Manipulating the Gut Microbiome to Treat Diabetes
Many studies have implicated changes in the bacteria living in the gut, known as the microbiota, to the rising rate of type 1 diabetes in Western populations. Bacteria in the gut digest food and produce many metabolites with health benefits to their host. Some of these beneficial metabolites (called short-chain fatty acids) are lower in the intestine of people with type 1 diabetes. Associate Professor Emma E. Hamilton-Williams’ presentation describes results from a clinical trial that hopes to restore production of short-chain fatty acids in the intestine with a hope that one day this could prevent or treat type 1 diabetes. They use a specially modified dietary fiber to deliver short-chain fatty acids into the large intestine, where they are released by the microbiota. Called the TOGeTHER Trial (Type One Gut Therapy), adults with established type 1 diabetes took this dietary supplement for six weeks. Her presentation details the impacts of the supplement on the gut bacteria and diabetes management of the participants, revealing a promising new avenue for type 1 diabetes therapy.
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