New hope for those suffering from Type II diabetes

Gretchen Allen, Staff Writer


Type II diabetes affects over 29 million people in the United States alone, and accounts for about 90 percent of diagnoses between Type I and II. In case you are not familiar with Type II diabetes, here is a little refresher: You are not born with Type II diabetes. It develops during your lifetime due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin. The hormone insulin is what helps glucose enter cells, regulates blood glucose levels, and ultimately signals for the muscles in the body to absorb glucose to use as energy. Your body may not produce enough insulin or might not use it properly, and this results in weight gain, heart problems, stroke, nervous system malfunctions, blindness, and many other side effects. To treat Type II diabetes, patients are told to maintain a healthy weight, live a healthy lifestyle of balanced nutrition and exercise, get tested for blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure, and possibly take a medicine called metformin, which reduces diabetes by 31 percent in younger people who were likely to develop Type II diabetes.

Recently, there has been a new discovery in medicine regarding a possible way to help people who are suffering from Type II diabetes. A Rutgers University at New-Brunswick professor lead a study for six years to find out if eating healthy enough, and eating the right dietary fibers, can improve your overall health. The results were shockingly positive and this may be the answer people have been looking for.

In your stomach, there are bacteria that help to maintain healthy pH levels, digest food, control your appetite and reduce inflammation. Having a shortage of the short chain fatty acids in your stomach that are broken down by the good bacteria has been a leading cause of Type II diabetes. There have been many studies that include eating more dietary fibers to alleviate Type II diabetes, but a lack of understanding of the mechanism by which this process occurs has slowed progress.

In this study at Rutgers University New-Brunswick, there were two groups of randomized patients. One of the groups was given normal education about their treatment methods and dietary recommendations. The other group was suggested to take large quantities of dietary fibers and eat a healthy diet for energy and nutrients that matched with the amount of dietary fibers. As reference, both of the groups studied took acarbose to control blood glucose levels. In the second group, their diet contained whole grain foods that helped promote the production of short-chain fatty acids that produced good gut bacteria. The group two patients, who were on the dietary fiber diet, were observed and tested after three months and had lower blood glucose levels, in addition to higher weight loss. The first group with a normal diet and acarbose did not all see these results. Some of the patients did lose weight and see lower blood glucose levels, while others did not see any significant results.

The study concluded that there are 15 key short-chain fatty acid-producing gut bacteria that play a major role in a healthier life. This was demonstrated after they saw increases in these 15 gut bacteria, which in turn produced more of them and got rid of the bad gut bacteria. With the increase in the good bacteria they also saw an increase in insulin production, with only the high dietary fiber diet. Blood glucose levels were manageable and steady due to the medication as well as the new diet. This could be a great new discovery in medicine that really did not require much medicine at all. Eating foods higher in dietary fibers can help everyone to have a healthier life, not just Type II diabetes patients.

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