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Biotech Medicine Science

Gut Bacteria Can Control Diabetes 271

Shipud writes "Insulin resistance is the harbinger of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is when the body cannot use insulin effectively. As a result, blood sugar and fat levels rise. Therein lies the path to morbid obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart problems. A group of Brazilian researchers have taken a strain of mice normally known to be immune to insulin resistance, and made them insulin resistant (pre-diabetic) by changing their gut bacteria. They then gave the mice antibiotics, and by changing their gut bacteria again, reversed the process, curing them of the disease. Their research shows just how influential the bacteria living in our gut can be on our health."
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Gut Bacteria Can Control Diabetes

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  • Re:To be pedantic (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:17PM (#38653550)

    That's not pedantic - it's a simple fact that seems to be lost on people. Sure, there are factors like diabetes and glandular issues that can make it easier to put weight on... but you still have to eat more than you use!

  • by kanweg ( 771128 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:21PM (#38653592)
  • Re:so (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) < minus caffeine> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:21PM (#38653600) Homepage

    There is, genetic being one of the big ones. Along with diet, age, obesity, thyroid, medication related, pregnancy, etc. And where it's genetic and it's childhood inflicted, a lot of diabetics still hold out for partial pancreas transplants or something else, otherwise it's live with it. It does work, but compatibility is the real pain. A lot of people though these days it's simply age + lifestyle. Then again, they've changed the definition of what diabetic is too. What was diabetic 10 or even 20 years ago, isn't what it is today. So a whole new broad range of people fall into it.

  • Re:so (Score:5, Informative)

    by dintech ( 998802 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:34PM (#38653808)

    Actually, you can transplant human gut bacteria to treat disease. It's called Fecal Bacteriotherapy []. It's a procedure carried out under the supervision of a doctor where you put a donor's shit up your ass. Unappealing certainly, but at least it's not 2girls1cup style.

  • Re:so (Score:5, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:37PM (#38653860)
    No, what they discovered is actually a flaw in existing research into insulin resistance. To summarize the linked article: There is a strain of mice that did not develop insulin resistance from any of the usual procedures used to induce insulin resistance in mice. This particular group of researchers noticed that these diabetes resistant mice were typically housed in isolation from normal mouse micro-organisms. These researchers housed a group of these mice in "conventional facilities" (as opposed to "germ-free" facilities, which was normal) where they were exposed to various bacteria. These mice then developed insulin resistance. When the gut bacteria from these mice were transplanted into other mice, those mice, also, developed the symptoms of insulin resistance. Finally, if these mice were given broad spectrum antibiotics (presumably killing off the microbiota that had developed in their guts) they lost their insulin resistance.
    In summation, what they discovered is that the micro-organisms that live in your intestines play a role in whether or not you develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • Re:so (Score:4, Informative)

    by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:37PM (#38653862)

    Got it backwards. Getting the right bacteria can apparently cure diabetes, or at least remove the symptoms. Killing all the bacteria with an antibiotic won't magically introduce the correct bacteria. (I retained the plural because it's not clear if there is just one strain, or if they have to work together with others)

    There is no 'reset' with bacteria, only killing some or nearly all and hoping you get the right replacements. You have to put the right ones in there.

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:46PM (#38654020) Journal
    Part of the problem is that so many people have been taught that "eating well" means avoiding saturated fat and eating lots of grains and vegetable oil, despite the evidence that such a diet has the exact opposite effect of what is claimed. Once you figure out that eating well means almost the complete opposite of what the government-sponsored experts have been telling us for the last 30 years it becomes very easy to reverse the process.
  • Re:so (Score:4, Informative)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:46PM (#38654026) Homepage Journal

    There are over-the-counter Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets that contain cultured bacteria already. Why in the world would anyone do it the way you describe? I suppose there are other helpful bacteria in your gut, but that seems to be the most significant variety in terms of its effect on everything from serum cholesterol levels to lactose intolerance....

  • Re:so (Score:4, Informative)

    by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:02PM (#38654300)

    Fun fact - Koalas eat eucalyptus (gum tree) leaves, which are pretty toxic to all other animals. They have a special bacteria in their gut which helps break the toxin down. Guess how the bacteria is passed on to the next generation?

  • Re:so (Score:5, Informative)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:17PM (#38654524) Homepage

    Another fun fact: Guess how gut flora are "seeded" in humans? Hint: It's more effective with natural childbirth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:19PM (#38654540)

    While eating less saturated fat is a good step it is not a solution and eating lots of any oil is bad, and not a serious issue unless you have high cholesterol(which can also be controlled with exercise). Eating whole grain bread and other goods as a substitute for white-bread and processed carbohydrates does spread out the sugar release and help to control hunger pangs and chocolate cravings, but you are supposed to swap them in as a substitute not eat "lots" because they are healthy which is counter-productive. I have in short never heard a real expert advocating the diet you are proposing it is an oversimplified caricature, but one oftern peddled by semi uniformed "nutritionists".

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:25PM (#38654628) Journal
    I lost 50 lbs by eliminating sugar, starches and grains (and byproducts) and replacing those with saturated fats, green vegetables and meat without even bothering to think about calories and without spending nearly every waking moment exercising. The primal/paleo diets work for a lot of people, far more than are able to make a low-calorie, low-fat diet work for any substantial period of time.
  • Re:so (Score:3, Informative)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:17PM (#38655302)
    I'd love a source for that claim. I've never before heard of the appendix described as a gut microbiota reservoir. I've also never heard of someones gut going completely sterile because of a long march.

    As long as their is something to digest in your gut, their will be gut microbes. And considering that many of the gut microbes survive primarily on Host synthesized mucus carbohydrate or sloughed Host enterocytes, I'm tempted to call "Bull Shit!" on the entire premise you are suggesting.

    The appendix is a regressed cecum. The cecum, in species where it is not regressed, it is a site of fermentation of dietary fiber for the production of volatile fatty acids like Acetic, Proprionic, and Butyric acid, which are then absorbed in the cecum. During fermentation amino acids and vitamins are also synthesized, but are unavailable for absorption in most species. Notable exceptions being poultry, who use reverse peristalsis to push cecal digesta back into the small intestine (primary site of nutrient absorption), and some animals like rabbits who excrete what is called a "Night pellet" consisting primarily of cecal digesta which is then ingested orally, giving the small intestine a second attempt to absorb these cecally derived nutrients.

    The key being that the microbiota profile of the cecum, in species where it is fuctional, is very different from the microbiota profile of the small or large intestine.
  • Re:so (Score:5, Informative)

    by asoukup ( 35436 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:28PM (#38655484)

    Here's a link via scientific american []

    Google "appendix gut bacteria" and there are loads of articles even from 3-4 years back.

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @05:20PM (#38656120) Journal

    Now if you told us what in your opinion the "wrong" kinds of food are.

    Grains, sugars, hydrogenated oils.

  • Re:so (Score:4, Informative)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:38PM (#38659884) Homepage Journal
    Or a fecalith, or mechanical kink. Lymphoid hyperplasia is a frequent culprit, but the treatment for appendicitis is surgical excision. The antibiotics are too late once you have symptomatic appendicitis, because the blockage is due not to bacteria in the appendix but to cell proliferation (in response to bacteria that may be in either the colon or the appendix) that will not resolve with mere killing of the bacteria that caused it. Meanwhile, the bacteria in the appendiceal lumen are multiplying rapidly, and will eventually produce pressure necrosis of a portion of the appendiceal wall and rupture.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor