Instead of poking, start chewing.
Fortunately for the millions of diabetics worldwide, a needle alternative is on the horizon. Robert Doyle, a chemist at Syracuse University has found a way to keep oral doses of insulin intact from mouth to bloodstream. Which as it turns out, works most effectively through a chewing gum delivery system.
Via New Scientist:
For example, vitamin B12 is protected by a salivary protein called haptocorrin that binds to it in the mouth and protects it in the stomach. Once haptocorrin reaches the intestines, another chemical pathway takes over to help vitamin B12 pass into the bloodstream.
Doyle suggests binding insulin molecules to vitamin B12 so that it can hitch a ride on this protected supply chain. The insulin could ride all the way into the bloodstream, where it is released to do its work. Doyle and colleagues say early tests on rats appear to work well.
The rodents got their new treatment in liquid form, but chewing gum would be a better delivery method in humans, the team says. Chewing would ensure a plentiful supply of saliva, providing the protein needed for the insulin to make its way into the bloodstream.