After a series of family losses, biochemist Dean Kilby was determined to find a better way of treating those with Type 2 Diabetes. In discussion with the Enterprise Podcast Network, he outlined the progress he’s made so far.
Speaking to host Eric Dye on the Enterprise Podcast Network’s Entrepreneurial Fit Radio show, Dean Kilby, a Sydney-based biochemist and clinical manager at collective.care’s metabolic clinic discussed his life’s work, and the progress he’s making in treating Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
Dean’s background is as a medical biochemist and biotechnologist. It was from his exposure to ill health in his immediate family from a young age which – in-part – inspired his choice of career. With Crohn’s Disease initially inflicted upon his father, fate would have him later pass away from leukaemia. Dean’s brother was a Type-1 diabetic who also passed away at the relatively young age of 43. From this, Dean was inspired to develop a career in his eventual chosen field to not only learn as much as he could about these diseases but to also about how he could help treat, and possibly prevent them.
Dean’s training was in laboratory cell growth and metabolism, as well as the various disorders associated with it; he spent many years working as a research scientist. But this time in the lab robbed him of the fulfilling experience of directly interacting with people who were dealing with these issues and allowing him to bear witness to the results of his work having an impact.
“I developed relationships with various medical experts who gave me that chance,” Dean said. This was, in part how Dean ended up becoming involved with collective.care and managing their metabolic clinic.
“It’s exciting to me,” Dean explained, “that even if I wasn’t able to make that much of a difference to my brother, and a couple of other close friends who I’ve lost along the way, I get to contribute a difference-making opportunity to other people.”
Dean’s expertise has allowed him to gain insight as to the key causes of weight issues among Australians. To him, it’s a simple cause-and-effect scenario. In this case, the over-reliance and over-consumption of carbohydrates in the Australian diet.
“Two-thirds of the adult population in Australia are overweight; half of that figure are obese. It’s a leading cause of many of the health issues people face.
“Consuming carbohydrates and sugar cause our pancreas to produce insulin, and over time, the continued consumption of carbohydrates causes the insulin receptors in our cells to become resistant to insulin. So, then the pancreas starts to over-produce insulin.”
Dean likens the process to a very common household scenario. “Imagine if your pancreas is the mother of a household, and her children are your tissues – your muscles, your liver and your fat cells which would ordinarily respond to insulin.
“If the children aren’t doing as the mother is asking, then the mother has to nag. After a while, the children kind of get used to that level of nagging, and the only option the mother has is to nag louder.
“That’s kind of what happens in our body. Our tissues stop responding to insulin, so our pancreas has to overproduce insulin.
Dean sees this as a problem, because insulin is the only hormone in the human body which can cause the creation and storage of triglycerides into fat cells.
He also highlighted that people with higher Body Mass Indexes also have elevated blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, are at dramatically increased risk of cardiovascular issues, as well as an increased risk of developing certain cancers. For women, there is an increased risk of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, all of which is related to the over-production of insulin.
“This all comes back to the over-consumption of carbohydrates, and in particular, sugar,” Dean says. He thinks that this is something that the public is steadily becoming aware of, but without understanding the full impact of what he likes to term, “glucose toxicity”.
“The carbohydrates we consume all turn into glucose, and it really is toxic for our body when we over-consume it.”
The good news is, according to Dean, that is can be reversed, through dietary intervention.
Being a new year, Dean sees the method of prioritising goals as being key to successful weight loss.
“You need to be doing it for yourself,” he says. “You’ve got to love yourself enough to make those changes and put your health first.”
But losing weight isn’t just about looking great.
“It’s really all about regaining as much health as possible.”
He doesn’t believe it’s realistic to think we can all live to 150, but Dean does think it’s possible to increase the number of ‘health span’ years.
“That’s the number of years that we live healthfully, not just get to 55 and then experience a steady decline over the next three decades. You really do have the opportunity to avoid the chronic diseases which plague western society – from heart disease to stroke, Type-2 diabetes, cancer, and degenerative neurological diseases like dementia.”
Dean feels that the risk of all these diseases can be dramatically reduced simply by better handling your weight, and therefore your health.
“It’s got to be about specific outcomes. So, think simply: what difference would it make to your life if you could simply walk up stairs without running out of breath? What if you could come off some of your medication, or reduce the dosage? Are you able to just get down and play with the kids? These outcomes, they sound simple, but they could be life-changing for many people. It all starts with that commitment to yourself.”
When it comes to what people should expect when it comes to a weight loss journey, Dean had some simple notions to keep in mind.
“Don’t go it alone,” he said. “Have someone who’s willing to work with you, someone who’s willing to hold themselves accountable for the outcome. It’s not about the right diet, and you do need the right diet. And it’s not about the right philosophical view, it’s about correcting whatever health issue you’re currently dealing with.”
By going on a low carbohydrate diet, Dean says the body is given a break from the glucose toxicity.
“It’s enough of a break where their pancreas can regenerate, and their tissues can re-sensitise to the insulin.”
Dean’s dieters lose, on average, one to three kilograms of fat per week, all the while lean muscle mass is maintained.
“This is a temporary curative time that they’re on this kind of program, at the end of it they’re transitioned back to a normal diet, where they’re taught how to maintain that result for the rest of their lives. I stabilise them so it’s no longer a concern.
“We don’t want to live a life worried about whether we’re going to be a burden to those we care about when we have a heart attack or develop dementia. We really can get on with living our lives and being as productive as possible.
“Ultimately, that’s what you want to be committed to, and you want to find people who are willing to be held accountable for that kind of result.”
Dean and his colleagues are available for consultation at their Bella Vista, NSW clinic, and can be reached online via www.collective.care.
To hear the full interview, download the podcast here.