While millions of Americans have already been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, many more are at risk and for the most part there are no symptoms, before it’s all too late. A new study says gut bacteria could be used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes.
Based on a DNA analysis of a joint research by Chinese and European scientists, people with Type 2 Diabetes have a much higher level of gut bacteria than healthy people. There are more than three pounds of bacteria that thrive in everybody’s digestive system and scientists say these could make the diagnosis for Type 2 diabetes a lot faster.
Scientists with the University of Copenhagen and the Beijing Genomics Institute published their findings on the use of gut bacteria to diagnose Type 2 diabetes in journal Nature. “I think our study provides many targets for disease prevention and treatment through gut microbiotia in the near future” said Jun Wang, study senior author.
Experts say that for the moment their findings only “demonstrates a correlation” between gut bacteria and Type 2 diabetes. Karsten Kristiansen, professor with the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biology, said they still don’t know “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 type 2 diabetes”.
The study looked at 345 individuals from China, and found that 171 of those who had type 2 diabetes had a much higher level of gut bacteria in their digestive system. This unbalance in the bacterial digestive environment could impair a patient’s reaction to some medications. The correlation was also proved to be useful in the early diagnosis of Type 2 diagnosis.
“Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease. I think the intestinal flora could be contributing to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes” said Dr. Joel Zonszein in a statement for USNews.com. “The type of food we eat, the antibiotics we take, the preservatives in food all have a role in altering the microbial environment in the body” Dr. Zonszein added.