Lack of Friendly Flora Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

June 4, 2013 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Lack of Friendly Flora Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
Science revealing the relationship between digestive tract bacterial content and metabolism has steadily grown over the past several years. The latest study shows a clear link between dysregulated flora balance in the digestive tract and patients that have developed type 2 diabetes.

Swedish researchers evaluated the genomic metabolism of digestive flora in 145 women, some with type 2 diabetes, some with earlier stages of glucose dysregulation, and others with normal blood sugar metabolism. “By examining the patient's gut microbiota, we could predict which patients are at risk of developing diabetes,” says Professor Fredrik Bäckhed.

Friendly flora are known to help ferment fiber and produce an important short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which is needed to heal the lining of the digestive tract and prevent colon cancer. Additionally, newer science shows that butyrate signals genes involved with metabolism. The patients lacking friendly flora had less butyrate and were more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

Friendly flora is disrupted by antibiotics, excess alcohol, junk food, and too much sugar intake. This study shows that an ongoing imbalance is a clear risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have linked flora problems with obesity, as well as many other health issues.

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