Could a Parasite Drug Help Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

Many drugs that have been used in treating one condition for years are being tested in treating other conditions. Sometimes, scientists hit on something-- such as niclosamide.

Niclosamide is a drug used for treating intestinal parasites. A new study, however, shows it may have a lot of potential in treating, or even reversing, Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

One of the biggest differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics is insulin resistance. Onset of Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune problem; the body doesn't make its own insulin. Onset of Type 2 diabetes is often brought on by a variety of factors, one of which is that the patient develops resistance to insulin.
Insulin resistance is largely caused by excessive fat in the liver that prevents the body from absorbing sugar.

What Niclosamide Does

Niclosamide has been found to burn away the excess liver fat. The process is known as mitochondrial uncoupling. Without that excess liver fat, cells can go back to reacting to insulin like they are supposed to-- by processing glucose in the blood.

"Nature Medicine" published the study by Rutgers professor Victor Shengkan Jin. "We wanted a safe and practical compound to deplete fat inside cells,” he explained. “We went to the literature and found an approved drug that does in parasitic worms what we wanted to do in liver cells."

Clinical trials would be the next step to see if this drug can bring us a step closer to beating diabetes.

Photo: Anti Worm Shop