New research by Rutgers University has found fiber plays a far more active role than ever recorded in nurturing the gut bacteria that control blood sugars and fats.
An experimental type 2 diabetes drug can lower blood sugar and aid weight loss in obese mice with the condition. Scientists from Monash University in Australia injected the mice every day for a week with a protein they created called IC7Fc. IC7Fc targets the gp13 receptor, which is found on many cells in the human body and is known to influence metabolism. By the end of the week, the mice lost weight, ate less and had reduced blood-sugar levels, the researchers found.
The weight loss came from reducing the body fat of the mice without affecting their muscle mass. The scientists claim no existing type 2 diabetes drug has the same benefits. They are now seeking funding for human trials.
IC7Fc was made by combining two different signalling proteins found in humans. When injected into obese mice, the animals lost fat, ate less and saw their blood sugar levels go down.
'Control' mice, which were obese and diabetic, were just fed less and injected with a saline solution.
Although the controls lost fat, they also saw their muscle mass go down.
If IC7Fc's benefits also occur in humans, elderly patients in particular may benefit, the scientists claim. This is due to them already being at risk of reduced muscle mass. The mice that received IC7Fc also had less fat build-up in their livers. Metformin has been shown to have the same effect. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease often occurs in patients who are overweight or obese, including type 2 diabetics, according to Diabetes.co.uk. Left untreated, it can cause severe liver damage and even failure.
In a second part of the experiment, IC7Fc's safety was tested in human cells in the laboratory and in monkeys. The drug did not trigger inflammation or an immune response, the study found.