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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:so (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:14PM (#38653512)

    Probably a bit more complicated than that. Bacteria tend to be quite specialized as far as their environment goes, to the point where you have different species of bacteria living in your armpit, the side of your arm, the outside of your elbow, and all of those are quite a bit different than the ones that live on your face. I'll go out on a limb and suppose that maybe different diets have an influence on the bacterial populations in your stomach and intestines (I've heard it suggested that the appendix might function as sort of a "storm shelter" when you have food poisoning or some sort of diarrhea) too.

    Perhaps in the future, you might be able to get treatments of beneficial stomach bacteria, maybe even in pill form, to help treat diabetes. I doubt this particular strain found in mice will work though, you would probably have to find a human analog or genetically engineer a bacterium more at home in the human digestive tract.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:16PM (#38653534) Journal

    As a pre-diabetic myself I'm wondering if this will need to be FDA approved?

    I mean aren't active yeast cultures okay in non-FDA approved yogurt? Since these are (I presume) non-pathogenic bacteria, couldn't they also be made available over the counter in pill form (packaged as dried spores?).

    I guess you'd still need a prescription for the anti-biotics to clear out the existing flora in your gut though.

  • by pebbert ( 624675 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:22PM (#38653614)
    Here is a story of a woman who lost all her gut bacteria and almost died because she couldn't digest her food. They injected some of her husbands and cured her almost instantly. http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26178/ [technologyreview.com]
  • by flibbidyfloo ( 451053 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:47PM (#38654048)

    I've read about similar results from fecal transplants to replace colon flora. If I understand it correctly, there are actually doctors that will "reset" your colon flora by giving you a high dose of antibiotics and then basically stick someone else's poop up your butt. I'm sure it's more scientific than that, but it supposedly repopulates your colon with different flora and the people that have undergone the procedure swear it made them lose weight or recover from other problems, etc.

    Wired wrote about it too, but I haven't read that specific article yet: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/fecal-transplants-work/ [wired.com]

  • Not just eating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:52PM (#38654130)

    The way we eat certainly impacts our blood sugar and can accelerate type II diabetes, but it is -not- the only cause.

    Take a read here:

    There are LOTS of different types of diabetes, not just I and II.
    Genetic disposition makes a huge, huge difference. A few examples:

    (1) Identical Twin Studies: If one twin has Type 2 Diabetes, the chance that the other will have it also are 4 out of 5. This is even if they are raised in different households, so it's not just an environment issue. Also, non-identical twins did not see this correlation.

    (2) Genetic markers - Beta cell glucose sensitivity is decreased by 39% in non-diabetic individuals carrying multiple diabetes-risk alleles compared with those with no risk alleles.

    And lots more at that link I posted above. In short, eating high carb / sugars / fructose / etc accelerate type II diabetes for those that are genetically inclined to have it, but does almost nothing to those who have fully functional bodies.

    That said, somewhere around 30% of the US right now is in a pre-diabetes range, so we need to address the food issue ASAP.

  • Re:so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:59PM (#38654268) 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....

    They're also useful if you want to make plastic out of potatoes.

    Interesting factoid: Humans are born with a "gut bacteria" backup solution. It's called your appendix. Very useful if you eat something harsh enough to kill your gut bacteria during a 12 week overland march when you're too far to replenish them in the traditional way by shaking hands with strangers and touching your lip.

  • Re:so (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:40PM (#38654842)

    Several years back I picked up an infection which ended up being penicillin resistant. So they put me on a second non-penicillin based antibiotic. This back to back dose of antibiotics wiped out my gut bacteria and caused severe diarrhea. I had enough complications they even had to remove my appendix.

    Now, I take digestive enzymes and probiotics: Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5, Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, Streptococcus thermophilus (STY-31) and Lactobacillus delbruekii subsp. delbrueckii (LLBY-27).

    When I first started taking these it made a large difference, but I've never been able to return to normal.

    I've often wondered why these probiotics are only oral. If Fecal Bacteriotherapy is effective, why wouldn't there be a probiotic suppository as well? Is it possible my gut flora is being corrected but some harmful bacteria further along in my intestine is still able to hold on?

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

    by dudpixel ( 1429789 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:07PM (#38659630)

    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!

    I disagree. It may be more correct to say "you still have to eat more than your body uses", but its misleading to think you can eat whatever and just work off the extra calories. It doesn't work that way, despite science ignoring the rapid increase in the number of overweight people since the 1980's when they changed their advice from "fats are good" to "fats are bad, eat carbs". Humans have been eating meat and fatty foods since the dawn of time, yet in the 21st century we declare fat as the enemy and then wonder why so many people are putting on weight...??

    the eat less/do more thing doesn't seem to be working very well does it? With so many people on diets, how come none of them have any willpower?

    I'll give you a clue, people get food cravings because their bodies tell them they are hungry. Is there body trying to hurt them? no, its trying to stay alive.
    Why would people feel hungry when they are actually not starving? from eating carbs. our bodies are not designed to eat the amount of carbs we do - it just cannot cope, so the mechanisms that tell us when we are full/hungry are not working properly. Start eating real food, not processed stuff, and you can bring your body back to life - and find out what it is really capable of. It can burn its own fat, it doesn't need your help. You just need to give it a chance, by stopping the carb intake which is what's making you fat in the first place...

    Read this: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/the-knowledge/weight-gain-is-about-fat-stored/ [zoeharcombe.com]

    There are much better articles on that website too, spend some time reading that and you'll know more than most dietitians/nutritionists in the world.

    If it really was just about how much you eat vs how much you do, then how do we have people who are thin who can eat loads of food without weight gain, and others who are fat who will put on weight eating half that amount?

    Starvation diets will plateau, as your body always adjusts its energy needs to match energy available. If you eat less, your metabolism slows down so you use less. There is nothing you can do about this - your body will keep itself alive at any cost. If you continue to eat less, your body thinks you're on a desert island, and attacks your muscles since these are more "expensive" than fat, and this can reduce your energy needs further, thus keeping you alive longer.

    Do the opposite - eat the right amount, but eat well. Eating well means limit carbohydrates to only the amount your body will actually use, which unless you're an athlete, will be under 100g per day, probably under 50g per day.

    Its easy - carbs increase your blood sugar, which in turn causes your body to produce insulin, which then causes your body to store fat.

    No carbs, no blood sugar increase, no insulin, no stored fat. Actually there may still be some blood sugar increase from proteins but not enough to be worried about.

    Your body can live without carbs. It cannot live without fats, and it cannot live without protein. it can turn protein into glucose when needed (so you get exactly the right amount, not a flood of it), and it can get energy from fat. in fact fat is more energy-dense than carbs, so this is why your body stores its own excess energy as fat - hint: its not trying to kill you. it just stores energy in case you might need it later.

    also, no carbs = no bloating. fat/protein helps you feel fuller for longer, so you wont crave sweets (after a week or two). keep off the sugar, it is killing you.

    read some more from zoe harcombe - i hope you find this useful :)

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