Purpose of review: This review presents the different pathways by which protein and amino acid impact glucose control. The review more particularly discusses the contradictory effects reported in the literature on the involvement of amino acid on glucose production and in insulin secretion and sensitivity.
Recent findings: Some recent findings allow a better understanding of the direct and indirect mechanisms involved in the insulinotropic activity of some amino acids in pancreatic β-cell and in the production of glucose through liver gluconeogenesis that participates to improve the control of glycemia. In contrast, the potential deleterious effects of branched chain amino acid, and particularly leucine, hypothesized in previous publications, have been discussed in some recent publications.
Summary: These processes are of high clinical relevance since the role of protein and amino acid have been repeatedly discussed to improve insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes patients or in weight management strategy in overweight and obese individuals. In addition, whether blood amino acid could be used as biomarkers for the risk of type 2 diabetes needs to be discussed.