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From Hong Kong:

Am now 46, and was diagnosed at age 42. Took pills for 1 year, and have been taking insulin using NovoPen II, which I find really useful, especially for travelling. Blood/sugar levels have remained very constant and close to normal levels, and have made only minor adjustment to my diet, which still includes an occasional nice desert!

Couple of questions:

  1. Am still confused if I am Type 1 or II - pancreas still seems to produce some insulin, so think I am not insulin dependent as much as insulin supplementing. Can you give any insight on my situation?

  2. Am very interested in bodybuilding. Am 5'9", 145 pounds and have always been on slim side, with difficulty adding weight (something a lot of diabetics would envy, I guess). Would like to try some low-carb protein powers or other supplements, including creatine monothydrate. Any suggestions on how to add muscle and size without affecting blood readings (and definitely not steroids, unless some are totally safe). Would also like to contact other diabetic bodybuilders for advice.


At age 46 you might be either type 1 or type 2. The fact that you became insulin dependant right away suggests Type 1; but the only way to be sure is to have your blood tested for antibodies. You would have to get your diabetes physician to help you arrange this.The issue of dependent or supplementary is not really relevant because in both types and at various stages it is possible to have some insulin that needs supplementing or no insulin which makes you dependant on injected insulin. The real distinction is that Type 1 is a disorder of the immune system and Type 2 adisorder of insulin sensitivity.

Despite the dogma of most athletic coaches, there is no evidence that a protein intake of more than 1.5 times the Recommended Dietary Allowance is neccessary to maximise lean body mass, though additional calories are required. In a diabetic moreover there is a modest risk of hastening renal complications if you have too high an intake of protein because of the nitrogen load that has to be excreted.

There is some evidence that creatine is of value, not so much in increasing lean body mass as in improving sustained muscular work. It is available in health food stores.


Original posting 16 Nov 96


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