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Metabolic Response to Oral Glucose in Healthy South African White, Indian, and African Subjects

Br Med J 1969; 1 doi: (Published 22 March 1969) Cite this as: Br Med J 1969;1:748

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. A. H. Rubenstein,
  2. H. C. Seftel,
  3. K. Miller,
  4. I. Bersohn,
  5. A. D. Wright


    The response of serum insulin, growth hormone, plasma free fatty acids, triglycerides, and blood glucose to an oral glucose load was investigated in healthy White, African, and Indian subjects. Serum cholesterol, uric acid, platelet adhesiveness, and urine insulin clearance were also measured. Each racial group responded differently. Most striking were the differences between Africans and Whites; despite similar mean blood glucose values at all times during the test, the Africans had lower serum insulin levels, a lower urine insulin clearance, a much greater rise of growth hormone, a more definite and prolonged suppression of free fatty acid release, lower serum cholesterol and uric acid levels, and a trend towards lower plasma triglyceride values.

    The Indians tended to resemble Whites rather than Africans with respect to their insulin, growth hormone, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Their glucose tolerance was decreased compared with that of the other two groups, but suppression of their free fatty acids was enhanced. Platelet adhesiveness was similar in all three groups.

    The reasons for these differences are unknown, but must be related to genetic and environmental differences among the three races.