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Diabet Med. 2001 Sep;18(9):739-44.

Use of an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor to maintain glucose homoeostasis during postprandial exercise in intensively treated Type 1 diabetic subjects.

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Research Group on Diabetes and Metabolic Regulation, Research Centre, Hôtel-Dieu, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



We evaluated the effects of an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, acarbose, on glucose homoeostasis during postprandial exercise in Type 1 diabetic subjects.


Seven Type 1 diabetic subjects with good glycaemic control on ultralente-regular insulin were randomized in a single blind cross-over study to acarbose 100 mg or placebo taken with a mixed meal (600 kcal, 75 g carbohydrates), followed 90 min later by 30 min of exercise at 50% maximum aerobic capacity. Glucose turnover was measured by tracer (d-[6,6,2H2]glucose) methodology, and intestinal glucose absorption was quantified using carbohydrate polymers labelled with [13C]glucose.


Acarbose resulted in a significant decrease in the postprandial glycaemic rise (mean +/- SEM 2.9 +/- 0.6 vs. 5.0 +/- 0.7 mmol/l; P < 0.005) and in the glycaemic nadir during exercise (- 0.8 +/- 0.6 vs. 0.9 +/- 1.3 mmol/l below baseline; P < 0.05). Total glucose appearance increased similarly under the two treatments during the postprandial (27.0 vs. 27.9 micromol per kg per min) and exercise (33.9 vs. 33.5 micromol per kg per min) periods. Mean glucose absorption was significantly delayed by acarbose (7.8 vs. 10.2 micromol per kg per min; P < 0.02), but was compensated by the lack of postprandial suppression of hepatic glucose production (106% of basal hepatic glucose production vs. 81%; P < 0.006). Episodes of hypoglycaemia were no different (three vs. six).


These results indicate that, in Type 1 diabetic subjects, acarbose results in a better glycaemic profile during postprandial exercise and suggest that it could lead to a lower risk of exercise-induced hypoglycaemia due to delayed glucose absorption and less suppression of hepatic glucose production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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