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Herbal Remedy Promising Against Diabetes

Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2006

The purified plant extract berberine, can reduce weight and improve glucose control.

The results of murine studies indicate that berberine, a purified plant extract, can reduce body weight and improve glucose tolerance, possibly by stimulating AMP-activated protein kinase activity, a multicenter group of researchers report.

Senior investigator Dr. Jae B. Kim of Seoul National University in Korea told Reuters Health that earlier work suggests "berberine, one of the major components of oriental medicinal herbs, has beneficial effects on obesity and diabetes."

To investigate the underlying of activity of berberine, the researchers used two different rodent model systems as well as cell line experiments. The findings are reported in the August issue of Diabetes.

In obese and diabetic mice given berberine, body weight was reduced and there was a significant improvement in glucose tolerance with no alteration in food intake. Berberine also reduced body weight and plasma triglycerides and improved insulin action in Wistar rats given a high-fat diet.

In further experiments, the team found that berberine activates AMP kinase in both adipocytes and myocytes and induces a variety of metabolic effects apparently associated with AMP kinase activation.

"All the data," continued Dr. Kim, "were quite consistent in supporting the idea that berberine is effective in increasing fat burning, while it is also capable of decreasing fat synthesis."

Given these findings, co-researcher Dr. David E. James of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia added that "follow-up studies in people are definitely worthwhile."



Source: Diabetes In Control: Diabetes 2006;55:2256-2264

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