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Vegetable from the licorice root helps mice against diabetes
A team of German and American scientists found that a natural substance made from licorice root protects overweight mice from diabetes. So-called amorfrutins are said to strengthen the sensitivity of the tissue to insulin and thus lower the blood sugar level. In addition, the level of fatty acids in the blood is reduced. Amorfrutins are generally well tolerated and are also said to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Phytochemicals have no undesirable side effects As the scientists report in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America”, there are no undesirable side effects such as weight gain due to the amorfrutine. This is a decisive advantage over synthetic substances with a comparable effect, which would often cause side effects such as liver damage. According to researchers, the natural product could be offered in the form of a nutritional supplement.
The scientists led by Christopher Weidner from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin examined around 8,000 substances from edible plants in order to find a possible anti-diabetic effect. They came across the Amorfrutine, which they obtained from two plants, including the root of the licorice Glycyrrhiza foetida and the fruit of the bastard indigo, Amorpha fruticosa. "The health-promoting effects are based on the fact that the amorfrutin molecules specifically dock onto a receptor called PPARγ in the cell nucleus," explains Sascha Sauer from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. PPARγ play a crucial role in the cell's fat and glucose metabolism. The binding of the amorfrutin molecules activates various genes that would lower the plasma concentration of certain fatty acids and glucose. The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics reports on its website that the reduced glucose level prevents the development of insulin resistance, which is considered to be the main cause of adult diabetes.
Synthetic drugs, known as glitazones, are used to treat type 2 diabetes. By activating the receptor, a number of genes are subsequently switched on, which are involved in different processes of the metabolic processes. However, glitazones are considered controversial and are only partially approved in Germany. “There are already drugs on the market that act on the PPARγ receptor. However, these are not selective enough and cause side effects such as weight gain or cardiovascular problems, ”reports Sauer.
Amorfrutins have liver protection For the study, the scientists administered armorfrutins to the mice after numerous cell tests had been carried out. The animals showed increased insulin sensitivity. The tissue responded significantly better to the insulin released by the pancreas. The cells were able to absorb and metabolize more blood sugar. This reduced the blood sugar level and the amount of harmful blood lipids.
Fortunately, the researchers were unable to find any liver damage that is often caused by synthetic agents as an undesirable side effect. The Amorfrutine even seemed to have a protective effect on the liver. The researchers report that further investigations are now necessary. According to the scientists, amorfrutins could in future be an alternative with no side effects for consumers.
95 percent of diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes According to the German Diabetes Foundation, around 95 percent of all diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes. In 80 percent of the cases there is an additional obesity, severe overweight. Poor, high-fat and unhealthy nutrition creates insulin resistance in the body. The effectiveness of the hormone insulin is reduced. Scientists have recently discovered that a strict diet can even cure the disease if diabetes is detected early. However, most people find it difficult to replace old habits with a new healthy lifestyle. Many prefer to swallow pills with numerous side effects. Sufficient exercise and a drastic change in diet could prevent the constant use of medication in many cases.
Only about five percent of all those affected have type 1 diabetes. This type often occurs in childhood. Type 1 diabetes is comparable to an autoimmune disease because the immune system destroys its own cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin. Affected people have to inject insulin continuously throughout their lives. A cure is not possible. (ag)
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