Another study suggests gut bacteria could predict risk of diabetes
It is estimated that 3.2 million people in England alone have diabetes and another 9.6 million are estimated to be at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.1 With this being the fastest growing disease in England the results of a brand new study suggesting we may be able to predict the risk of diabetes is very welcome.
A new study presented by the University of Illinois at the ENDO 2015 suggests that the composition of intestinal bacteria, our microbiota, changes over time in a negative way in those people who are pre-diabetic and this could therefore possibly be a predictor of diabetes.
The studyThis study2, headed by Irina Ciubotaru, MD, PhD, an endocrinology fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, was conducted on 116 African-American veterans with an age range of 45 to 75 years. They were divided into four groups based on changes in their blood sugar control (glycemic) ascertained by an oral glucose tolerance test between the start and the end of the one year study. The four glycemic groups were (1) stable normal, (2) stable impaired, (3) worsened, and (4) improved. At the end of the study, the men’s gut microbiota was analysed.
The researchers of this study found that the men whose blood sugar control was stable over the year had more gut bacteria that have been previously been considered beneficial for metabolic health. However, those who were pre-diabetic didn't have such a healthy microbiota, or with fewer healthy bacteria and more harmful bacteria. Interestingly those men in the group who had an improved glucose control over the year were found to have more of a particular type of healthy bacteria, Akkermansia, than the group who had remained stable all year.
It may be important to underline that although there has been previous research linking the balance of your gut bacteria with Type 2 Diabetes, this is the first piece of research to suggest that the alteration in the composition of our gut bacteria can be seen in the early stages of diabetes, or pre-diabetes.
"Your gut bacteria could predict your risk of diabetes...If doctors accept our suggestions," Barengolts said, "they have additional reasons to recommend foods, such as prebiotics, which improve the growth and activity of helpful gut bacteria."
You may like to read more about the link between gut bacteria and diabetes in the following blog post:
2 new studies back probiotics for diabetes
2. Ciubotaru I, et al “Significant Differences in fecal microbiotia are associated with various stages of glucose tolerance in African-American male veterans” ENDO 2015; abstract FRI-597
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