Menu

High-Fiber Diet Shifts Gut Microbes, Lowering Blood Sugar in Diabetics

New findings suggest that promoting the growth of fiber-loving bacteria may help manage type 2 diabetes.

Mar 9, 2018
Ashley Yeager

WIKIMEDIA, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTEA diet high in fiber can reshape the gut microbiome, helping people with type 2 diabetes stay healthy. A study published yesterday (March 8) in Science found that when patients with the condition ate a high-fiber diet, they had an abundance of microbial species that helped to reduce blood sugar and regulate weight compared with cohorts who ate a less fiber-rich diet.

“The study really gets at the mechanistic reasons of why these fiber-rich, plant-based diets may be helpful, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes,” Clare Lee, an endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the study, tells STAT News. “It’s an exciting step towards understanding potential mechanisms that can help us prevent and treat diabetes.”

In the study, microbiologist Liping Zhao of Rutgers University and his colleagues fed a group of 27 type 2 diabetes patients a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods, and prebiotics for up to 86 days, while a group of 16 patients ate a similar diet with less fiber. All of the patients were treated with the diabetes drug acarbose, which helps transform starch into fiber.

For the first four weeks, hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar, fell in both groups. After day 28, however, those in the group that ate more fiber showed larger drops in blood sugar levels compared with the individuals who ate less fiber. At the end of the study, 89 percent of people on the high-fiber diet reached adequate blood sugar levels, while only 50 percent did while on the lower-fiber diet. Fecal analysis revealed that subjects on the high-fiber diet had drops in production of indole, hydrogen sulfide, and other metabolically detrimental compounds.

The team also transplanted the microbes of both sets of patients into germ-free mice. Animals that got the high-fiber-diet microbes had better regulation of blood sugar, while the mice that got the normal-diet microbes didn’t see such improvement. This experiment revealed that it was the gut microbes that were responsible for the changes in blood sugar and weight in the human subjects.

Targeted restoration of such good bacteria may present a way to manage type 2 diabetes, the researchers write. Zhao tells STAT News that he’d like to experiment with microbiome changes to look for a way to reverse the course of the disease.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.