Gut Microbiome Impacts on the Progression and Treatment of Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease that impacts millions of individuals worldwide. Diabetes is treatable and one can live a normal life with this treatment, yet there is still no cure and the exact mechanism through which it develops remains elusive. Diet, environment, genetics, and lifestyle are all factors contributing to the increasing number of diabetes cases, though genetics are being reconsidered as the primary factor. Instead, recent research has turned to the gut microbiome as both a cause of diabetes and a possible treatment and prevention option, with new data elevating the importance. However, this is controversial, because findings remain mixed and additional support is needed, as this manuscript will review. Presently, Type 1 diabetes (T1D) research has found that the microbiome can be used as a biomarker because an increase in alpha-diversity is correlated to a decreased likelihood of developing diabetes. Research has also focused on using the gut microbiome to alleviate symptoms or prevent T1D. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) likely has a partial cause in gut microbiome dysbiosis due to increases in gut permeability and systemic inflammation leading to insulin resistance. However, an increase in beneficial bacteria through probiotics and other dietary changes could provide a reversal of the disease state. Studies still need to be conducted to advance understanding of the exact mechanisms through which gut microbes can trigger or protect from diabetes, using further human clinical studies.
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