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How Does the Gut Microbiome Affect Diabetes [Evidence-Based]

Gut Microbiome Affect Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that affects a large portion of the population. According to research, more than 537 million people had been diagnosed with diabetes by 2021.

The World Health Organization states that diabetes is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

As you can see, diabetes is a real public health issue that takes the lives of millions of people every year. Additionally, it burdens the healthcare system with billions of dollars annually.

In this article, we will take a look at a cheap yet effective method to control your blood sugar levels. We will see how does the gut microbiome affect diabetes and the evidence behind it.

How does the gut microbiome affect diabetes – Research

There are many health benefits to a balanced gut microbiota. These include reduced inflammation, better digestion, and improved cognitive functions.

The bacteria in our gut have several physiological roles, including the regulation of metabolism, food digestion, and the preservation of homeostasis (balance of the body).

However, scientists did not have a full understanding of the relationship between the microbiome and the host’s blood sugar levels until recently. As a result, several studies were launched in a quest to find a clear answer to this issue.

Research

In a 2019 study, researchers found that bacteria in the gut communicate with each other. This is possible thanks to a neurotransmitter known as serotonin.

This molecule is better known as the “happiness” hormone in the brain because of its capacity to improve mood, concentration, and other cognitive functions. However, in the gut, serotonin is used by the bacteria to communicate with each other.

Professor Damien Keating, Head of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Flinders University and Deputy Director of the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, says that the microbiome can actually worsen metabolism through cellular signaling that produces serotonin. When this neurotransmitter is high, it increases the chances of obesity. There is also other research that links high serotonin levels in the gut to other metabolic syndromes.

In another study, researchers found a link between the diversity of the microbiome and type I diabetes. The study included 33 infants with a high genetic risk of developing type I diabetes. After the analysis of their microbiome and follow-up of their blood sugar levels, researchers noted that the diversity of their microbiome abruptly dropped before they developed full-blown type I diabetes.

What’s more, scientists found evidence that demonstrates the difference in blood glucose between individuals. The study concluded that people who ate the same food had different blood sugar levels, which was attributed to the diversity of their gut microbiome.

How Does The Gut Microbiome Affect Diabetes – Answer

All this evidence shows that the gut microbiome plays a more significant role in the control of blood glucose than previously thought.

So, what does all of this mean? How can we improve our gut health to balance blood sugar levels?

The answer to these questions is not that straightforward.

In short, you have to work on your microbiome and improve your gastrointestinal health. In our previous article, we covered some of the foods that you can eat to keep your blood sugar in check. These foods have a low glycemic index, which means they don’t raise your blood sugar too abruptly.

Check out the article by clicking on this link.

Healthy gut and diabetes

As we just covered, the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome play an important role in the metabolism of glucose. Subsequently, this will have a large impact on blood sugar levels.

However, does that mean that a healthy gut could prevent or cure diabetes? Conversely, could an unhealthy gut precipitate diabetes?

The short answer is that we don’t know yet.

The field of studying the microbiota of the gut is relatively new, and scientists are just starting to unveil the physiological and pathological roles of our microbial guests. Therefore, we do not have sufficient evidence to come up with any conclusions about their implication in different processes.

However, it is safe to say that a healthy gut is extremely beneficial in the balance of glycemia. Moreover, a diet rich in fiber and probiotics reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, which are two major risk factors for type II diabetes.

Another protective feature of a healthy microbiome is its ability to dampen low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress. These two processes are notorious for the destruction of pancreatic tissue that’s responsible for insulin production. Remember that beta cells in the pancreas produce insulin.

Finally, most foods that contribute to a healthy gut also have a low glycemic index (GI), which is a metabolic parameter used by endocrinologists to describe how fast a certain food element increases blood sugar levels after ingestion.

This is extremely important as a high glycemic index leads to recurrent spikes in insulin levels, which further exacerbates cellular resistance to insulin activity.

In summary, there is concrete scientific evidence that suggests how a (un)healthy gut influences the pathogenesis of diabetes.

With that said, it is almost a “no-fail” to aim to improve your gastrointestinal health.

Takeaway message

Diabetes is a chronic condition that takes millions of lives every year. Additionally, millions of people will suffer from diabetes complications, such as diabetic neuropathy and diabetes foot. For this reason, scientists are always on the lookout for new ways to improve blood sugar balance and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Fortunately, we are now one step closer to understanding how does the gut microbiome affect diabetes. And if you are the optimistic type, you might see this as an opportunity to develop a new treatment or prevent the disease altogether in high-risk patients.

If you are diabetic or know someone with diabetes who improved their glycemia through lifestyle habits that improve the gut flora, feel free to share your story with us through this link.

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