An alternative to metformin has been discovered by researchers that could lower blood sugar levels as effectively as the diabetes drug.
Researchers identified this new chemical compound following a study where high-performance computing was used to identify compounds that could kick-start the GPRC6A protein, which regulates blood sugar levels.
Upon kick-starting the protein, the researchers were able to verify its potency and subsequently designed a chemical that can regulate insulin secretion and lower blood sugar in levels.
In trials on mice, the US scientists – which included researchers from the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, and the University of Illinois – tested several molecules and identified one called DJ-V-159 which was as effective as metformin in controlling blood sugar levels.
Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee, said: “This chemical compound lowers sugar levels in mice as effectively as metformin, but with a 30-times lower dose. It therefore is a good starting point for the development of a new and effective drug to fight diabetes.
“These preliminary findings set the stage for lead optimization of a chemical series of GPRC6A agonists to optimize potency, selectivity, and biological activity to fulfil the criteria for a potentially new therapeutic.”
The findings, published in the PLOS One journal, indicate an alternative to metformin could be developed for people unable to tolerate the drug, which is known to carry some side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea.
Metformin is one of the most common forms of type 2 diabetes treatment, used to lower blood glucose levels, and recently the drug has been successfully repurposed to lower the risk of some cancers developing.
While metformin has clear benefits, people with type 2 diabetes have been able to come off the drug, and other diabetes medication, through eating a healthy real food diet and getting regular exercise. A total of 40% of users on our Low Carb Program have been able to come off at least one diabetes medication upon completing the course.

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