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Monash Nutrition Researchers Develop Accurate Method for Screening Potential Diabetes Drugs

Researchers at Monash Nutrition have developed cutting-edge technology to measure carbohydrate digestion rates in humans. This will aid future research into discovering and developing new treatments for people with or at risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Researchers at Monash Nutrition have developed cutting-edge technology to measure carbohydrate digestion rates in humans. This will aid future research in discovering and developing new treatments for people with or at risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

The new protocol overcomes several key barriers for scientists. Previous methods for testing the effects of chemicals on carbohydrate digestion have primarily used animal models and microbes, and the results either are not representative of human digestion or are inconsistent due to interference from test substances. It was accurate.

The latest findings are now published in the Nature Protocols journal.

According to Diabetes Australia, one Australian develops diabetes every five minutes, and this number continues to rise.

The carbohydrates we ingest are rapidly digested in the intestine to produce sugars, which are then absorbed into the blood. It is important that the body maintains blood sugar levels within specific target ranges.

The total annual cost of diabetes in Australia is approximately $15 billion.

Co-lead author of the paper, Dr. Michael Horton, of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, says that slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates can help control blood sugar spikes.

“There are some TGA-approved drugs that are very effective at doing this, but they often cause unpleasant side effects such as bloating and diarrhea, so we are looking for new ways to control blood sugar levels without this discomfort. Exploring could have a huge impact on the 1.8 million Australians who now have diabetes,” said Dr Houghton.

To date, researchers have tested the effects of foods and plant extracts on carbohydrate digestion rates, achieving results through colorimetric measurements that rely on sugar products that react with coloring reagents. Test extracts often interfere with results, but the new protocol can provide more accurate results by directly measuring sugar production.

There are many studies suggesting that nutrients in the diet may be beneficial, and early results suggest that natural chemicals from plants may offer a compromise by controlling carbohydrate digestion and blood sugar levels. However, this pathway is still in its early stages and more is needed. Funding is needed to further this research.

“We are delighted that this study has been made public. It is a real team effort and has taken several years to produce. We hope it will yield positive results and lead to successful clinical studies to find better treatments for people with diabetes,” said Dr. Horton.

The Monash Nutrition team behind this study, led by Professor Gary Williamson, consists of Dr. Michael Horton, Dr. Elizabeth Barber, and Dr. Rizliya Visvanathan.

Read the full paper, published in Nature Protocols, titled Measurement of key human carbohydrate-digesting enzyme activities using high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection.DOI: 10.1038/s41596-022-00736-0


About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with over 80,000 students. Over the past 60 years, it has built a reputation for world-leading, impactful research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and locations in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of Australia’s most international universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical school in Australia and integrated with Australia’s leading teaching hospitals, it is consistently ranked among the world’s top 50 universities in clinical, preclinical and health sciences .

For more information, visit Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences, or Monash University.

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