Researchers study gut bacteria to understand diabetes better

Scientists from Madras Diabetes Research Foundation will sequence the DNA of bacteria in the bowel to see if they contained enough 'good' bacteria or too much 'bad' bacteria that could trigger metabolic diseases.

The research centre has teamed up with the University of Copenhagen for the research, which earlier found a strong link between gut bacteria and diabetes.

At least 1.5kg of bacteria in a human body, mostly in the gut, played a key role in not only the digestion food but also in the development and functioning of the immune and neural systems as also in a wide range of metabolic functions, according to doctors.

According to Danish scientists leading the  study, including Dr Oluf B Pedersen, a professor of molecular metabolism and metabolic genetics at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, bacterial DNA extracted from stool samples of 292 individuals showed 23 per cent of Danish adults had a 40 per cent reduction in the abundance of bacterial genes. The DNA sequence of the bugs represented what was going on in the colon.

"We found people with fewer and less diverse types of bacteria had a higher body fat percentage and elevated blood lipids," Pedersen said. "This is a significant correlation. We are curious to know if results are similar in Indians," The Times of India reported.

Pedersen said, ''Gut bacteria produce thousands of compounds that enter the bloodstream, are circulated to all organs, and have an impact. Studies have shown they impact the brain too. They can cause diabetes or lead to obesity, The Hindu reported.

''They have enormous capacity for inducing different disorders. Is there a role for gut bacteria in the development of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes and is there a universal gut bacteria that's contributing to causing diabetes worldwide - these are some of the questions we are studying,'' said Pedersen.

Scientists suspect the Indian diet could be a contributing factor, as diet affected gut bacteria.

Pedersen had in earlier research, been able to show that those who had more diverse gut bacteria were protected from various diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity.