For diabetics; a high-fiber diet feeds gut microbes, lowering blood sugar

For diabetics; a high-fiber diet feeds gut microbes, lowering blood sugar

Editor: Vlad Rothstein | Tactical Investor

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Plenty of fiber: That’s long been the recommendation for a healthy diet. But why?

The main rationale has been that fiber is made up of undigestible bulk that prevents people from eating unhealthy food — and helps keep the digestive tract regular.

But new research suggests that dietary fibers actually play a critical role in feeding the trillions of microbes that reside in our bodies, known collectively as the microbiome. And that specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, a high-fiber diet along with a favorable gut microbiome can keep patients’ blood sugar and body weight under control.

Researchers in China were able to pinpoint the specific “good” bacteria that ferment fiber into acids, and ultimately improves insulin regulation. These bugs, according to lead investigator Liping Zhao, chair of applied microbiology at Rutgers University, create an acidic microenvironment in the gut that helps beneficial, blood-sugar-lowering bacteria proliferate — and might even keep pathogens at bay. Full Story


New findings suggest that promoting the growth of fiber-loving bacteria may help manage type 2 diabetes.
“The study really gets at the mechanistic reasons of why these fiber-rich, plant-based diets may be helpful, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes,” Clare Lee, an endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the study, tells STAT News. “It’s an exciting step towards understanding potential mechanisms that can help us prevent and treat diabetes.”

In the study, microbiologist Liping Zhao of Rutgers University and his colleagues fed a group of 27 type 2 diabetes patients a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods, and prebiotics for up to 86 days, while a group of 16 patients ate a similar diet with less fiber. All of the patients were treated with the diabetes drug acarbose, which helps transform starch into fiber.

For the first four weeks, hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar, fell in both groups. After day 28, however, those in the group that ate more fiber showed larger drops in blood sugar levels compared with the individuals who ate less fiber. At the end of the study, 89 percent of people on the high-fiber diet reached adequate blood sugar levels, while only 50 percent did while on the lower-fiber diet.


March 9, 2018 — Scientists say they’ve found a direct connection between blood sugar and gut bacteria. By exploiting that connection with a very high-fiber diet, they’ve successfully treated a small group of people with type 2 diabetes.

The finding could be important not only for the 100 million American adults with diabetes or prediabetes, but also for anyone who’s trying to manage their weight.
What hasn’t been well-understood is exactly how fiber gives you these benefits.

Evidence has been mounting that fiber plays a key role in the types of bacteria that thrive in our guts and how they work.

Last year, new research from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study showed that people who ate more fiber had more of an anti-inflammatory chemical in their blood called indolepropionic acid, which is made by gut bacteria. They were also less likely to go on to get type 2 diabetes.
“Overall, this study adds to what we know about how important the gut microbiota is when it comes to the development of some chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes,” says Vanessa de Mello Laaksonen, PhD, an assistant professor in nutrigenomics at the University of Eastern Finland, who was not involved in the research. Full Story

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