Posted November 21, 2014
People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes produce excess insulin, which can create a variety of health problems. However, recent research may provide insights into a new treatment solution.
New compound discovered
Scientists at Harvard University discovered a new chemical compound, called the insulin degrading enzyme, that, when tested on obese mice, improved glucose tolerance (which is the ability to use and process sugar effectively).
Glucose is an important energy source needed by cells and organs for growth, activity and body processes. Individuals with diabetes have a limited capacity to absorb glucose into cells. Instead it remains in the bloodstream and can cause a variety of medical problems, such as obesity, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney and eye disease, physical exhaustion or even blindness.
In laboratory testing, researchers found that the enzyme compound extended the body’s ability to use natural insulin. It delayed the body’s process for emptying the stomach, thus extending the digestion of foods and creating a longer sense of fullness. It also stimulated the release of glucose into the liver, where it’s stored and released into the bloodstream.
Applications to humans
Although the Harvard study was conducted with mice, researchers believe the results could be used by drug manufactures to develop new medications that treat diabetes more effectively.
A silent killer
According to a US News and World Report article, 1 in 8 Americans, or 29 million people, has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, making it one of the most common, and fastest-growing, diseases. Health professionals classify type 2 diabetes as a silent killer. A study by Harris Interactive/HealthDay revealed that Americans have minimal awareness or understanding of type 2 diabetes. Only 21 percent of people surveyed rated themselves as knowledgeable of the disease.
Lifestyle choices often contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Such choices include obesity, poor diet and lack of physical activity.
Learn more about the study by reading this report.