Lots of research has shown that the gut is more responsible for our health than previously thought. In fact, the health of your gut may affect your entire body.
Drs. Benoit Chassaing and Andrew Gewirtz at Georgia State University have recently released a study strengthening the case that problems in the gut could be linked to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
There were 42 participants in the study. All were patients between 21 and 75 years old, about a third of whom had a history of diabetes. Most were men in their fifties and sixties. They came to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Atlanta, GA, for a colon cancer screening. During the screening, tissue samples were taken for analysis, with permission.
What They Found
Those with diabetes had microbial encroachment into the colon’s tissues. Basically, the inside of the colon is covered with a thick, protective layer of mucus. The bacteria inside your gut live on the outer layers of mucus, well away from any actual tissue. But, the patients with diabetes had bacteria that were living close to tissue.
Essentially, this showed a link between metabolic disease and invasive bacteria in the gut.
The doctors also checked for defense cells activated in the presence of invaders. They found several samples with lymphocytes, antibodies that fight off foreign cells and toxins.
What Does It Mean?
The presence of antibodies in the tissue samples indicate that the invasive bacteria are triggering a low-grade inflammatory response. Over the long-term, this could de-sensitize tissues, such as the insulin receptors, to metabolic signals. The resulting insulin resistance leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes and living with more severe diabetes.
Drs. Chassaing and Andrew Gewirtz anticipate further studies on mice that could help them determine if there are connections between obesity, abnormal blood sugar levels, and microbial encroachment.References