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What Is the Connection Between Adiponectin and Diabetes?

Over a period of time, obese individuals develop insulin resistance due to their diet and reduced adiponectin.
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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2014
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The connection between adiponectin and diabetes is that decreased levels of adiponectin indicate susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein that assists in maintaining proper metabolism. Levels of the protein drop in obese individuals, making them susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Medical research has shown that synthetic adiponectin may be able to raise one's adiponectin levels. In the future, medications could exist to prevent diabetes as obese individuals attempt to lose weight.

Adiponectin performs many roles within the human body. Produced by fat cells, adiponectin helps regulate how the body processes glucose and fat. The protein also has an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart attack. There is an inverse correlation between body fat percentage and adiponectin levels. As an individual gains more fat, the amount of adiponectin drops. Not only is an individual heavier, but his or her body is less able to process fat and sugar.

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Low levels of adiponectin and diabetes have a direct connection. Over a period of time, obese individuals develop insulin resistance due to their diet and reduced adiponectin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer properly respond to the intake of glucose. Sustained high blood glucose levels lead to a number of degenerative symptoms such as neuropathy, loss of vision, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack. As type 2 diabetes is a major health concern in many countries, researchers are constantly looking for new ways to treat and prevent the disease; adiponectin has shown promise as a potential medicine.

Initial research into adiponectin and diabetes has suggested that artificial adiponectin may have the ability to prevent type 2 diabetes in obese children and adults. Obese mice that were given adiponectin showed a marked decrease in insulin resistance and better overall health. Though many years of testing and clinical trials are necessary before adiponectin is marketed as a medication, obese individuals may one day have the opportunity to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes while they attempt to lose weight. The connection between adiponectin and diabetes would no longer be detrimental for those who could afford the medication.

Until the day comes when adiponectin-based medication exists, there is only one way obese individuals with type 2 diabetes can increase their adiponectin levels: lose weight. Proper nutrition, exercise and existing diabetes management medication are all necessary to restore proper pancreatic function. Besides explaining the relationship between adiponectin and diabetes, a physician and/or dietician can suggest proper lifestyle changes for weight loss.

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