Metformin has been used to treat diabetes for 60 years, but it is not entirely clear how metformin works only until now.
In a recent study, researchers found that metformin could control blood glucose because it can modulate the gut bacteria.
The human body contains more bacteria than human cells.
Most of these bacteria exist in the gut, which is the most densely populated ecosystem known today.
Their genes (microbiome) complements our own genome with 1000-fold more genes.
Previous work has shown that the gut microbiota is changed in patients with type 2 diabetes and after bariatric surgery.
In the current study, the team conducted a clinical experiment in people with new-onset diabetes to clarify how the gut microbiome is affected by metformin.
They examined the gut microbiome of 22 patients before and after treatment compared with a placebo-treated group of patients.
The results showed that the gut microbiome was altered dramatically within two months of treatment.
the researchers demonstrated that metformin could increase the growth of several bacterial species that may help improve metabolism.
They found some patients with type 2 diabetes can control their disease with metformin, while others cannot control the disease with the drug.
They suggest maybe this is due to the patients’ microbiome configuration. Moreover, the most common adverse events are intestinal problems such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
If scientists can change the intestinal flora in the near future, then more people will respond to treatment.
In addition, adverse events can be reduced by changing the gut microbiota of patients who will take metformin.
The study is done by Sahlgrenska Academy and the University of Girona.
Fredrik Bäckhed, Professor of Molecular Medicine, is the leading researcher.
The study is published in Nature Medicine.
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