You are here

Natural, Edible Treatment Offers Promise for Diabetics

Oral capsule mimics benefits of major surgery (June 27)

The American Heart Association (AHA) is investing in an oral treatment that delivers natural substances, dramatically improving blood sugar levels in diabetics. According to the AHA, this investment holds the promise of replacing synthetic drugs for thousands of type-2 diabetics.

Morbidly obese diabetics often undergo intestinal bypass surgery to lose weight. The surgery shortens the small intestine so that just a fraction of calories ingested have time to be absorbed in the small intestine before reaching the colon, where waste is handled. These diabetics appear virtually “cured” of their diabetes before they leave the operating room.

The likely reason, the AHA says, is that two nutrients in everyone’s diet, sodium butyrate and L-glutamine, are normally absorbed shortly after they leave the stomach, but they reach the colon after gut-shortening surgery. The colon has receptors that bind with them, causing a massive increase in insulin secretion and a decrease in insulin resistance.

Non-obese diabetics are not candidates for intestinal bypass surgery, but researchers have found a way to create an “artificial short gut” with a capsule that delivers these nutrients from mouth to colon, lowering blood glucose to normal.

“The patients’ blood glucose is normalized before they’ve lost an ounce. It appears, in many of them, as if they never had diabetes in the first place,” said cardiologist Ross Tonkens, MD.

“Many diabetics could be moved from prosthetic drugs — which the FDA is scrutinizing for toxicities, including increasing the incidence of pancreatic cancer — to natural substances with no toxicities,” Tonkens said. “The implications are huge.”

Source: AHA; June 27, 2013.

Recent Headlines

Despite older, sicker patients, mortality rate fell by a third in 10 years
Study finds fewer than half of trials followed the law
WHO to meet tomorrow to decide on international public heath emergency declaration
Study of posted prices finds wild variations and missing data
Potential contamination could lead to supply chain disruptions
Declining lung cancer mortality helped fuel the progress
Kinase inhibitor targets tumors with a PDGFRA exon 18 mutation
Delayed surgery reduces benefits; premature surgery raises risks
Mortality nearly doubled when patients stopped using their drugs