This Snail's Venom May Restore Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
“Nature is the best medicine” takes on a whole new meaning after scientists have discovered a type of snail that holds blood-sugar balancing venom.
For years scientists have been trying to develop faster acting insulin for type 1 diabetics, and a study published on Tuesday in eLife found that three different types of cone snails all released fast-acting insulin venom to kill their prey.
Insulin contains two segments called A and B chains. B chain is necessary to activate the body’s insulin receptors and lower blood sugar, but in manufactured insulin, it slows the time for the diabetes drug to take effect. This can be a problem for type 1 diabetics who need fast-acting insulin.
The researchers from the University of Utah Health studied the insulin makeup from the cone snails, and found none of them contained B chain. Interested in how this insulin could affect blood sugar levels, they injected the venom in type 1 diabetic zebrafish and mice and found that it not only lowered blood sugar quickly and effectively, it also activated the insulin receptors, which can also be found in humans.
“We hope to use what we learn to find new approaches to treat diabetes,” said Helena Safavi-Hemami, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and senior author on the paper in a statement.
While more research is needed to develop faster acting insulin, the sequences found in the cone snail venom could be a strong indication of where to start. This news could have significant implications for type 1 diabetics who are insulin dependent and have to inject themselves daily.
While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes is often the result of poor diet and obesity which can cause the pancreas to eventually stop doing its job resulting in high blood sugar levels. There are many ways to lower your blood sugar naturally and they could save you from blood-sugar issues and type 2 diabetes down the line. Besides lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, balancing your blood sugar is essential for things like weight regulation and mood balance.
If you suspect you may have a blood sugar issue, you may want to do lab tests to check for signs your blood sugar is out of whack or your developing insulin resistance. Whether or not you know exactly how healthy your blood sugar levels are you can air on the side of caution and include blood-sugar balancing foods like healthy fats, matcha tea, and cinnamon in your diet.
After this wild discovery, we're confident the development of new insulin drugs isn't moving at a snail's pace (sorry).
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