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Researchers closer to understanding how blood glucose homeostasis occurs in the body


Researchers are getting closer to getting closer to understanding how blood sugar homeostasis happens in the body, as they found that the pancreatic islets are responsible for maintaining normal blood glucose levels in the body, according to a study published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.

The study was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the U.S. who examined whether there is a main organ or mechanism that regulates normal blood glucose levels.

“Our hypothesis was that the glycemic set point results from the pancreatic islets working as an organ, where the hormonal output is governed by features and mechanisms intrinsic to the islet tissue,” said Rayner Rodriguez-Diaz, the first author of the study.

To test their hypothesis, they transplanted pancreatic islets from different species, which included humans, into diabetic and non-diabetic mice. After that, they measured the blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance of the mice. Through their experiment, they found that the transplanted islets transferred the glycemic levels of the donor species. This result suggested that the pancreatic islets are responsible for the regulation of normal blood glucose levels. Lead researcher Per-Olof Berggren described this as the “glucostat” in the body. Interestingly, the researchers also found that the cells that release the hormone glucagon in pancreatic islets are significant for the regulation of insulin-producing cells, and thus the management of blood sugar levels.

“This means that it is imperative to use human pancreatic islets when investigating how this complex microorgan regulates glucose homeostasis under normal conditions, and why this is not functioning in diabetes,” said Alejandro Caicedo, a researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The researchers concluded that their findings imply transplantation and regenerative approaches in treating diabetes. This is because the restoration of normal blood glucose levels may need more than replacing only the insulin-producing cells.

Tips on maintaining blood sugar levels

Blood glucose, or blood sugar, is needed by the body for energy. Blood sugar levels in the body should be regulated because an imbalance in their levels can affect health. If the blood sugar levels in the body are too low (hypoglycemia) or if they are too high (hyperglycemia), it can pose serious threats to health. In fact, hyperglycemia results in diabetes, a disease when the blood sugar levels are too high. Therefore, it is important to regulate blood glucose levels in the body.

Here are some ways on how to stabilize blood sugar levels:

  • Exercise – Exercising regularly can help control blood sugar levels over time. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, participants enrolled in a 12-week program who exercised for an hour three times a week using aerobic and resistance training showed improved diabetes management. (Related: How to regulate your blood sugar without prescription drugs.)
  • Lose weight – Losing even five or 10 pounds can make it easier for overweight people with high blood sugar levels to stabilize their blood sugar more effectively.
  • Make healthy diet changes – A lot of people with diabetes attain better control over their blood glucose by avoiding or limiting the kinds of foods that can cause blood sugar to increase. Eating more lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, while limiting consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods may be recommended. In addition, adding foods that contain fiber in a meal that might increase blood sugar levels can help stabilize it. This is because fiber slows down digestion.
  • Limit alcohol intake – Alcohol can cause a sudden increase in blood sugar and then a drop a few hours late. Thus, it is most appropriate only to consume moderate amounts and eat some solid food with it.

Read more news stories and studies on blood glucose by going to DiabetesScienceNews.com.

Sources include:

ScienceDaily.com

MedlinePlus.gov

EverydayHealth.com

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