A recent study at Georgia State University by Dr Benoit Chassaing and Dr Andrew Gewirtz has found that there is a link between people who develop type 2 diabetes – which is a metabolic disease and bacteria in the colon of the intestine that actually penetrate the colon lining.
It is thought that inflammation causes metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes to be sustained and that these bacteria, by getting into the cells that line the colon are thought to promote inflammation.
Cells line the entire alimentary canal from your mouth to your back passage – so every part of the tube that is responsible for food digestion and controlling its movement into and out of your body. We all know about ‘good bacteria’ from the promotion of various yoghourt drinks that are supposed to be ‘good for our digestion’. Good bacteria live in the mucous lining that sits on top of the cells that line the gut and do not penetrate into the cells themselves.
Chassaing and Gerwirtz studied the idea that those bacteria that get into the cells cause inflammation that interferes then with the normal action of insulin and it is this that promotes type 2 diabetes.
The researchers do not know at this point the identity of the bacteria that get into the gut lining in this way but they are working on it as well as how to prevent such invasion.
In the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology and Metabolism in January 2017, it was published that type 1 diabetes sufferers also show inflammation in the digestive tract that are not seen in those without diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition which occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. It develops unlike type 2 diabetes, in young people when the person’s own body attacks the cells of the pancreas that produce Insulin and prevent it from being produced. Insulin enables blood sugar to be carried into the cells of the body. Without it there is high blood sugar level, which causes many problems.
Some researchers think that the gut may actually contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes in that people they examined showed more signs of inflammation in the mucous membrane lining the gut walls than controls. Also the combination of bacteria in the gut was different in the two groups.
It is not yet known whether this effect on the gut is caused by or is a result of the body attacking the pancreas but more research will be done.
The interesting part of this research is that scientists may soon be able to find better indicators of those who are at risk of diabetes.
Prevention is always better than cure!