Can An Insulin Pill Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes?

There are different types of diabetes. The three main types are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational which is having diabetes while pregnant, according to Diabetes UK. Among the two main types of diabetes, Type 1 is far less common than Type 2, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). In general, diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when insulin production or usage is affected. Insulin is an essential hormone, which helps turn food into energy and control blood sugar levels made by your pancreas, explains the Cleveland Clinic.

Keep in mind, having Type 1 diabetes means that your pancreas produces little to no insulin, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And along with your pancreas not producing enough insulin when you have Type 2 diabetes, your body is also unaware of how to properly use it (per the Cleveland Clinic). As of now, the prevention of Type 1 diabetes is unknown (via CDC). However, there are ways to treat it.

Treatment can help mitigate diabetes

There are a variety of treatment options for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that can help people live a relatively normal life. You know if you have Type 2 diabetes after taking an A1C test, which shows your average blood sugar level from the last two to three months. In fact, between 5.7% to 6.4% on an A1C test determines pre-diabetes, while 6.5% or higher on two tests normally confirms that you have Type 2 diabetes, explains Mayo Clinic. Luckily, Type 2 diabetes can be managed by exercising regularly, taking medication, if prescribed, and following a healthy meal plan, according to Cleveland Clinic.

On the other hand, treating Type 1 diabetes is a little more complicated. An A1C test is also used to determine if you have Type 1 diabetes, but there are fewer treatment options. After all, since the pancreas does not produce insulin when someone has Type 1 diabetes, the person must take insulin themselves, according to Mayo Clinic. However, a potential insulin pill may make this process easier (per a 2022 study in Scientific Reports).

New study indicates good signs with the insulin pill

Those with Type 1 diabetes know treatment involves the need to inject themselves with insulin in order to maintain a normal amount of insulin in the body. This is the primary treatment for people with Type 1 diabetes. However, it can become tedious and make some feel like their life is focused on the disease, such as constantly remembering to take the medication with them, learning how to inject themselves, and so on. 

Luckily, Canadian researchers have developed an insulin pill that dissolves inside the cheek for quick and easy insulin, removing the need for people to inject themselves with insulin. The study in Scientific Reports showed that when the pill was given to rats, most of the insulin was absorbed in the lips and inner cheek, rather than being wasted in the stomach (per the U.S. News & World Report). While the pill has only been tested on animals, the next step is to conduct human trials that will hopefully also prove the effectiveness of the pill. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind that the results of animal testing aren't always the same in human trials.