The American Diabetes Association recently granted $600,000 in funding for a clinical study headed by Dr. Nicolas Musi, the director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The investigation will aim to determine how a diet high in fat intake can affect the normal flora in humans’ gastrointestinal tract (GIT), which can possibly cause a rise in endotoxins given off by harmful bacteria into the blood. Among aging individuals and those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, these endotoxins’ concentration in the blood have been found to already be elevated.
Dr. Musi explained that all humans have relatively harmless levels of endotoxins circulating in the body, mostly coming from the bacteria in the GIT. Musi is hoping to discover if diabetics’ high-fat diets are related to their elevated levels of endotoxins. Dr. Musi speculates that perhaps having more fat in the diet renders the intestinal walls more permeable to endotoxins seeping into the bloodstream.
The investigation will also attempt to link endotoxin levels to one’s sensitivity to insulin and subsequent glucose assimilation.
Dr. Musi and his team of fellow researchers are seeking about 100 willing participants to be divided in three groups, healthy, obese but non-diabetic, and those who have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Recruited volunteers will be given packed meals, and also be tested for the efficacy of an endotoxin-trapping medication formulated to enhance glucose absorption.
UTHSC’s Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies was recently featured in a report on an investigation that links high levels of a certain amino acid with an increased risk for developing diabetes.