People with type 1 diabetes may still be able to lace up their running shoes

Fluctuations in blood glucose levels keep some people with type 1 diabetes from exercising. Associate Professor Esben Søndergaard of Aarhus University aims to investigate whether the use of galactose before exercise could provide a solution and relieve the risk of fluctuations in blood glucose levels. The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the research project with a grant of approximately DKK 3 million.

Associate Professor Esben Søndergaard has been granted DKK 3 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to help people with type 1 diabetes exercise without fearing fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. Photo: Marie Agergaard Mikkelsen, Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes a loss of the ability to make insulin. The consequence is that the people affected find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels – and this is even more difficult if they exercise.

Associate Professor Esben Søndergaard of the Department of Clinical Medicine wants to get people with type 1 diabetes back in their running shoes. In a research project supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with almost DKK 3 million, he will investigate whether the ingestion of galactose counteracts the risk of blood sugar fluctuations. Galactose is a part of milk sugar, and requires a transformation in the liver before we can combust it, which protects us against developing low blood sugar.

Esben Søndergaard will also scan people after ingestion of galactose and observe how this is absorbed in the muscle tissue. He hopes for a positive effect, which will pave the way for greater physical activity among people with type 1 diabetes. More exercise could also prevent them developing cardiovascular disease in the future.


Associate Professor Esben Søndergaard PhD
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus Universitetshospital, Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus
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