New Type 2 diabetes treatment study yields promising results Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

New research has yielded promising results for more effective treatment and management options for patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes.

The study, titled ‘Combined Supplementation of S-Nitro glutathione and Glutathione Improves Glycaemic Control in type 2 Diabetic Rats’, was led by master’s graduate from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, Amarley Wright.

The study focuses on the use of the antioxidant glutathione combined with another substance known as nitric oxide to significantly lower blood-sugar levels in diabetic rats.

“So, these are some promising results, and it highlights the possible role that this combination treatment could play in improving the lives of diabetic patients,” Wright tells JIS News.

Diabetes is a disorder in which an individual develops an abnormally high blood-sugar level due to inadequate or lack of insulin production by the pancreas or the inability of the body to respond properly to the hormone.Insulin is needed to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Wright shared that Type 2 diabetes represents between 90 and 95 per cent of all diabetes cases globally, with 11.6 per cent of Jamaicans currently living with the condition.

“More than likely, each one of us knows somebody with diabetes. This is the reason why my research is of major importance. There are millions of people worldwide living with diabetes, and in Jamaica, the Economic and Social Survey showed that diabetes was one of the three main causes of death for both men and women in 2021,” Wright revealed.

Common symptoms associated with diabetes include excessive thirst, extreme hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, and blindness.

Wright says that the major test used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes is the oral glucose tolerance test, also known as the OGTT.

“This test involves an overnight fast. Thereafter, blood is taken from the patient and a fasting blood-sugar level is measured. Then, they’re given fluids to drink, which contain glucose, and their blood-sugar level is measured one hour and two hours afterwards. Normally a reading greater than or equal to 200 milligrammes per decilitre indicates diabetes,” he explains.

In patients with diabetes, there is the development of a phenomenon called ‘oxidative stress’ where bad compounds in the body, such as free radicals become present. Good compounds known as antioxidants help fight against these bad compounds.

Wright’s research revealed that, among other things, glutathione on its own was effective in significantly reducing in the blood-sugar levels of the diabetic rats, which were administered the compound.

“When I administered the combination of GSNO and glutathione there was an even more pronounced reduction in the blood glucose concentration.

“Secondly, excessive thirst and extreme hunger are symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, and we saw that in the diabetic rats, and this was manifested in the increase in their food and fluid intake. When we administered both compounds to them, we saw a reduction in the food and food intake for the diabetic rats,” he explained.

While clinical trials on the use of the combination of compounds as treatment for diabetes in humans have begun in other jurisdictions such as India, Jamaica currently has no such programme.

For his research, Wright received the award for ‘Best Student Oral Presentation’ at the 14th Annual National Health Research Conference held in November 2023.