Friday, March 25, 2022

Snail Insulin

Can marine snails lead to better insulins for human use? Could be.

It seems that the cone snail uses a type of insulin as a weapon. It drops the blood sugar of the fish they hunt so quickly that the fish become paralyzed. And a new insulin for humans has been based on the cone snail insulin. It's not yet commercially available.

Of course, there are already relatively fast acting insulins like Humalog, Novolog, and Apidra, but they take about 15 minutes to start working. The goal with the snail-type insulin would be to have it start working even sooner.

Human insulin tends to associate into hexamers, and then it has to dissociate from these clusters. The snail insulin doesn't form these clusters, so it can act much faster.

The full text has more details, but it's behind a paywall for those without institutional access.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Light and blood glucose levels

Can the level of light in your bedroom affect your blood glucose (BG) levels? These researchers say yes. 

The study was in only 20 people, so the results would have to be confirmed with more subjects, but it is suggestive. The full text is here. Moderate light exposure is considered to be 100 lux, and "dimly lit" is considered less than 3 lux. This gives some examples of different levels of light.

Most people do turn the lights off, or at least way down, when they sleep, but not everyone has that option. In a crowded home without a lot of spare rooms, one person might need light to study, or someone might want to watch TV when someone else wanted to sleep in that room. Or maybe your bed partner just likes to read in bed before going to sleep. Or maybe you live in an urban environment where outdoor lighting is bright.

Whatever, knowing that light could affect your BG levels might inspire you to keep the light levels as low as possible when you sleep. Our ancestors had only moonlight to sleep in, and even a full moon gives off only 0.1 lux.

So make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Well, at least when you're sleeping there.