Gut 'tastes' sugar differently in type 2 diabetes

The way your intestine "tastes" sweet foods might not work properly in Type 2 diabetics, resulting in problems with sugar absorption, a new study reveals.

The discovery of these sweet "taste receptors" in the gut could provide critical information about how and why diabetics experience health and nutrition problems, said researchers at the University of Adelaide.

Richard Young, senior postdoctoral researcher in the nerve-gut research laboratory, said in a university news release:

When we talk about 'sweet taste', most people think of tasting sweet food on our tongue, but scientists have discovered that sweet taste receptors are present in a number of sites in the human body. We're now just beginning to understand the importance of the sweet taste receptors in the human intestine and what this means for sufferers of Type 2 diabetes."

Glucose regulation affected

In the study, which included 14 healthy adults and 13 with Type 2 diabetes, Young found that the sweet taste receptors in the intestines of healthy adults enabled their bodies to regulate glucose uptake 30 minutes after the receptors detected it. Yet, people with Type 2 diabetes were found to have receptors that resulted in faster glucose uptake.

"When sweet taste receptors in the intestine detect glucose, they trigger a response that may regulate the way glucose is absorbed by the intestine," Young said. "Our studies show that in diabetes patients, the glucose is absorbed more rapidly and in greater quantities than in healthy adults."

The findings are important because they show that diabetes is not just a disorder that is rooted in the pancreas and insulin, Young said, but that the gut plays a much larger role than researchers previously thought.

"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," Young concluded.

Source: Health Day

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