Gut 'taste sense' faulty in diabetes

The gut may play a larger role in diabetes than first thought, according to researchers who have found defects in how the intestines of people with the disease detect and absorb glucose.

'Taste' receptors in the intestine may be defective in patients with diabetes (Photo: SPL)
'Taste' receptors in the intestine may be defective in patients with diabetes (Photo: SPL)

In healthy people, sweet taste receptors in the gut detect and regulate the amount of glucose absorbed into the body within 30 minutes of a meal.

Now, researchers from Australia have discovered that abnormalities in these receptors in the guts of adults with type 2 diabetes may lead to faster glucose uptake than in healthy people.

Richard Young PhD from the University of Adelaide, Australia said: 'This shows that diabetes is not just a disorder of the pancreas and of insulin - the gut plays a bigger role than researchers have previously considered.

'This is because the body's own management of glucose uptake may rely on the actions of sweet taste receptors, and these appear to be abnormally controlled in people with type 2 diabetes.'

Researchers said a greater understanding of how these mechanisms work could lead to better management or treatment of diabetes.

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