image of a crowd of people, diabetes can affect all types of people from every walk of life, by Diabetes Insight Cork, Ireland

Did you know that people with Type 1 Diabetes are just as susceptible to developing Insulin Resistance as somebody with Type 2 Diabetes? People with insulin resistance, have built up a tolerance to insulin, making the hormone less effective. As a result, more insulin is needed to persuade fat and muscle cells to take up glucose and the liver to continue to store it. Why someone fails to respond to insulin is somewhat a mystery, but scientists are learning more as time goes on as to how how insulin resistance develops. People who are overweight or maybe genetically predisposed are at risk of developing Insulin Resistance and there is some research to suggest that cardiovascular disease and certain complications of diabetes may also increase the risk in people with Type 1 Diabetes. Doctors do not test for Insulin Resistance as a standard part of care. In Insulin Resistance, a person with Type 1 Diabetes will not have symptoms, but will notice that they have to inject quite high doses of insulin to get their blood sugars to respond.

So what is the relationship between Insulin Resistance and your gut? New research from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA suggests that problems with controlling blood sugars may begin in your intestine. The scientists studied mice who were unable to make an enzyme called Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS). FAS is necessary for the production of lipids, which is regulated by insulin & people with diabetes have defects in FAS. Mice without the enyzme were seen to develop chronic inflammation in the gut and symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, similar to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This has also been noticed in humans with Ulcerative Colitis, who on biopsy showed that they also had low levels of FAS. When people become resistant to insulin, for example when they gain weight, FAS does not work properly, which can cause inflammation and in turn led to problems with blood sugar control.

This is an interesting study because many people with diabetes suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms. The scientists at Washington University now plan to study people with diabetes to see is FAS altered in these people in anyway, leading to inflammation and damage in the gut. The most effective way of reducing Insulin Resistance is with exercise and weight loss.

The study can be found in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

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