Human Health & Nutrition

Models for glucose control in obese volunteers

Obesity is associated with reduced sensitivity to insulin, resulting in poor control of blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Control of blood sugar is mediated by two processes, namely: i) glucose disposal into tissues such as muscle; and ii) the ability of the liver to suppress endogenous glucose production. These processes are driven by insulin and blood glucose concentrations.

A boxplot chart To investigate whether insulin sensitivity could be improved by dietary intervention, scientists at RINH have used stable isotope markers to monitor the uptake, disposal and endogenous production of glucose in obese volunteers on a range of diets. BioSS has developed a differential equation model for glucose movement which included parameters for glucose disposal and suppression of glucose production, and allowed for interdependencies between these parameters and glucose and insulin concentrations. It was found that glucose control was improved on a weight loss diet. The mechanism responsible for this improvement was a more efficient glucose disposal rate in response to insulin (i.e. enhanced insulin sensitivity).

Schematic diagram of the movement of glucose in the human body.

Further details from: Grietje Holtrop

Article date 2011

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