Diabetes

Benefits of metformin may involve gut bacteria

Researchers have shown the type 2 diabetes drug metformin helps boost good gut bacteria, according to a new study.

The treatment is commonly used to control people’s blood sugar levels and Swedish and Spanish researchers wanted to see if gut bacteria had a role to play in how the drug works.

Teams from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Girona in Spain recruited a total of 40 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes for their study.

The participants were divided up into two groups, one of which was given metformin for four months and the other received a placebo. Both groups were pDiabetes and insuranceut on a low-calorie diet.

Researchers discovered the bacteria found in the gut changed significantly in those who had been taking metformin. They say the diabetes drug seemed to boost the growth of bacteria called akkermansia and bifidobacterium.

They proved this by fecal microbiota transplantation which involved taking a stool sample solution from the humans and administering it into the digestinal tract of mice. The human stool samples were taken before and after metformin treatment and the mice had been put on a high-calorie diet. The fecal transplant is thought to help pass good bacteria from a healthy person to someone who is unwell.

Excrement taken from those who had been taking the metformin seemed to help control blood glucose levels in the mice. Samples taken from those who had not started taking the drug treatment did not have an effect at all.

The findings, which have been published in the Nature journal, stated: “By directly investigating metformin–microbiota interactions in a gut simulator, we showed that metformin affected pathways with common biological functions in species from two different phyla, and many of the metformin-regulated genes in these species encoded metalloproteins or metal transporters.

“Our findings provide support for the notion that altered gut microbiota mediates some of metformin’s antidiabetic effects.”

Now researchers think the results of the study might indicate that people with type 2 diabetes might be able to control their condition better by being mindful of foods which might help promote good gut bacteria.

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