If you have diabetes, you probably know all about the health challenges you face. It's not just about your blood sugar. You're also at higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's. What you don't need is for your diabetes drugs to cause even more health challenges. But new research says that's exactly what they're doing.
In this new study, the researchers wanted to find out if diabetes drugs changed the patients' gut bacteria. They looked at 784 people. Some of them were healthy; some of them had type-2 diabetes.
What was interesting about this study was what the researchers found out about metformin. Metformin is the most frequently used drug to treat high blood sugar. The first thing they found out was that the metformin caused favorable changes in the gut bacteria of type-2 diabetics. But it didn't stop there.
Other studies have shown that metformin causes adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Many people who take this drug suffer from bloating and increased flatulence. These are not comfortable problems. And they're also not signs of improved bacterial function. So what gives? How can metformin cause favorable changes in the bacteria, but still cause GI problems?
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The study provided the researchers with a possible explanation. First, the changes the metformin made in the gut bacteria made the bugs better at sugar metabolism. So that's good. However, patients treated with metformin have more coliform bacteria in their intestines. While most medical professionals don't consider coliform bacteria dangerous, it can cause bloating and gas. So it's not completely benign.
The reality is diabetics who take metformin have different gut bacteria than healthy individuals. As the researchers discovered, this can have both good and bad consequences. That means diabetics must take a probiotic, such as Advanced Probiotic Formula to help negate the negative effects of the different bacteria. Taking enzymes, such as those in Integrative Digestive Formula also will help you avoid the bloating and gas issues.
If these are big problems for you, do everything you can to reverse your diabetes and get off the drug altogether. If you can't do this, talk to your doctor about using a different drug to treat your diabetes. The researchers didn't find these problems with other drugs.
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Kristoffer Forslund, Falk Hildebrand, Trine Nielsen, Gwen Falony, Emmanuelle Le Chatelier, Shinichi Sunagawa, Edi Prifti, Sara Vieira-Silva, Valborg Gudmundsdottir, Helle Krogh Pedersen, Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Karsten Kristiansen, Anita Yvonne Voigt, Henrik Vestergaard, Rajna Hercog, Paul Igor Costea, Jens Roat Kultima, Junhua Li, Torben Jørgensen, Florence Levenez, Joël Dore, H. Bjørn Nielsen, Søren Brunak, Jeroen Raes, Torben Hansen, Jun Wang, S. Dusko Ehrlich, Peer Bork, Oluf Pedersen. Disentangling type 2 diabetes and metformin treatment signatures in the human gut microbiota. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature15766.