GUT Microbes and Diabetes

People who take multiple courses of antibiotics may face an increased risk of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, potentially through alterations in gut microbiota, conclude US researchers.

The team, led by Ben Boursi, MD, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, found that the risk of diabetes was increased by up to 37%, depending on the type of antibiotic and the number of courses prescribed.

“Overprescription of antibiotics is already a problem around the world as bacteria become increasingly resistant to their effects,” commented Dr Boursi in a statement.

“Our findings are important, not only for understanding how diabetes may develop, but as a warning to reduce unnecessary antibiotic treatments that might do more harm than good.”

The worldwide prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) continues to rise at an alarming pace.  Obesity is associated with changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota, and the obese microbiome seems to be more efficient in harvesting energy from the diet.

Lean male donor fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT – taking fecal matter out of the healthy donor and placing it in the diabetic/obese patient) in males with metabolic syndrome resulted in a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity in conjunction with an increased intestinal microbial diversity, including a distinct increase in butyrate-producing bacterial strains.

This is one reason why we are adding a HCl-stable butyrate fiber product to our healing arsenal for those with diabetes (as well as susceptible patients). Products of intestinal microbes such as butyrate may induce beneficial metabolic effects through enhancement of mitochondrial activity, prevention of metabolic endotoxemia, and activation of intestinal gluconeogenesis via different routes of gene expression and hormone regulation.