The frequency of type 2 diabetes (T2D) continues to rise at alarming rates worldwide; however, recent findings have indicated that the gut microbiome may play a therapeutic role in treatments for obesity and associated metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes. Just like obesity, researchers have focused on two main phyla of bacteria for studies on diabetes: Firmicutes, which are involved in dietary fat processing, and Bacteroidetes, which are essential for digesting protein and carbohydrates. Scientists have discovered striking links between changes in our gut microbiome and an increase in diabetes. Although current research is not definitive, more research is definitely warranted. Future research should potentially focus on whether bacterial species (like butyrate) have the same effects as the intestinal bacteria that manufacture it, which would generate effective therapies for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers remain hopeful for novel techniques for treating type 2 diabetes, including fecal transplants, because they have revealed promising results.

One of the largest human gut microbiome studies to date has identified a connection between fluctuations in the gut microbiome and the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). The study followed genetically predisposed infants and revealed that onset of the disease was preceded by decreasing microbial diversity—including disparate decreases in species that may encourage health. This finding may support bacteria-based preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic treatments for those with T1D.

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