Type 2 diabetes and the gut microbiome
How they are connected, and what you need to know
Did you know that more than 30 million people in the United States—roughly 1 in 10—live with diabetes?
While there are several different types of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes makes up the vast majority—90 to 95 percent—of all cases.What happens in people with Type 2 diabetes?
People with Type 2 diabetes have trouble metabolizing sugar, which can lead to having too much sugar in their blood.
Left uncontrolled, high blood sugar is a big problem—over time, it can cause damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart.
Blood sugar is regulated by a hormone called insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes either don’t make enough insulin, or they don’t respond to insulin in the way they should.What does insulin do?
To understand why that matters, it helps to know how insulin works.
When blood sugar rises after a meal, insulin rushes in to usher the sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells throughout the body.
If this process breaks down, blood-sugar levels rise.
For a long time, researchers focused on the genetic and lifestyle factors that could put people at risk for Type 2 diabetes. These include
- Having family members with diabetes
- Being overweight; and
- Getting too little exercise
Some people can avoid Type 2 diabetes just by eating right and exercising more. Others might take medicines—like the commonly-prescribed metformin—to help manage their blood sugar.
Recently, scientists have been exploring the ways in which T2D and the gut microbiome are connected.
How is the gut microbiome different in people with Type 2 diabetes?
The gut microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes that make their home in and on our intestines.
By studying these bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses that coexist, researchers are using that information to find new ways to manage Type 2 diabetes.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the gut microbiome plays many important roles in keeping us healthy.
A few years ago, researchers reported some of the first evidence suggesting that Type 2 diabetes is linked to an imbalance in the gut microbiome. What they noticed was that the gut microbiomes of people with Type 2 diabetes were lacking in certain bacteria.
What distinguished those missing bacteria was their ability to produce butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that’s produced in the gut when certain species of bacteria digest complex carbohydrates—especially fibers and starches—found in foods like oats, beans, and potatoes.
Without those bacteria, these carbohydrates aren’t broken down properly, and there is limited production of butyrate. That’s important because butyrate in the gut plays an important role in being a major fuel source for cells lining the intestine.Is there a way to boost butyrate-producing gut bacteria for Type 2 diabetes management?
If part of the problem with Type 2 diabetes is a loss of butyrate-producing beneficial bacteria, it stands to reason that boosting levels of beneficial bacteria might help.
Dietary changes can help encourage existing butyrate-producing gut bacteria.
High-fiber diets helps to encourage a greater diversity and abundance of bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. Therapies directed at the gut microbiome through personalized nutrition offered a new way to manage Type 2 diabetes.
Pendulum's registered dietitians have created 42 unique and gut-microbiome-friendly meals plans. You can check out and even purchase these meal plans by clicking here.
To help nourish your gut microbiome, Pendulum Therapeutics’ dietitians also provide personalized, 1-Hour Nutrition Coaching Calls.
During the calls, dietitians offer personalized nutrition education based on your needs, and they also provide resources and handouts just for you.
Also, Pendulum's proprietary formula for Pendulum Glucose Control contains targeted strains of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and a prebiotic (food to fuel those beneficial bacteria).
This combination enables you to produce butyrate and better process fiber.
Pendulum Glucose Control is the first and only medical probiotic shown to effectively help manage A1C levels and after-meal blood-sugar spikes.
*A nutrition study demonstrated statistically and clinically significant reduction in A1C and blood sugar spikes in people with Type 2 diabetes. It was randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled, and across multiple sites in the U.S.