Have you ever been told to trust your gut? Or have you ever had a “gut feeling” about something? Well, thanks to new research, your gut may be a good thing to invest in.
My wife, Rebecca, has been a key part of my journey with Type 1 Diabetes. She is always reading about new research for T1D and other health and fitness advancements. In fact, she brought this new research about microbiomes to my attention and I thought the content was perfect for this blog. While this advanced research may seem to stretch outside the norm of what I usually write, Rebecca was able to help me out with this blog to make it all come together, which was a joy in and of itself!
Over the past decade, a new sensation in preventative health care has been dominating research and studies. This new area of study revolves around the gut microbiome; and if you’ve never heard of a microbiome, you’re not alone. This field has virtually blown up over the past few years as more and more research shows that the health of your gut can give way to major insights on your overall health and susceptibility to illness. While the findings are an important medical breakthrough for general healthy living, doctors and researchers agree that it’s actually incredibly important for developments in diabetic health and possible prevention.
What’s so great about a gut?
When researchers talk about the gut microbiome, they’re not really talking about a belly that’s hanging over someone’s jeans. What they’re talking about is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans. There is a ton of bacteria that lives inside of our bodies, especially in our digestive tract. This bacteria helps to keep our intestinal tract clean and working properly. The defining factors of your gut microbiota, as this collection of bacteria is also known, include genetics, diet, age, and exposure to antibiotics. Our gut bacteria also functions as a regulator of certain hormone secretion and vitamin synthesizing. Every single person’s microbiome is different, almost like a signature, making the microbiome both fascinating and essential to health research.
How can my gut affect my diabetes?
Millions of Americans currently suffer from diabetes. As research becomes more complex and technology becomes more advanced, doctors, scientists, and nutritionists have had to start looking to unique research to develop breakthroughs in diabetic care. This research was really happened upon, as our caretakers look for why so many people in the world suffer from diabetes.
What researchers are finding, essentially, is this: naturally, when certain microbes, toxins, and bacteria enter our gut, things become inflamed. This inflammation can lead to the dysfunction of several other areas of our body like our liver, essentially messing with insulin sensitivity and metabolism. What researchers are really interested in investigating is the true impact of the clear connection between the functions of our microbiota and diabetes.
What research is out there?
Thankfully for the diabetic community, there is a lot of exciting research happening right now all over the world on this topic. A recent study performed in Finland compared two different groups participating in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, or DPS. This study followed the serum metabolite profiles of 200 volunteers with a glucose intolerance. One key factor that came from this study was the identification of “several new lipid metabolites whose high concentrations were associated with improved insulin resistance and reduced risk of diabetes.” In other words, the presence of diabetes could be identified just by looking at the levels of indolepropionic acid in a patient’s intestinal bacteria. This discovery is crucial because it shows there can be special toxins or bacteria, like the indolepropionic acid, that can protect your body from diabetes.
Other research reported in April of this year showed a promising link between microbiome health and complications with the Type 1 diabetes symptom, “leaky gut syndrome.” The article claims that “a reduction in gut bacterial diversity precedes the onset of clinical diabetes.” It goes on to say that the shortage of good bacteria in our guts that produce microbes such as butyrate is what leads to a weak intestinal barrier, causing things like a “leaky gut,” and other autoimmunity complications. This research, like the Finnish study above, is very promising to the medical community.
It’s a start, but the work is not done yet.
Because of the new discoveries made by researchers working with gut flora and microbiota, there has been a slew of positive press for continued studies. What this means, however, is that there are even more questions that need to asked. While diabetes may not have a cure just yet, the promising links between gut health and diabetes are giving way to research that could bring great changes to the many suffering from diabetes and to those who are trying to prevent it. And even though this research is new, it’s never a bad idea to feed your body only the best products available, so that you can thrive long enough to one day see a cure.