Using Carbohydrates to Treat Diabetes

A new class of drugs based on carbohydrates might serve as the basis of better diabetes treatment.

Diabetes and the Potential Power of Carbs

People with diabetes have long been told to carefully manage their carbohydrate intake. This is because too many carbs can cause a person’s blood sugar levels to go too high. This is major problem for diabetes patients. But now there is an interesting twist.

New research suggests that carbohydrates can help reduce the amount of sugar that is absorbed into the blood. Carbs come in lots of sizes and shapes. As a result, researchers can use carbs to create a broad range of drugs. Some of these new drugs might be able to address the complications of diabetes.

Carbs play a key role in how cells work, and they also play a role in major diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory disease. Because they come in so many forms, carbs can be used to create a range of drugs. Yet because they are so complex, carbs have not received as much scientific attention as other molecules, such as nucleic acids and proteins. In recent years, however, this is starting to change, with significant progress being made in this area.

BTI-320: A Carbohydrate Drug Candidate

Boston Therapeutics, based in Manchester, New Hampshire, is developing one such drug based on carbs to address Type 2 diabetes.

BTI-320 is a non-toxic, chewable compound that is designed to lower the rise of blood glucose that occurs after meals. As a result, it might be useful as a treatment to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes and its related complications.

The compound is designed to be taken before eating. It operates in the gastrointestinal tract to block the action of enzymes that break down carbs in foods during digestion. In turn, this serves to lower the amount of available glucose absorbed via the intestine.

Testing BTI-320

A paper published in 2013 in the journal Endocrine Practice reported positive clinical trial results of BTI-320 in patients with Type 2 diabetes conducted at Dartmouth Medical Center.

In the study, 45 percent of patients already taking a standard diabetes drug—such as metformin or insulin—responded to BTI-320 with a 40 percent reduction of post-meal glucose in the blood. The encouraging results led Boston Therapeutics to announce it would begin additional clinical trials with BTI-320.

A follow-up study, published this year in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, showed a 75 percent response rate, supporting further clinical development of BTI-320 in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Boston Therapeutics expects to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year, as well as to begin a pivotal Phase III international clinical trial involving BTI-320 in 2015.

As ironic as it might seem, carbs—in the new guise of complex carbohydrate drugs like BTI-320—might improve the lives of many people with diabetes.


David Platt, Ph.D. is CEO of Boston Therapeutics, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of novel, carbohydrate-based compounds to address unmet medical needs in the areas of diabetes and inflammatory diseases.

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...