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From Essex, United Kingdom:

What would happen if someone who did not have diabetes took some insulin orally?


Swallowed insulin would, in all likelihood, have no effect on blood sugar in both normal and diabetic persons as it would be promptly digested by stomach enzymes called gastric peptidases. Oral insulin that has been encapsulated has of course been tried as an alternative to injected insulin. Very large amounts are needed for any effect and the results are too unpredictable for use in therapy. In people that are genetically susceptible to Type 1 Diabetes encapsulated oral insulin is also being tried as a form of 'vaccination' against the development of overt clinical diabetes. Insulin given as a nasal spray has also had a vogue in treatment, especially of mild acidosis; but again large amounts are needed and the effects erratic.


Original posting 24 Jun 97


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