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Trehalose and Diabetes

03-07-2012 09:12:01
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One of the most common questions I get relates to Diabetes and Trehalose. In essence the question is this; Is trehalose safe to use?

Diabetes is, boiled down to its simplest description, the inability of the body to regulate blood glucose levels.  There are roughly speaking 2 different clasifications of diabetes.

  1. where the body doesn't produce any insulin at all
  2. where the body doesn't produce enough insulin.

In the first case the body either has to have external insulin introduced or find another way to reduce the blood glucose levels - exercise and strict dietary restrictions being the most common.  In the second case it is a little more complex because the effectiveness of the produced insulin may be reduced by 'Insulin Resistance'.  In very simple terms the body may produce the necessary amount of insulin but because of insulin resistance it doesn't have the effect normally seen.  There is also a problem where the cells in the pancreas, that produce insulin, become exhausted as a result of Insulin Resistance.

So is Trehalose safe to use for a diabetic? The simple answer is yes. The more complex answer is still yes but with an explanation. For the body to convert Trehalose back into Glucose an enzyme is required. This enzyme is called TrehalASE. It is found in a very small region in the small intestine and there is a finite amount produced by the body. Because it takes the food we eat 4 hours, on average, to reach the small intestine where Trehalase is found any Trehalose will have been fully mixed with food and there is only a small amount entering the small intestine at any time.  Therefore the small amount of Trehalose and the small amount of Trehalase can only be produce a small amount of glucose thats why the blood plasma testing shows that Trehalose has an almost flat response in terms of influence on blood glucose levels.

That doesn't mean that Trehalose isn't used by the body in other ways but they don't impact the blood glucose levels.

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