In December 2006, a groundbreaking paper was published in the journal Nature showing that the bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract are fundamentally different between thin people and obese people.1 Researchers showed that the microbiome of the gut — this is the types and amounts of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract — can influence the amount of calories a person absorbs into the bloodstream.2
In other words, obese people have a microbiome that produces more calories than thin people. 2 Recent research has shown a similar difference between people with diabetes and those without the disease.3
You Are What Your Microbiota Eat
Scandinavian researchers studied the bacterial composition within the large intestine of 36 male adults: 18 with type 2 diabetes and 18 healthy volunteers. They found significant differences between the microbiota of men with diabetes than those without the illness. Perhaps most impressively, these differences existed apart from differences in body weight. In other words, there appears to be a diabetic large intestine and obese large intestine, as well as a healthy large intestine — at least in terms of the microbiota in each one.
Do I Have a Diabetic Gut?
Outside of the scientific study, there is no easy way to find out what sort of microbiota you have in your digestive tract. However, the research shows that people with diabetes and/or obesity have fundamentally different bacteria than healthy individuals. If you have type 2 diabetes or suffer from obesity, there is a significant chance that you have microbiota in your gut that are not doing you any favors.
Reversing Diabetic Gut
Perhaps the most exciting conclusion from the scientific study is that changing the microbiota in your large intestine can potentially reverse diseases. Based on experiments in mice with diabetes, changing their gut microbiota affected their blood sugar levels and metabolites in their blood.4 In fact, levels of a single type of bacteria called Verrucomicrobiae correlate with type 2 diabetes.5 It seems that changing the microbiome can directly influence the disease, whether it’s diabetes, obesity or other diseases that have not been studied.
How Do I Change My Gut Microbiome?
There are only a few ways to change a human microbiome in a healthy way. An unhealthy way is to take large doses of antibiotics, which kill bacteria all over the body including the gut. This can give rise to harmful bacteria such as Clostridium difficile.
The healthy way to change the human microbiome is through prebiotics. Prebiotics such as fructo-saccharide and inulin promote the growth of a healthy microbiome, rather than an obese microbiome or a diabetic microbiome.6,7,8,9 To learn more about prebiotics and how they can improve a diabetic gut, contact Prebiotin today.
- Ley RE, Turnbaugh PJ, Klein S, Gordon JI. Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature. Dec 21 2006;444(7122):1022-1023.
- Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Mahowald MA, Magrini V, Mardis ER, Gordon JI. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature. 2006;444(7122):1027-1131.
- Larsen N, Vogensen FK, van den Berg FW, et al. Gut microbiota in human adults with type 2 diabetes differs from non-diabetic adults. PLoS One. 2010;5(2):e9085.
- Greiner TU, Hyotylainen T, Knip M, Backhed F, Oresic M. The gut microbiota modulates glycaemic control and serum metabolite profiles in non-obese diabetic mice. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e110359.
- Zhang X, Shen D, Fang Z, et al. Human gut microbiota changes reveal the progression of glucose intolerance. PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e71108.
- Cani PD, Lecourt E, Dewulf EM, et al. Gut microbiota fermentation of prebiotics increases satietogenic and incretin gut peptide production with consequences for appetite sensation and glucose response after a meal. Am J Clin Nutr. November 1, 2009 2009;90(5):1236-1243.
- Salazar N, Dewulf EM, Neyrinck AM, et al. Inulin-type fructans modulate intestinal Bifidobacterium species populations and decrease fecal short-chain fatty acids in obese women. Clin Nutr. Jun 11 2014.
- Quigley EM. Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Sep 2013;9(9):560-569.
- Dewulf EM, Cani PD, Claus SP, et al. Insight into the prebiotic concept: lessons from an exploratory, double blind intervention study with inulin-type fructans in obese women. Gut. Aug 2013;62(8):1112-1121.