Dysbiosis and Diabetes

By Dr Ernst
April 1, 2023

  Gut dysbiosis means there is an imbalance of microorganisms in the intestines. Dysbiosis is also known as intestinal or gastrointestinal dysbiosis.

   Gut microorganisms, collectively known as gut flora, consist predominantly of various strains of bacteria, and to a lesser extent include fungi and protozoa. The gut flora are essential for digestion and immune functioning.

   There is more than one type of gut dysbiosis. You can have too much harmful bacteria in the digestive system and some people don’t have enough good bacteria. Gut microbiota is important in supporting the epithelial barrier and preventing autoimmune reactions.

   Dysbiosis is caused by a change in the population of the various microbes, where the unhelpful microbes overpower those that are beneficial. As this happens, it can have a snowball effect. Some factors that appear to contribute to a state of dysbiosis include: Antibiotic use (from medications or from the consumption of antibiotic-treated animal products), unhealthy diet (lacking in nutrients and fiber or containing harmful substances), alcohol abuse, secondary to medical illness, such as chemotherapy for cancer, and high life stress levels.

   Hyperglycemia is a technical term to describe high blood glucose (blood sugar). It is not the same as having diabetes. Hyperglycemia is a symptom of diabetes. High blood glucose levels cause your kidneys and liver to work harder to remove excess glucose from your bloodstream. Over a long period of time, your liver and kidneys become exhausted and begin to fail.

   There are a number of factors that lead to hyperglycemia. Here are some causes: If you have type 1 diabetes, the dose of insulin or oral medications is not adequate; if you have type 2 diabetes, your body may not be producing enough insulin or be insulin resistant; eating too much sugar; lack of regular exercise; physical or emotional stress; endocrine conditions that cause insulin resistance such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; gestational diabetes; and certain medications such as steroids or diuretics.

   New research suggests hyperglycemia and leaky gut are connected. Researchers also found that hyperglycemia caused significant changes in the gut microbiome and increased the risk for gut infections that cause intestinal illness. The study also found that high sugar diets can cause intestinal damage and leaky gut even when blood glucose is within normal ranges. However, following a healthy diet, keeping tight control of blood sugar and prioritizing your gut health can help protect your intestinal barrier and prevent leaky gut syndrome.

   There has been research through mice that shows hyperglycemia drives inflammation in the gut. Studies involving humans have also been done where 30 clinical measures and microbial products in the systemic circulation were looked at. The findings in humans confirm those in mice and indicate that hyperglycemia is a direct cause of intestinal barrier dysfunction and susceptibility to enteric infections.

   Metformin presents as a sophisticated drug having multiple sites of action and various molecular mechanisms. As of late, other modes of action have been looked at, including at the intestinal level. Regarding the effects of metformin on the gut microbiota, studies have shown that administration of metformin produced several changes in the composition of the intestinal flora.

   Administration of metformin results in improved glucose metabolism, but the way this is achieved is not fully understood, and its implications upon the intestinal flora are incompletely discovered. One of the main features of the dysbiosis found in type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients is the decrease in butyrate-producing bacteria such as Roseburia and Butyrivibrio. Significant increase of butyrate-producing bacteria, especially Butyrivibrio and Roseburia, is observed in T2D patients treated with metformin. Probiotics and metformin together have been shown to improve insulin resistance.

   Alterations of the intestinal microbiota are a key element in understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes and maybe to explain the variability in terms of its therapeutic response and complications occurrence in different patients. Metformin exerts a significant influence on the bacterial constellation found in the gut, bringing a significant contribution to restoring its balance.

   Wherever you fall on the spectrum with hyperglycemia or type 2 diabetes, you can take control of your health. It begins with repairing your gut. Some natural ways include the following.

   Relieve Your Stress: Stress is the primary cause of hyperglycemia. Your body is not designed to live in fight or flight mode all the time. It needs to rest and relax to function optimally. Adopting daily stress-relieving strategies will help you get your blood glucose levels under control. Find activities to take your mind off stress and do things like going for a walk, reading a book, or spending time playing with your children.

   Change Your Diet: It would be a good idea for everyone to remove gluten and dairy from their diets. You should also avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. Alcohol is toxic. Here is a list of foods that can help regulate your blood glucose levels: Organic berries (especially blueberries), extra virgin olive oil, leafy green vegetables, spices (particularly turmeric and cinnamon), and wild-caught fish.

   Exercise: Our bodies function at their best when we exercise regularly. If you have diabetes, consult with your functional medicine practitioner before starting an exercise routine and remember to start slow. Start by creating a routine where you set a time every day to exercise. Thirty minutes of movement is needed to get the benefits. Be sure to take care of your feet as diabetes can cause numbness in the extremities.

   Repair Your Gut: The 4R approach is proven. First, remove all inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy and eggs and also ditch toxic foods like sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Second, replace by adding supplements such as digestive enzymes that will help support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Third, reinoculate by restoring the beneficial bacteria in your gut with high-quality, high-potency probiotics to re-establish a healthy microbiome. Fourth, repair by providing essential nutrients needed to repair your gut with a supplement which contains ingredients such as L-glutamine, aloe, licorice, arabinogalactan, slippery elm and marshmallow root. It should be noted that if you have type 1 diabetes, talk with your doctor before taking supplements that contain L-Glutamine.

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