Researchers have created an insulin pill which could help people with diabetes all over the world.
When people suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, they have to administer at least on insulin shot per day to stay alive. But a new innovative pill could soon become the drug of choice for diabetics.
Type 1 diabetes means that a person’s pancreas is not making insulin, the hormone that helps breakdown sugar and turn it into energy. Type 2 diabetes however, means that a person’s body isn’t very efficient in terms of insulin use.
People suffering from both types of diabetes would need to undergo insulin therapy – the manual administration of insulin shots once or twice a day.
With current medicine, insulin is administered mainly by use of needle or a pen injection, but a new pill could bring an end to those painful and inconvenient methods.
While scientists have struggled to find a way to deliver insulin orally, researchers at the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences believe that they have found a way.
Their research, Ionic liquids for oral insulin delivery, was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on Monday.
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The reason insulin could not be taken orally is the fact that stomach acids break it down. And even if it made it past the acids, intestines are not efficient when it comes to absorbing it.
To resist breakdown, the insulin pill is coated into an acid-resistant capsule which will protect the protein until it reaches the small intestine. There, it would dissolve and release the insulin into the bloodstream.
It will be some time before this type of medicine become available at pharmacies. But it gives hope to more than 400 million people around the world who live with a type of diabetes.