Using Saliva to Monitor Blood Glucose Levels

Pipetting into Test Tubes

Traditional blood glucose monitoring for type 1 diabetes has involved using finger sticks to draw and test a small droplet of blood. This can leave fingers sore and calloused as testing occurs multiple times throughout the day to keep blood sugar in check. In addition, it requires a variety of supplies, and lancets used to draw blood must be disposed of safely and properly.

A recent study found that there may be a non-invasive method of monitoring blood sugar that is easier to collect and test: saliva. Researchers found that saliva contains numerous biomarkers that could make it a feasible alternative to blood. In addition, testing is conducted using Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy rather than the reagents that are necessary when blood is used. That makes saliva a more sustainable and eco-friendly option as well. In early testing, using saliva was 95.2% accurate in monitoring blood sugar.

Regular testing and monitoring of blood sugar is essential for individuals with type 1 diabetes to reduce risk of hypo- or hyperglycemia as well as diabetic ketoacidosis and other complications. However, many people do not enjoy constant finger sticks. Using saliva and ATR-FTIR spectroscopy or other technology could become a non-invasive, less painful option. This process is still in early stages of testing, and more research is needed to determine its efficacy and how exactly it could be used by patients.

Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see how this form of blood glucose monitoring evolves moving forward and what it could mean for individuals living with type 1 diabetes. It is another step toward providing more management options and better meeting the needs of individuals with diabetes.

Though not involved with this study, the DRC is committed to providing critical funding for early-career scientists pursuing research related to type 1 diabetes. This could include topics focused on improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and management of the disease, as well as minimizing complications, enhancing quality of life, and finding a cure. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support.

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