Washington: Turns out, people with the natural gene mutation appear to have an advantage when it comes to diet. Those who eat a high-carbohydrate diet and have this mutation absorb less glucose than those without it.
Researchers have discovered a gene mutation that slows the metabolism of sugar in the gut, giving people who have the mutation a distinct advantage over those who do not. Those with the mutation have a lower risk of diabetes, obesity, heart failure, and even death.
The researchers said that their finding could provide the basis for drug therapies that could mimic the workings of this gene mutation, offering a potential benefit for the millions of people who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
“This study helped us clarify the link between what we eat, what we absorb, and our risk for the disease. Knowing this opens the door to improved therapies for cardiometabolic disease,” said Scott D. Solomon, M.D., the lead researcher. He explained that the study is the first to fully evaluate the link between mutations in the gene mainly responsible for absorbing glucose in the gut–SGLT-1, or sodium glucose co-transporter-1–and cardiometabolic disease.
During the study, the researchers analysed the relationship between SGLT-1 mutations and cardiometabolic disease using genetic data obtained from 8,478 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) study.
The researchers found that about 6 percent of the subjects carried a mutation in SGLT-1 that causes limited impairment of glucose absorption. Individuals with this mutation had a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, were less obese, had a lower incidence of heart failure, and had a lower mortality rate when compared to those without the mutation, even after adjusting for dietary intake (including total calories, sodium, and sugars).
Based on these findings, the scientists suggested that selectively blocking the SGLT-1 receptor could provide a way to slow down glucose uptake to prevent or treat cardiometabolic disease and its consequences. They cautioned that development of such targeted drugs could take years and that clinical trials are still needed to determine if the drugs reduce the incidence of diabetes and heart failure and improve lifespan.
The findings appeared in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.