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Anti-diabetic Drugs Affect Gut bacteria

Reported by: Irina Robu

Gut bacteria produces several types of substances that affect human physiology and health. However, any change in composition of this gut microbiome can have negative health effects. In a recent study, scientists have tried to understand the signatures of gut microbiota in diabetic patients. 

Using over 700 available human gut metagenomes, the scientists analyzed in detail the effects of the most widely used antidiabetic drug – metformin. Their findings indicated that metformin causes favorable changes in the gut microbiota of type 2 diabetes patients. The drug boosts the capability of the gut bacteria to produce butyric acid and propionic acid. These molecules act to reduce blood glucose levels in diabetics.

Metformin is known for its negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract, such as bloating and flatulence. The patients treated with metformin were found to have more coliform bacteria in their gut and it may be one of the reasons for these adverse effects. When looking at type 2 diabetes patients that were not treated with metformin, the researchers concluded that they had fewer bacteria that produced butyric acid and propionic acid. The study underscores the need to disentangle the gut microbiota signatures of human diseases from medication-induced effects.

Source

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26633628

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