By: Dan Weiman for Diabetes1
A new study shows that aspirin may have a previously unrecognized benefit in treating people at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The results of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, show that aspirin may stimulate production of insulin and lower serum glucose.
The study included 9 men and 29 women, with an average body mass index of 33.9, a level considered to be obese. The patients were all beginning to show signs of insulin resistance, which is considered to be an early indicator of type 2 diabetes. However, when the subjects were given aspirin, researchers at Institut d'Investigacio Biomedica de Girona and CIBEROBN Fisiopatologia de la Obesidad in Spain found that their serum glucose level dropped due to an increase in insulin.
The study found a reduction in glucose not only in the patient trials, but also in lab test results. While the researchers found that the level of insulin increased with the amount of aspirin administered, the aspirin had no effect on the sensitivity of the insulin. However, the increase in insulin levels alone still managed to significantly reduce blood sugar.
Aspirin is one of the most commonly-used drugs in America. It is normally utilized as the first defense in stopping a headache or providing relief from a mild injury. However in recent years, many are touting aspirin for its ability to aid against heart disease because it can often help prevent blood clots from forming. Diabetics are especially at risk for heart disease because their bodies secrete more of a substance called thromboxane, which often causes blood vessels to constrict and platelets to clot.
Some doctors recommend aspirin therapy for people with type 2 diabetes precisely because of the risk of heart disease. Studies have found that people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die of heart disease than non-diabetics. However, when treated with aspirin therapy, diabetics decrease the likelihood of a heart attack by 25-30 percent. However, Dr. Ruchi Mathur, a diabetes specialist noted in 2005 that aspirin therapy is underused: “As a specialist, I am surprised at how aspirin therapy is extremely underused. It's a simple therapy and a dose of baby aspirin, coated aspirin, or regular aspirin work equally well. As the guidelines show, blood sugar control is not a criterion for deciding which diabetics should be on aspirin.”
With the new information garnered from the Spanish study, it now does appear that aspirin may actually be a factor in blood sugar control.