A new line of diabetic drugs has arrived. You’ve probably seen them in commercials during the 60-second slots between nightly newscast segments. They’re called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and include Farxiga, Invokana, and Jardiance.
So how do these new arrivals work?
SGLT2 inhibitors work by increasing the amount of glucose excreted in the urine. This is unnatural for humans because glucose is not supposed to be in the urine at all. In spite of this, glucose does spill over into the urine of diabetics. It’s part of the disease process. SGLT2 inhibitors also enhance this part of the disease process. The thought is, by getting rid of more glucose through the urine there will be less in the bloodstream, which would ultimately lower blood sugar levels and be good for diabetes.
This line of thinking is correct. Blood sugar levels do go down with these drugs. However, the reason why a type 2 diabetic’s blood sugar is high in the first place is not due to the fact that not enough glucose is being dumped into the urine. The reason is because of an excessive amount of fat in the body (specifically in muscle cells), which causes insulin resistance to occur in the first place. SGLT2 inhibitors do not target this extra fat in the body. Only diet can do this. This is why this new class of diabetic drugs is considered to be lifelong therapy for type 2 diabetics.
As with all drugs there are side effects with SGLT2 inhibitors. The most noteworthy side effect of these medications is an increased incidence of urinary tract and yeast infections in both men and women. Bacteria and fungus love warm, wet, and sugar-filled environments to live in and prosper. These drugs make this environment possible as they increase the amount of glucose in the urinary tract. This is definitely something to consider if you are going to use these medications.
Better yet, you could adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet and reverse type 2 diabetes without medications. If you’re on diabetic medications there is a good chance you could reduce or eliminate their need by adopting this diet and lifestyle. To learn more about this, and for an in depth look at the root cause of type 2 diabetes, read my article – Type 2 Diabetes–The Cause and the Cure.
Wishing you the very best in your quest to defeat type 2 diabetes!
Dustin Rudolph, PharmD