Ever wonder why some diabetes drugs work for you but not your friends and family? Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina say the bacteria in your gut may be the culprit.
They reviewed more than 100 published studies in humans and rodents that examined how gut bacteria enhance or inhibit the effectiveness of the most commonly prescribed diabetes drugs. They observed that certain drugs work well when given intravenously, but fail or lose potency when they’re taken orally and pass through the gut. Conversely, some drugs, including metformin, work best given orally, but not when given through an IV.
The researchers learned that, before being absorbed into the bloodstream, many orally-administered drugs are processed with intestinal microbial enzymes. Each patient’s unique gut microbiome influences how the drugs are metabolized — which the team says may help explain why drugs will show 90 to 50 percent optimum efficacy, but never 100 percent.