Bacteria Insulin resistance fighter, diabetes risk reducer?

Bacteria Insulin resistance fighter, diabetes risk reducer?

Gut Bacteria Found to Play a Vital Role in Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

As our understanding of the microbiome deepens, researchers continue to uncover fascinating connections between gut bacteria and human health. A recent study conducted by scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan has shed light on the potential role of specific gut bacteria in protecting against insulin resistance, one of the primary factors contributing to type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The Microbiome: A Hidden World

The discovery of a community of microbial cells, predominantly bacteria, within our intestines, dates back over a century. However, we are still in the early stages of comprehending this complex microbial landscape. In 2009, the term “microbiome” was coined by Joshua Lederberg, and since then, researchers have been uncovering its profound impact on various aspects of human health.

Alistipes indistinctus: The Saviors from Diabetes

The study by RIKEN researchers focuses on identifying gut bacteria that may safeguard against type 2 diabetes and obesity by improving insulin resistance. They found that a particular order of bacteria, Alistipes indistinctus, showed promise in reducing insulin resistance. This discovery marks a significant step toward understanding the potential for using specific bacteria to prevent and treat metabolic disorders.

Interestingly, the researchers also identified another bacteria, Lachnospiraceae, which appeared to be more prevalent in individuals with insulin resistance. This finding suggests Lachnospiraceae could serve as a helpful biomarker for the condition.

Unraveling the Relationship Between Bacteria and Insulin Resistance

To investigate the link between gut bacteria and insulin resistance, the researchers analyzed stool samples from 306 healthy individuals aged 20 to 75. They discovered that individuals with excessive monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose, and mannose) in their fecal matter were more likely to have insulin resistance.

Further analysis revealed higher levels of Lachnospiraceae bacteria in individuals with insulin resistance and increased levels of monosaccharides. Conversely, people with more Bacteroidales-type bacteria exhibited lower levels of insulin resistance and fewer monosaccharides in their gut.

Alistipes: The Defender Against Insulin Resistance

The strength of the study lies in the combination of microbiome analysis, metabolite identification, and animal experiments. By analyzing 2,800 annotated fecal metabolites, researchers could identify compounds linked to insulin resistance. This process allowed them to establish a causal relationship and demonstrate that oral administration of Alistipes can protect against insulin resistance.

Dr. Hiroshi Ohno, team leader at the RIKEN Center, noted that while previous studies hinted at the connection between gut microbes and obesity or insulin resistance, this study is the first to provide evidence of a causal relationship. He expressed optimism about future investigations into hydrophobic/lipidomic metabolites associated with insulin resistance/sensitivity.

Surprising Origins of Monosaccharides

The presence of monosaccharides in stool samples intrigued researchers, as it contradicted the existing belief that all absorbable components are already taken up by the time they reach the colon. Dr. Ohno suggested that dietary fibers, or polysaccharides, are the source of these carbohydrates, which are typically broken down by gut bacteria.

According to Dr. Ohno’s hypothesis, the increased presence of Lachnospiraceae bacteria leads to higher production of monosaccharides, resulting in elevated fecal levels. Since monosaccharides cannot come from the human body, it is unlikely that insulin plays a role in their presence.

Applying the Findings

Though A. indistinctus is not currently available as a probiotic, the researchers remain hopeful that further validation of their research might pave the way for its development. In terms of using Lachnospiraceae as an insulin resistance biomarker, researchers are exploring the possibility of utilizing Lachnospiraceae-specific bacteriophages or endolysins to selectively target these bacteria.

Gut Bacteria’s Impact on Metabolism

Dr. Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist not affiliated with the study, highlighted the significance of this research in deepening our understanding of gut bacteria’s role in metabolism. Previous studies showed that transferring bacteria from obese animals to lean animals resulted in the transfer of obesity. However, the RIKEN study provides more detailed evidence of the bacteria’s impact on metabolism.

Dr. Farhadi emphasized that we have only scratched the surface of understanding the microbiome’s function. He considers this study to be a leap forward in comprehending the broader influence of gut bacteria on the human body.

In conclusion, this study reinforces the vital role of gut bacteria in metabolic health and highlights the potential for using specific bacteria, such as A. indistinctus, to protect against insulin resistance and ultimately prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes. As research into the microbiome continues to evolve, the door opens wider for personalized strategies that harness the power of these tiny allies to promote overall well-being.