Researchers have found that early insulin treatment for diabetes is as effective as 15 months of oral treatment when it comes to improving the body’s ability to produce insulin. The research was conducted on 23 adults who were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Current treatment involves oral therapy to suppress glucose production in the liver. Insulin, on the other hand, is produced by the pancreas, which allows for glucose to become used up and prevents spikes in blood sugar. If used early it can prevent fewer metabolic side effects.
The findings were uncovered by researchers at Ohio University and Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In a randomized control trial the insulin group saw their A1C levels decrease from 10.1 percent to 6.7 percent after 15 months. The group that received oral treatment had A1C levels drop from 9.9 percent to 6.8 percent in 15 months. The insulin group did not encounter any side effects where the oral therapy group experienced weight gain – the insulin group also lost five pounds on average.
Lead researcher, Dr. Jay Shubrook, said, “While the improvement in glucose was relatively comparable between the two groups, our findings support the idea that the body can improve its natural insulin secreting ability when early insulin is given. This may be because early insulin therapy protects beta cells in the pancreas that respond to glucose and produce insulin.”
Limitations of the study outlined by Shubrook included the study group size and how many were considered severely obese. Aside from the limitations, the study still reveals clues that could increase results for those with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes and improve treatment options.
The research was presented at the Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition (OMED).