There are a number of treatments for diabetes including diet, and insulin therapy; however, new research has uncovered a type-2 diabetes treatment involving a way to lower blood sugar using the liver.
A team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis knew that some treatments for type-2 diabetes make the body more sensitive to insulin, which is the hormone that lowers blood sugar. However, working with mice, they were able to shut down the liver protein involved in making glucose and thus lower blood sugar levels. It’s an approach they think might work in people with type-2 diabetes.
The lead researcher Brian N. Finck, Ph.D., said, “We think this strategy could lead to more effective drugs for type-2 diabetes.” He went on to suggest that shutting down glucose production has the potential to help millions of people suffering from diabetes.
Currently, there is a company in the U.S. that is conducting clinical trials on a drug compound as a treatment. The new study shows that the compound works by stopping protein that is vital to glucose production in the liver. Doctors have always understood the blood sugar and liver connection – the liver acts as the body’s glucose holder – but now they also see how it can be adjusted to improve health if needed.
During the experiment, the researchers cut sugar production in the liver cells by preventing a protein from transporting pyruvate – a building block of glucose – from the bloodstream into the energy areas of liver cells, referred to as mitochondria. Previous studies indicated that interfering with pyruvate could possibly limit glucose production, but this study is the first to show the key role played by the pyruvate transport protein.
In addition to addressing diabetes, experts believe adjusting pyruvate transport may also be able to help people with fatty liver disease, a condition common in individuals with obesity.
Blood sugar and liver
The liver serves an important role, helping to keep blood sugar levels circulating and other fuels steady. The liver stores and makes glucose depending on need. During a meal, your liver stores glucose as glycogen for a later time when the body needs it. When you are not eating; overnight for example, the body makes its own sugar. If your body’s glycogen storage is running low for any reason, the body starts to conserve the sugar supplies for the organs that need it. The brain, red blood cells and part of the kidneys are examples of areas of the body that require sugar. To make up for a low amount of sugar, the liver starts to make alternative fuels, called ketones. These are made from fats. Insulin signals a process called ketogenesis. Ketones are burned as fuel by muscle and other body organs. Too much ketones can be dangerous, so having the right amount of blood sugar in your system is best.
If your blood sugar stays over 240, that generally means that it is too high, as opposed to too low. High blood sugar happens when people don’t have enough insulin in their body. Sometimes it occurs when people eat too much or don’t exercise enough. In some cases, medications can cause high blood sugar. Careful steps should be taken to reduce blood sugar levels if you think they are too high.
Glucose production in the liver is essential to our good health. Too much or not enough can throw our body out of rhythm and lead to a host of illnesses. To protect our liver from diabetes we don’t have to do anything drastic. There are safe, simple ways to preserve our health.
How to lower your blood sugar naturally
Eat Healthy – A healthy diet can make us feel good, but it also does wonders for our blood sugar. It can lower blood sugar and, in fact, is often a diabetes treatment. Carbohydrates are off-limits to a lot of people with diabetes since they affect glucose more than any other category of food. A simple way to formulate a healthy menu is to focus on low glycemic index (GI) foods. They are less likely to increase your blood sugar levels. Stone ground wheat, beans, and non-starchy vegetables are good examples.
Don’t Overeat – If you want to lower your blood sugar naturally, pay close attention to portions. Overeating is one of the biggest contributors to sugar spiking. You should also limit junk food and processed foods. Products containing added sugars such as pop, cookies and cakes should be limited. Concentrating on whole foods is a smart way to prevent high blood sugar.
Exercise Regularly – Exercise is a good method to lower your blood sugar naturally. When we are physically active, our muscles are using glucose for energy. Exercise also helps our body use insulin more efficiently. For those who already have diabetes or high blood sugar, consulting a doctor about an exercise routine first is the best approach.
Foods that lower your blood sugar level
Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that 29 million Americans currently have diabetes. They also report that one in three Americans has pre-diabetes. This means blood sugar level is higher than what is considered normal, but not as high as people who are suffering from diabetes.
As mentioned above, eating right and exercising are two good ways to prevent glucose problems. Some studies even show that eating specific foods help.
Here is a look at a list of food that may lower your blood sugar level:
- Dark cherries
- Apple cider vinegar
It’s important to keep in mind that while these foods may be helpful, they can’t replace exercise and eating sensibly on a regular basis if you want to maintain a lower blood sugar level and protect your liver from diabetes.
Keeping your blood sugar in balance and your liver in check is important to your overall health. The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and perhaps the most complex. There are over 100 different forms of liver disease caused by a variety of factors, including viruses, genetics, toxins and poor nutrition. Research suggests that many of the problems associated with the liver, as well as other vital organs can be prevented by understanding risk factors, taking necessary precautions and making healthy lifestyle choices. The Washington University School of Medicine study brings to light yet another reason to protect the liver – it just might hold the key to controlling blood sugar levels and ultimately saving lives.
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