stomach illustration

It’s in your gut

stomach_illustration1A high-fat diet may cause changes in people’s gut bacteria, leading to an increase in bacterial byproducts called endotoxins in the bloodstream. In older people and those with type 2 diabetes, the level of endotoxin is higher.

Nicolas Musi, M.D., director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center, recently received $600,000 from the American Diabetes Association to lead a clinical research study into the issue.

“We all have a little bit of endotoxin in our body coming from the bacteria that live in our gut,” Dr. Musi said. “But usually endotoxin does not come through the intestinal barrier into the blood, or very little does. We question whether the higher level of endotoxin in the blood of diabetics is caused by a high-fat diet that makes the intestinal barrier leaky, allowing endotoxin to spill into the blood.”

The study will also explore how the level of endotoxin might affect insulin sensitivity and the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

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