An ingredient found in mulberries could help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, a study has revealed.
The fruit contains a compound called rutin that leads to fat reductio, boosts the metabolism and improves glucose levels, researchers in China have discovered.
This process occurs because rutin activates brown fat, which burns energy and produces heat unlike ordinary white fat.
The study, published in FASEB Journal, examined the impact of brown fat, also referred to as brown adipose tissue or BAT, on two groups of mice: one which was genetically obese; the second has diet-induced obesity.
Rutin was added to the drinking water of both groups during the experiment. There was improved glucose homeostasis – a balance of insulin and glucagon to maintain blood glucose – in both groups, and the researchers also concluded that the compound improved metabolic functions in the mice.
The researchers believe that rutin helps increase the activity of a gene called UCP1 and the number of mitochondria in brown fat. Therefore, it could offer a novel treatment approach to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Wan-Zhu Ji, study co-author from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: “The beneficial effects of rutin on BAT-mediated metabolic improvement have evoked a substantial interest in the potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases, such as diabetes.
“In line with this idea, discovery of more safe and effective BAT activators is desired to deal with obesity and its related diseases.”
Thoru Pederso, FASEB Journal Editor-In-Chief, said: “Unlike hibernating animals, we humans have only a small spot of brown fat, and yet its importance in human metabolism has only recently come into view.
“In this study, the philosophy of ancient Chinese medicine’s exploitation of plant materials has conjoined in the modern era with a very able physiology research team to evoke a promising lead.”

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