(New Scientist) The most successful treatment for type 2 diabetes may work by changing the makeup of gut bacteria.
Metformin is commonly prescribed to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. It is also being tested as an anti-ageing treatment.
The drug is generally believed to work by reducing the amount of glucose made in the liver, which would in turn lower blood sugar levels. But some observations suggest this isn’t the whole story.
For instance, a slow-release version of the drug appears to be just as effective, even though only small amounts of it ever reach the liver. And metformin works just as well in people with genetic variants that stop it from getting to the liver.
Fredrik Bäckhed at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and José Manuel Fernàndez-Real at the University of Girona, Spain, wondered if gut bacteria might play a role in the drug’s action. After all, the trillions of bugs that line our intestines have been linked to a range of diseases, and are known to influence drug metabolism.
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