Your gut microbiome is an important component of your overall health that is understudied and often overlooked. This is especially true for those dealing with diabetes. New research has shown a link between the health of one’s microbiome and the ability to maintain consistent blood sugar levels. Considering November is Diabetes Awareness Month, there’s no better time than now to explore the ways that gut health affects your body, and how you can use it to your advantage to help manage diabetes symptoms.
The Link Between Your Gut and Diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic condition in which your body is incapable of breaking down the sugar in the blood due to insulin insensitivity. New research suggests that a poorly managed gut microbiome can cause the body to become more resistant to insulin. This is caused by an imbalance that causes harmful bacteria to outnumber the good ones in the digestive tract. This imbalance can negatively affect the sensors in your brain that tell your body that you’re full, called GLPs. Without this signal, you are prone to overeating, gaining weight, and experiencing more of the blood sugar spikes that lead to developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s important to remember that while the health of your gut is not the only contributing factor for developing diabetes. Things like genetics, amount of body fat, and fitness level all contribute to a person’s chances of developing the disease.
For those already living with diabetes, poor gut health can make it difficult for you to manage your blood sugar levels and can even exasperate complications. Diabetics typically have altered microbiota in their intestines that prevent proper functioning. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been linked with not having enough diversity in their gut bacteria, which can lead to
Using Your Gut Bacteria to Control Your Blood Sugar
The good news is that it is possible to improve insulin sensitivity through gut health. One common piece of advice that you’ll come across when trying to improve your gut health is to eat a “healthy diet.” While the basis of this advice is true, you have to be careful with where you’re getting your information from. Most media sources push out a lot of misinformation about nutrition as a way to get more views and clicks. Be sure that any advice you’re given is coming from a reputable source and is backed by actual scientific evidence.
A frequent misconception about gut health is that there’s a “one-size-fits-all” approach— and this is even more true when it comes to advice on how to manage diabetes symptoms. There are some universal truths that apply to all people living with the disease: try to eat foods that don’t elicit a large glycemic response, and try to incorporate many different types of food into your diet. Eating different foods will help diversify the bacteria in your gut and make your cells more sensitive to insulin. However, you should keep in mind that each individual possesses a microbiome that is unique to them, meaning that your response to certain foods will be completely different than how others respond to it.
Diabetics should know which foods to avoid in order to properly balance their meals and manage blood sugar, and which to eat more of because they are beneficial for them. It may be recommended for some to eat foods that are tryptophan sources— like chicken eggs and soybeans— because they can help reduce some of the inflammation that can exasperate insulin resistance, whereas others may need to avoid these foods because they increase inflammation. Some individuals may need to incorporate prebiotics or probiotics into their diet depending on the makeup of their microbiota.
In order to figure out which dietary habits you should adopt in order to manage your diabetes, work with your doctor to document how specific foods affect your individual blood sugar levels. In addition, sharing your Viome results & recommendations reports from either your Health Intelligence or Gut Intelligence tests with your doctor gives you even more tools to work with. The more that you begin to understand how your individual microbiome functions, the easier it will be for you to use it to help manage your diabetes.
As more information becomes available to us about the connection between our gut bacteria and diabetes it’s becoming increasingly clear that our individual response to foods is just as relevant in managing blood sugar as the macronutrients present in our diet. Learning how to utilize this information in our favor can help prevent diabetics from suffering further health complications.
The information on the Viome website is provided for informational purposes only and with the understanding that Viome is not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Viome provides this educational information to share the exciting developments being reported in the scientific literature about the human microbiome and your health. Viome products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.