Substance in liquorice root could help treat diabetes

Thu, 19 Apr 2012
A new study has found an anti-diabetic substance in liquorice root that could be used to treat complex metabolic disorders.

Scientists working at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin showed that amorfrutins, natural substances present in the edible root of the liquorice plant and also the fruit of the Amorpha fruticosa bush, a native of the US, Canada and Mexico, can lower blood sugar levels and act as an anti-inflammatory, making them hopeful it could be effective as a type 2 diabetes treatment.

Under laboratory conditions, the amorfrutins were shown to have characteristics that reduced blood sugar, and also prevent fatty liver, a disease resulting from eating too much fatty foods.

Study leader, Sascha Sauer, commented "The health-beneficial effects are based on the fact that the amorfrutin molecules dock directly onto a receptor in the nucleus called PPAR (gamma)." PPAR (gamma) is known to be crucial in how the cell metabolises fat and glucose.

Lowering the glucose levels provides a barrier to the development of insulin resistance, the main cause of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, the report also pointed out that eating liquorice or drinking liquorice tea will not actually help in the management of diabetes due to the concentration of amorfrutins being too far too low.
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