69 years of age. Researchers measured the C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory molecule, to learn whether general inflammation could be linked with Type 2 diabetes regardless of family history…

  • the CRP levels were higher in the participants with Type 2 diabetes than in those without.
  • among the Type 2 diabetes participants, the CRP was elevated more in those without a family history of the condition than in those with a family history of diabetes or an unknown family health history.

The link held regardless of their weight-for-height. Are we dealing with more than one disease? One inheritable disease and one purely from inflammation! More work will tell.

Inflammation evolved as a strategy for fighting foreign invaders and helping with wound-healing. When inflammation becomes chronic, lasting months or years, it can cause the following aside from Type 2 diabetes…

  • lymphomas (cancer of the lymph nodes),
  • urinary bladder cancer,
  • heart disease,
  • arthritis,
  • depression, and
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

CRP levels frequently rise when HbA1c levels increase. It has been suggested keeping blood sugar under control could help with inflammation as well.

What makes for high general body inflammation? Macrophages, a type of white blood cell and other cells release several molecules that begin a cascade of reactions, producing molecules such as CRP. Molecules triggering the cascade include…

  • histamine
  • serotonin
  • cytokines IL-1 and TNF-alpha, and
  • chemokines.

Harvard Medical School in the United States recommends an anti-inflammatory diet with a lot of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some specific foods listed on Harvard’s website include…

  • tomatoes,
  • olive oil,
  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens,
  • nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Harvard recommends avoiding pro-inflammatory foods, such as…

  • refined sugars and carbohydrates including white bread and other baked goods,
  • French fries and fried foods in general,
  • sugar-sweetened beverages,
  • red and processed meats, and
  • margarine and shortening.

Pro-inflammatory foods tend to cause weight gain which can lead to inflammation, but other components of the foods also seem to be at fault. More research is needed to clarify how these foods cause inflammation in the body.