A new study found that a little-known natural product could help those with type 2 diabetes. And, as we all know, that is not a small number.
It’s called “emodin,” and it’s a natural product that can be extracted from various Chinese herbs, including “Rheum palmatum” and “Polygonum cuspidatum.” It shows promise as an agent that could reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes.
It’s still a bit early here, but the news is well worth sharing. The study in question is published in this month’s edition of the “British Journal of Pharmacology”. It showed that giving emodin to mice with obesity lowered blood glucose and insulin, improved insulin resistance, and led to healthier levels of cholesterol in the blood. It also lowered body weight and reduced central fat mass.
If these effects are possible in humans, all of these changes would be extremely beneficial for people affected by type 2 diabetes or other serious diseases associated with insulin resistance.
Research is increasingly showing that an enzyme — “11β-HSD1” — plays a role in the body’s response to sugar found in a person’s diet. When someone eats sugar-containing food, a heavy dose of glucose floods into the bloodstream. In response, the body releases insulin. This hormone triggers various actions that help to clear excess glucose from the blood. The body, however, also has another set of hormones, known as “glucocorticoids”, which have the opposite effect to insulin. Here is where 11β-HSD1 fits in, because this enzyme increases glucocorticoids’ ability to act.
This study is the first to show that emodin can stop the actions of 11β-HSD1, effectively limiting the effect of the glucocorticoids. This, in turn, lessens the symptoms of diabetes and improves insulin resistance.
It’s another great study for Traditional Chinese Medicine, which uses countless herbs for a wide variety of purposes. This new Chinese herbal extract might help point the way to a new way of helping people with type 2 diabetes, and other problems such as obesity and high cholesterol. Stay tuned for more on this great new possibility. There are a lot of answers waiting to be found in the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine.