How xanthan gum or gelatin might help manage diabetes

If you have diabetes and are struggling to control 

your blood sugar levels, you might try 

adding a thickened drink with xanthan gum 

after eating or adding gelatin to a single meal.  

Researchers recently conducted a study, albeit only in rats, 

but they did find that xantham gum changed the gene 

expression in the gut, in turn, causing the rats to

 have lower blood sugar levels after eating. 

The finding is good news and could provide another

 means for anyone with diabetes to cut their risk 

factors for heart, kidney, and eye disease associated 

with poor diabetes blood sugar control. 

The study authors say more research is needed to 

prove that xantham gum after eating would 

have the same effect in humans as they found in rats, 

and how the thickener would affect humans with diabetes. 

How it worked in rats and might work in humans

There are two genes that are expressed in the gut 

that are thought to be responsible for high glucose 

levels or hyperglycemia. Patients with diabetes type 2

are often found to have an insufficient amount of the hormone

GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide1). GLP-1 plays a key role in 

controlling appetite and blood sugar levels. 

There are many diabetes drugs on the market that target Glp1 that do the job of slowing down digestion, increasing insulin production, and

slowing the release of sugar from the liver. One example is the commonly prescribed diabetes drug Glipizide. Another example is the drug Actos. 

Xanthan gum is used in a variety of consumer products 

as a thickener, including salad dressings, gelatin, 

juices, fruit, syrup, cosmetics, and industrial and gluten-free products,

 to name a few. It can also act as a laxative.  

For the experiment, researchers fed gave two

groups of rodents glucose. One group was fed a

xantham-thickened liquid and the other was given saline. 

Baseline and interval glucose readings were performed 

on the rats, in addition to oral glucose tolerance 

testing four weeks after the experiment was initiated. 

Related: Vitamin D curbs heart disease and diabetes in older


The authors found that xantham gum changed the 

bacteria in the gut which, in turn, altered gene expression 

in the ileum of the intestines which affects Glp1

and Glp1r pathways. 

Further investigation found enhanced metabolism 

of fatty acids, glucose, and cholesterol balance. 

The thickened liquid also appears to change bacteria 

in the gut in a way that boosts the microbes Erysipelotrichales 

and Christensenellaceae, which in turn helps the body secrete insulin.

If you’re considering adding the thickener to your daily routine 

speak with your doctor. It’s possible that a liquid drink could 

lower your blood sugar levels too much. 

Taking more than 15 grams a day could lead to diarrhea. 

One tablespoon of xanthan gum equals about 12 grams. 

You can incorporate xanthan gum into your diet 

in ways other than making a thickened drink. 

You can make your own salad dressing, add it to gravy 

and stews and use it in baked goods or for making a roux. 

Another option to help lower your blood sugar level is gelatin.

Research has shown that gelatin also improves insulin 

production as xanthan gum does, can satisfy hunger,

and stimulate the production of GLP-1. Gelatin is an animal

protein that also stimulates collagen production which 

can improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails. It can also aid digestion. 

Journal references:

Nagasawa, Y., et al. (2022) Xanthan gum-based 

fluid thickener decreases postprandial blood glucose 

associated with an increase of Glp1 and Glp1r expression in

ileum and alteration of gut microbiome. 

Journal of Functional Foods.

Rubio IG, Castro G, Zanini AC, Medeiros-Neto G. 

Oral ingestion of a hydrolyzed gelatin meal in subjects 

with normal weight and in obese patients: 

Postprandial effect on circulating gut peptides, glucose and insulin. 

Eat Weight Disord. 2008 Mar;13(1):48-53. doi: 10.1007/BF03327784. PMID: 18319637.