Diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which encompasses diabetes, obesity and heart disease, come about when the 'cross-talk' between the immune system, gut bacteria and glucose metabolism breaks down.
Gut bacteria play an essential role in regulating glucose metabolism, and diabetes, obesity and heart disease can be the outcome when the interplay between them and the immune system is interrupted. Diabetes is the body's inability to properly break down glucose from carbohydrates.
That means that diabetes could be reversed with probiotics, which help the gut restore 'good' bacteria.
Right now, this is a whole new area of research, called immunometabolism, says Dr Natalia Shulzhenko, at the Oregon State University. "We're discovering that in biology there are multiple connections and communications, what we call cross-talk, that are very important in ways we're just beginning to understand," she said.