New study shows gut bacteria could cause type 2 diabetes

September 26, 2012

Studying gut bacteria can reveal a range of human illness. Now, new research shows that the composition of a person's intestinal bacteria could play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. These results, from a joint European and Chinese research team, have just been published in the journal Nature.

The number of people suffering from type 2 world-wide has risen rapidly in recent years, and scientists estimate that just as many people could be suffering from the illness without realising it. New research now indicates that your can reveal whether you suffer from the disease.

"We have demonstrated that people with type 2 diabetes have a high level of in their intestines," says professor Jun Wang from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Biology and Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.

The video will load shortly
Studying gut bacteria can reveal a range of human illness. Now, new research shows that the composition of a person’s intestinal bacteria could play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. A team scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) are behind the results published in the journal Nature. Credit: University of Copenhagen.

Important intestinal bacteria

The 1.5 kilograms of bacteria that we each carry in our intestines have an enormous impact on our health and well being. The bacteria normally live in a sensitive equilibrium but if this equilibrium is disrupted our health could suffer. In the new study, scientists examined the intestinal bacteria of 345 people from China, of which 171 had type 2 diabetes. The team managed to identify clear biological indicators that someday could be used in methods that provide faster and earlier diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The research, which was recently published in the scientific journal Nature, also demonstrated that people with type 2 diabetes have a more hostile bacterial environment in their , which can increase resistance to different medicines.

Similar studies carried out on sufferers of type 2 diabetes in Denmark also discovered a significant imbalance in the function of their intestinal bacteria and composition. Future Danish studies will examine whether intestinal bacteria is already abnormal in people that are deemed to be at risk of developing diabetes.

"We are going to transplant gut bacteria from people that suffer from type 2 diabetes into mice and examine whether the mice then develop diabetes," says another of the lead scientists behind the project, professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen from the University of Copenhagen and centre director at LuCamp, the Lundbeck Foundation Centre for Applied Medical Genomics in Personalised Disease Prediction, Prevention and Care.

International research team investigates gut bacteria

By working together, a team scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) was able to make to several breakthroughs in the field of 'metagenomics'.

Scientists working on the EU research project MetaHIT have uncovered more than 3.3 million genes from gut bacteria found in people from Spain and Denmark. These genes could play a key role in understanding and treating a range of serious illnesses. According to Professor Karsten Kristiansen from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Biology, the recent discovery is an important step in the comprehensive international research that is currently underway to investigate the interplay between intestinal bacteria and health.

"The European and Chinese working on the MetaHIT project were able to make important new discoveries about the relationship between intestinal bacteria and health. The new discovery indicates a possible connection between type 2 diabetes and the in Chinese people," Kristiansen says.

"It is important to point out that our discovery demonstrates a correlation. The big question now is whether the changes in gut bacteria can affect the development of type 2 diabetes or whether the changes simply reflect that the person is suffering from ."

Explore further: Could 'friendly' gut bacteria help fight heart disease?

More information: DOI: 10.1038/nature11450

Related Stories

Could 'friendly' gut bacteria help fight heart disease?

July 17, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University of Reading are looking at ways of tackling heart disease and diabetes - through our guts.

Why do the different people's bodies react differently to a high-fat diet?

April 26, 2012
Gut flora, otherwise knows as gut microbiota, are the bacteria that live in our digestive tract. There are roughly one thousand different species of bacteria, that are nourished partly by what we eat. Each person has their ...

Moving towards a better treatment for autoimmune diabetes

April 9, 2012
Insulin is required for the regulation of blood sugar levels. In type I diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are destroyed by the immune system.

Recommended for you

Diabetes can be tracked with our Google searches

July 26, 2017
The emergence of Type 2 Diabetes could be more effectively monitored using our Google searches—helping public health officials keep track of the disease and halt its spread—according to research by the University of Warwick.

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

July 21, 2017
Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit ...

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

One virus may protect against type 1 diabetes, others may increase risk

July 11, 2017
Doctors can't predict who will develop type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells needed to control blood-sugar levels, requiring daily insulin injections and continual monitoring.

Diabetes complications are a risk factor for repeat hospitalizations, study shows

July 7, 2017
For patients with diabetes, one reason for hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission is severe dysglycemia (uncontrolled hyperglycemia - high blood sugar, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar), says new research published ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2012
And of course, could changing the mix of bacteria in the guts reverse the diabetes or would the damage be irreversible? I wonder when they will figure out just which bacteria is responsible.
1 / 5 (4) Sep 26, 2012
The bacteria is not responsible for causing Diabetes 2. The host creates the environment for proliferating the "more hostile bacterial environment" by eating junk foods, mainly processed sugar, and other garbage.

And they're worried about "increased resistance to different medicines?" Did they consider magnesium stearate which creates an impermeable biofilm on the intestinal walls? Magnesium stearate is the mainstream, super efficient processing component of the big pharma/supplement industry which has no nutritional value.

If a diabetes type 2 patient can get off his fat ass and hit some high intensity interval training exercises regularly for at least 20 minutes a day for a week and eat unprocessed, organic foods during that week while cutting out the sugary sweets, I guarantee you will see major changes in their gut bacteria.
5 / 5 (4) Sep 26, 2012
The link between intestional bacteria and diabetes was proven more than 20 years ago in brazil, when a doctor noticed that after the upper 2 feet of the intestional tract was removed, more than 95 percent of patients were completely cured of diabetes - before any of them had even begun losing weight.

More than 15 percent of type II diabetes suffers are under weight and almost 30 percent are of a normal weight range.

Less than 10 percent who lose weight by diet and exercise see more than a moderate leveling of blood sugar.

It is a well established phenomenon that parasitic entities- and many bacteria are- often change the body chemestry of the host to a more suitable environment for the invader.

Too often bigotry and prejudice against people who are ill leads to a worsening of the illness. People naturally shun people who are sick, even subconsciously. And look at how many shun overweight people - a good indicator that obesity is caused more by what lives inside you .
not rated yet Sep 26, 2012
Nice reply...i wholeheatedly aggree.
not rated yet Oct 01, 2012
In 1979 I advanced the hypothesis that our enteric organisms are more important to our health than our diet itself. The trigger for this was consuming an 'Orange Julius' heavily spiked with brewer's yeast (thanks to a girl friend into 'macrobiotics') that left me with severe flatulence for a year. The following year I contracted cytomegalovirus, and was given a regime of antibiotics that incidentally rid me of the flatulence, but altered the metabolism of my ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet so that I started gradually adding body weight, increasing over 5 years from 70 kg to 100 kg.
All our food except the water-soluble portions (water, minerals, and soluble sugars) must be first processed by our commensals before it can be absorbed by our bodies. Our metabolism is established primarily by them.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2012
The bacteria is not responsible for causing Diabetes 2. The host creates the environment for proliferating the "more hostile bacterial environment" by eating junk foods, mainly processed sugar, and other garbage.

You sound like you are parroting some dogma rather than thinking.
Diabetes 2 and obesity both predate 'junk food' in human history by several millenia, so your argument fails.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.