GPR119 is a receptor embedded in the cell membranes of certain cells in all mammals that have been tested so far, including humans. It functions by receiving signals from very specific molecules that are able to “lock” onto it and activate it.
Like other cannabinoid receptors, or potential cannabinoid receptors, the GPR119 receptor can receive signals (directly or indirectly) from molecules coming from three different potential sources:
A. Molecules created within the body, as needed for certain physiological responses. The main one for GPR119 appears to be oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which is a chemical that has been previously known to suppress appetite and control metabolism. It’s also closely related to the internally produced cannabinoid, anandamide, the main chemical that signals to CB1 receptors. Anandamide is the most well studied cannabinoid and is similar to THC found in cannabis in the way it functions in the body but it is not psychoactive.
B. Molecules that enter the body from the outside by ingesting certain plants like cannabis oil. We do not know for sure yet if GPR119 interacts directly with the cannabinoids in CBD oil but there is good reason to suspect this will turn out to be the case (see discussion below).
C. Synthetically created molecules that are similar to A and or B above. These are basically the result of pharmaceutical companies that want to create a cannabinoid like molecule with specific properties so it can specifically target GPR119. There are literally DOZENS of these that have been developed for GPR119, all with a patent or a patent pending! The patent holders are trying to develop these synthetics into a brand new class of diabetes medications. These drugs will work in a totally different way than all the other diabetes drugs currently on the market today (see below for more details).
While CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are found located throughout the body, especially concentrated in the nervous system and immune system, GPR119 receptors are located primarily in the pancreas and portions of the gastrointestinal system involved in gastric emptying (how fast your food moves from your stomach into your intestine) and glucose release. Specifically, they are located primarily on beta cells in the pancreas and enteroendocrine L cells in the gut (these are specialized cells that secrete hormones in the gut).
When GPR119 receptors are activated, it appears they are capable of controlling the timing of when hormones involved in glucose metabolism are released and how much is released. GPR119 receptors also control other hormones that actually control how fast glucose is released into the system.
Is there an actual CURE for diabetes coming?
At least one study shows indications that GPR119 receptors may even be involved with REPAIRING beta cells and enteroendocrine L cells that have become dysfunctional during the onset and advancement of diabetes! This is HUGE. Furthermore, GPR119 may even be able to direct the growth of NEW beta cells and enteroendocrine L cells. This is also HUGE. These two lines of research are very early so take it with a grain of salt. However, if they turn out to be true, it could literally be a cure for diabetes!
Many of the current medications that are available for diabetics trigger more insulin to be released. However, this is NOT done in response to changes in glucose or fat (the fact that GPR119 can sense fat is another new area of research). So, in many cases, these medications can cause a sudden drop in glucose when insulin is released when it actually wasn’t needed. This is hypoglycemia and it can be very dangerous. If you’ve ever seen a diabetic get the “shakes” or even pass out, you’ve probably seen someone with hypoglycemia brought on my medication that caused a big release of insulin when none was actually needed! As dangerous as high blood sugar can be, low blood sugar can be even more dangerous… it can kill you!
One of the hopes for the brand new class of diabetic drugs targeting the GPR119 receptor is that it will only stimulate the release of insulin, it will do so only when it is actually needed, i.e. in response to glucose levels and other checks and balances in the system. This is a KEY advantage over the diabetes medications available now. These new drugs may also be advantageous by being able to simultaneously influence the enteroendocrine L cells and the hormones they produce. In this way, they can help slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream and aid in metabolism in other critical ways. Basically, this new type of diabetes drugs that target the GPR119 receptors are addressing the underlying causes of diabetes rather than just the symptoms.
NOW, WHAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS NEW CLASS OF DIABETES DRUGS???
A non-patented natural remedy from Mother Nature that would basically work in the same way to target the GPR119 receptors and help diabetics with their underlying causes of diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. Preferably, a natural substance that not only has ONE type of molecule that targets GPR119 but a group of them that work synergistically!
In other words, full spectrum cannabis oil!
– We already know that CBD oil can bring down blood sugar in rats that have diabetes! This has been proven in well-designed experiments.
– We already know that many diabetics report lower blood sugar readings and a lower A1C after taking CBD oil. Some diabetics have even reported no longer having to take diabetic medications after they started taking CBD oil!
– We also know that CBD increases the levels of oleoyl ethanolamide in the body and this is the primary molecule that targets the GPR119 receptors. So, we already know that CBD can indirectly stimulate the GPR119 receptors!
Here’s something else to think about:
The genes that code for the GPR119 receptor in humans are located on the short arm of the X chromosome. If you’re male, this means you inherited your genes for your GPR119 receptors from your mother since you get your one X chromosome from her (it’s a tad more complicated because there could be a small amount of recombination in between the X chromosomes before you get this one from your mom). If you are female, this means you inherited your genes for GPR119 from your mother on one of your X chromosomes and from your paternal grandmother on your other X chromosome because your dad gets his one X chromosome from his mom.
As we learn more about how the GPR119 receptor controls glucose metabolism, insulin release, gastric emptying, and weight gain, having an understanding of the heredity of the genes that code for it and how that runs through your family tree may become much more interesting. Who has diabetes, obesity issues, or other metabolic issues in your family? Maybe you can start to think about that as we continue to get more information about the GPR119 receptor.