insulin resistance

Researchers from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health have identified a compound called azoramide which the researchers believe could prevent insulin resistance occurring and therefore could be used to treat or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Azoramide targets the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which plays a key part within the synthesis of proteins and lipids. Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) is known to be involved in development of insulin resistance in the following way: Calorie overload and obesity results in failure of the ER to keep up with protein and lipid production. This struggle to keep up results in ER stress and that in turn leads to resistance to insulin.

The researchers explain that azoramide could help by increasing the coping ability of the endoplasmic reticulum. They describe it as being similar to delivering more chaperones for the ER to help it keep up with protein and lipid synthesis, thereby preventing ER stress and insulin resistance occurring.

Treatment potential beyond type 2 diabetes

In addition to being eyed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, the way in which the compound works could also lead to it helping a number of other health conditions.

Lead researcher, Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, stated: “ER dysfunction is implicated in many other disease processes such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s—which makes this novel screening strategy an exciting new tool that can be applied by multiple labs to discover new drug candidates for diseases that are linked to ER stress.”

Drugs not the only answer

It is likely to be a number of years before azoramide is available and that will require the compound to be found to be safe in clinical trials.

While azoramide could help the body deal with high calorie diets, there is of course another way. Maintaining a relatively low calorie and highly nutritious diet has become increasingly problematic in a world dominated by processed, calorie-rich food but making and sticking to simple changes can make a difference.

Sticking to real, home prepared food and shunning processed, packaged foods as much as possible should be seen as the foundation of type 2 diabetes control which may require support from diabetes medication as advised by your doctor.