By Charlie G ❘ 2011

Throughout the 18 years that I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes, I read a lot about the subject, visited different types of physicians, and tried different diets and alternative treatments.

My research and experience made it clear to me that there are many possible causes for diabetes and, therefore, there are many types of therapies or treatments for it.

I am providing a list of all possible causes (of either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes) that I’ve heard of or read about. Many of them will not be “officially” recognized as causes of diabetes, but if you know me you also know that “official” matters little to me! Since no one seems to know the exact causes, the list is more of a collection of hypotheses of possible causes.

Many doctors and websites say that the main cause of diabetes is the body’s inability to produce insulin or even insulin resistance. In my opinion, these are symptoms, not actual causes.

25 Possible Causes of Diabetes

inheritance cause diabetes1. Hereditary: this is one of the main hypotheses for causes of diabetes, which appears to have a consensus among allopathic doctors, naturalists, and scientists. In some countries diabetes may be more prevalent than in others, since several members of one family might have the disease.
The thing about having a hereditary disease is that you don’t know for sure if it will develop; it depends on other factors that trigger the gene that activates diabetes. There are cases of twins, one of them developed diabetes and the other did not. Therefore, if you have a family member who has or had diabetes, you should take care of proper nutrition, exercise, and avoiding stress (or developing good coping mechanisms!) to ensure the lowest chance of developing diabetes.

obesity causes diabetes2. Lifestyle: this is another one of the most acknowledged causes of diabetes. This term refers to the type of life one leads. That is to say the food you eat (your diet), whether or not you exercise, if one has other habits that impact one’s health such as obesity, poor sleep, smoking, drinking alcohol and other habits.
While some say that the food itself (e.g., eating too many sweets) does not cause diabetes directly, they could cause it indirectly. By eating sweets or refined flours one is constantly bombarding one’s pancreas with simple sugars, which pass very quickly into the blood. As a result, the pancreas is constantly strained to keep glucose levels under control. In addition, too much glucose in the blood causes inflammation of internal tissues, which could contribute to causing diabetes or other associated diseases.
Obesity is also directly associated with diabetes. The epidemic levels of cases of diabetes in the world parallel to the increase of obese people. Indeed, it seems clear that today poor nutrition in industrialized societies, the lack of regular exercise, combined with high levels of stress in our daily lives, are causing 50% of humanity to be in worse health than they were 50 or even 100 years ago! Given all the scientific and educational advancements, statistics should be the other way around: people should be in better health.

autoimmune system causes diabetes3. Autoimmune processes: this is a cause mainly associated with Type 1 diabetes.
Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas of people with Type 1 diabetes are destroyed by cells that normally protect us from invading organisms. What triggers this is still not clear, but there is some evidence suggesting that a virus infection or cow’s milk can start the process of the body to attack its own cells.
There seems to be evidence that the pancreatic beta cells (responsible for the production of insulin) have significant inflammation, leading the immune system to create a type of antibody which is responsible for destroying these cells. Others say it’s some kind of virus that directly attacks the beta cells of the pancreas. Still others associate this process to emotional states, as an autoimmune disease is a metaphor for an “allergy to himself,” so continued long-term psychological or emotional issues could cause the problem of self-attack.

4. Environmental factors: in different countries there are different incidence rates of diabetes according to race, climate, diet, latitude, etc. Which makes one suspect that unidentified environmental factors act as predisposing to diabetes. (1)

5. Glucose intolerance: 1/4 of people with glucose intolerance developed diabetes. Some patients‘ intolerance actually experienced it to be reversed. Modifying your diet and adding exercise may slow -or even stop!- the process that leads to diabetes.
Glucose intolerance may last 7 to 10 years before the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The intolerance often goes undiagnosed, until it develops into full-blown diabetes.

stress causes diabetes6. Stress: there are scientific studies suggesting that depression, general emotional stress, and anxiety (along with sleep disturbances, anger/hostility) are associated with an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Stress can cause diabetes because in that state the body produces the adrenaline and cortisol hormones, which result in increased blood sugar. Stress can also cause you to make wrong eating choices. Some scientists believe that stress is the cause of 95% of diseases.

7. Age: a clear fact is that diabetes, especially Type 2, is much more prevalent in adults from the age of forty. The older the age group, the higher the incidence of diabetes. A shocking 80% percent of diabetes cases occur after age 45! This could be because, as a person ages, they become less active and tend to gain weight, causing dysfunction of the pancreas.

virus cause diabetes8. Virus or illness: some research suggests that viral infections may trigger diabetes in genetically susceptible individuals.
Among the suspected viruses are enteric viruses that attack the intestinal tract. Coxsackie is an enteric virus of particular interest. Epidemics of the coxsackie virus (as well as mumps and congenital rubella) have been associated with the incidence of Type 1 diabetes.
In a scientific study, 73 pancreatic samples of young people who had died from diabetes were examined. The results found that 60% of the organs contained evidence of beta cell infections from entero viruses.
By contrast, researchers barely found any infected beta cells in tissue samples taken from 50 children without diabetes (2).

vaccines cause diabetes9. Vaccines: “Currently, vaccines are related to increased cases of allergy (rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, …) and autoimmune diseases (diabetes mellitus or multiple sclerosis). This is because in the people receiving innoculations, the vaccines stimulate a reaction of the defense system (immune system), which then protects one from getting the diseases to which they were vaccinated. While vaccinations can cause allergic reactions and various types of diseases (such as autoimmune), the same alteration of the immune system, can instead cause the immune system to protect us against external aggressors such as bacteria and other kinds of germs. However, this change of the immune system can also result in attacks on our own body, either by producing an excessive response (allergy) or affecting specific organs (diabetes or multiple sclerosis).
It is assumed that vaccines could alter the functioning of the defense system, favoring the emergence of these diseases.”(3)

backbone and diabetes10. Accident or trauma: a chiropractor and an osteopath I visited a few years ago told me that my diabetes could have been caused by a car accident that I had a year before discovering my diabetes. This might come into play: the strong emotional stress of the moment, the emotional guilt later on, trauma, or blockage of any vertebrae in the backbone through which passes the energy/communication that connects with the pancreas.

11. Parasites in the pancreas: recently I found that research shows that many diabetics have a parasite known as Eurytrema (Eurytrema pancreaticum) or pancreatic fluke.
eurytrema pancreaticum causes diabetesThrough the repeated consumption of beef and derived products (especially when raw or semi raw), the pancreas is continually re-infected with the parasite. It has also been shown that the accumulation of wood alcohol (methanol) in the pancreas provides a good breeding ground for this parasite in the pancreas. Surprisingly, methanol is found in many popular foods, either through packaging or preparation, including water bottled in plastic, cans of soft drinks, artificial sweeteners and even baby formula. “By killing this parasite and removing wood alcohol from the diet, the need for insulin can be cut in half in three weeks (or sooner!).”(4)

cell communication & diabetes12. Poor cellular communication: cellular communication is receiving a lot of attention from many scientific magazines in recent years. As I wrote in another article on glyconutrients and cellular communication, we can not be healthy without good cellular communication. Every cell in every body’s systems needs to constantly communicate to do its job. If this communication is broken or blocked in some way, there will be some organ or tissue that won’t get the necessary nutrients to function properly, and the cell won’t know what is missing or needed.

vitamine D diabetes13. Lack of vitamin D: for years naturopaths have warned about the impact of Vitamin D deficiency. Finally, it seems that this issue is being taken more seriously. After observing more than 5,000 people over 5 years in an ongoing study conducted in Australia, researchers found that those with Vitamin D levels lower than the average, had a 57% higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those people with levels in the recommended range.
Previous studies have shown that Vitamin D may also help to keep blood sugar levels under control, helping Vitamin D release more insulin.
Vitamin D has also been associated with reduced risk of asthma, heart disease, and certain forms of cancers.
The main source of Vitamin D is the sun. That is to say that when we’re in the sun we get charged with this vitamin. It is estimated that in some societies, like the United States, 90% of the population is Vitamin D deficient. Some studies are relating this deficiency to the Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes epidemic.
Researchers from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in May 2004 that Vitamin D improves insulin sensitivity up to 60%! (5)

gestational diabetes14. Pregnancy: As with other types of diabetes, the causes of gestational diabetes are unkown. Gestational diabetes may be due to insulin resistance by cells in the body, which is of equal amounts in non-diabetic pregnant women as when they are not pregnant, but in diabetics is found to be three times higher than when not pregnant. The placenta is responsible for providing nutrients and water to the growing fetus, and produces several hormones to maintain pregnancy, which in turn can have a blocking effect or act against insulin (6).

drugs cause diabetes15. Medications: Certain drugs or medications (such as steroids and Dilantin) can raise the blood sugar through a variety of mechanisms. Other medications (such as alloxan, streptozocin, and thiazide diuretics) are toxic to pancreatic beta cells and, thus, may cause diabetes. Clozapine (Clozaril), olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel) and ziprasidone (Geodon) are known to induce this lethal disease. (7).

16. Toxins: the results of a research study (“Toxins and Diabetes Mellitus: An Environmental Connection?”) suggests that two environmental toxins, arsenic and dioxin (dibenzo-p-dioxins), may have some association with increased risk of diabetes. It should be noted that the results only indicate a possible link between diabetes and environmental toxins (8).
It is also known that long-term exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of Type 1 diabetes, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases (9).

17. Alcohol: alcohol use disrupts the pancreas and can cause pancreatitis, diabetes, peritonitis, and so on.

cow milk cause diabetes18. Infant exposure to cow’s milk: the protein in cow’s milk directly harms the pancreas of some babies by causing a complicated autoimmune reaction where the baby’s own immune system attacks the pancreas. The result will almost always be Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Several clinical studies indicate that children with Type 1 diabetes drank cow’s milk at a younger age than other children without diabetes. (10)

19. Pancreatitis: “Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. It occurs when the enzymes that digest food are activated in the pancreas instead of the small intestine. Pancreatitis may be acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis is very sudden and lasts for a few days while chronic pancreatitis occurs over many years. Chronic pancreatitis has multiple causes and painful symptoms.”(Wikipedia)

hypothyroidism cause diabetes20. Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. While this causes many complications in itself, hypothyroidism can lead to other health problems, one of them being diabetes. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to stimulate the metabolism, causing all the body systems to slow down.
When a disease such as hypothyroidism is involved, the pancreas decreases its ability to convert blood sugar into energy. This complication can lead to diabetes.

21. Polycystic ovary syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that affects up to 10% of women in the age of fertility.
Common symptoms include infertility, menstrual irregularities, obesity, excess facial and body hair. Up to 10% of women with POS develop Type 2 diabetes at 40 years and more than half of women with POS will develop both Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes at that age. (11)

gluten22. Gluten intolerance (Celiac disease): between 5 and 10% of people with type 1 diabetes also have gluten intolerance, although many do not know. In fact gluten intolerance may be what is causing their diabetes, especially in young children and if you act fast and find to have celiac disease, go to a gluten-free diet as soon as possible. It could stop and even reverse the process of diabetes (or at least use less drugs, insulin …) Therefore, ask your doctor to take a test of gluten intolerance as soon as possible after having been diagnosed type 1 diabetes (it also works if a long time passed by, but the reversal of diabetes could be easier the sooner you know it and act on it), especially if there’s family history with diabetes or celiac disease.

diabetes and alkalinity/acidity23. Acidic blood: I recently read a book with a different approach to the cause of diabetes and how to cure it. The book is “The pH Miracle for Diabetes” by Dr. Robert O. Young. It is based on the theory that diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, is not a problem of the pancreas that can not produce insulin or properly use it, but a problem of over-acidity around pancreatic cells (and generally in all the blood from the body.)

Dr. Young prepared clinical trials with type 1 and type 2 diabetics and in many cases they were able to lower insulin doses in a very high percentage and some even stop needing medication, following an alkaline diet complemented with alkalizing supplements.

diabetes and fatty liver24. Fatty liver: having fatty liver disease (a.k.a. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) causes insulin resistance and therefore, if sustained over time, can develop diabetes. Recent research has confirmed that the accumulation of fat in the liver also increases the risk of cancer mortality and cardiovascular risk.

According to the head of the Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, at the Barcelona Hospital Clinic, it is estimated that 20% of people with type 2 diabetes have fatty liver.
Other studies estimated at 34% the number of adults with fatty liver (even 10% of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years).

These sort of muds in the liver are one of the factors causing part of the metabolic syndrome.

Thanks to Elida who sent me her testimony where she explained that her glycosylated hemoglobin A1C decreased from 10.5% to 5.6% in just two months after cleansing the liver along with proper diet and other natural treatments.

25. A mistake of the beta cell: An international team of researchers led by City of Hope’s Bart Roep has been able to justify an alternative theory about the cause of type 1 diabetes (T1D) through experimental work. They have found a mechanism in which stressed beta cells are actually causing the immune response that leads to T1D. In his own words “Our findings show that type 1 diabetes results from a mistake of the beta cell, not a mistake of the immune system.” Roep and the other researchers believe it is a ‘wrong read’ of the insulin gene itself that proves to be a major target of the immune system. This error product of the insulin gene is made when beta cells are stressed. “Our goal is to keep beta cells happy, so we will work on new forms of therapy to correct the autoimmune response against islets”, Roep said.


As you can see, there are many possible causes of diabetes, some with more scientific rigor, others less, but even if there was only one person whose diabetes was caused by one of the hypotheses mentioned above, it is worth mentioning and studying. At the end of the day, not just large study groups have value; each of us is important and worth to consider the cause(s) or optional treatment(s) of the disease in each case.

Chances are that in most cases several factors combine to cause diabetes.

Update March 2013: I’ve just tested a new product that identifies the root biological causes of your diabetes (and other symptoms) and provides recommendations to solve those problems. Here you can read my experience and review of the product.

So, my questions to you are:
Did any of these causes speak directly to your gut?
What will you do with the information/statistics/data you just read?
Are you going to try to find the most likely cause of your diabetes?
Are you going to seek a remedy to that cause?

Please share your ideas below.


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5 Comments on The 25 Causes of Diabetes

  1. Wow, it has been quite a while since I enjoyed a post like this THAT much! Thanks. You got me excited and I just want to chip in a few things. I think weight loss only goes down to two things – eat well and exercise right. But I do think that fasting does help too. Just don’t go to the extreme and things should be fine.

  2. More evidence links pesticides, diabetes…

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People with relatively high levels of certain pesticides in their blood may have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes — particularly if they are overweight, a new study suggests. The study, reported in the ……

  3. JD says:

    I am amazed that you have been able to discuss this information. I have been searching for “real help” for 17 years. I am not absolutely convinced at this point but I am going to keep reading your views. Thanks for the insight.

  4. […] many doctors and scientists affirm, diet is one of the leading causes of diabetes (clic that link to know other 21 possible causes of diabetes), so being diabetic and keeping […]

  5. […] some time, stress has been directly linked to diabetes. There are some theories that even point to stress as a possible cause of this disease. Causing it or not, the truth is that stress can affect blood sugar levels, usually causing […]