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Diabetes Info

Lignans and Diabetes

17 million people--6.2 percent of the population--have diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can be associated with serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take measures to reduce the likelihood of such occurrences. Diet plays a great importance to those who are affected by diabetes. Below, is a sample of research articles that strongly suggest the health benefits of lignans (SDG) for those living with diabetes.

Important Scientific Research Regarding Lignans and Diabetes

Insulin-like biological activity of culinary and medicinal plant aqueous extracts in vitro.
Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemicals - March, 2000 Mar

Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson RA.

Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2350, USA.

To evaluate the possible effects on insulin function, 49 herb, spice, and medicinal plant extracts were tested in the insulin-dependent utilization of glucose using a rat epididymal adipocyte assay. Cinnamon was the most bioactive product followed by witch hazel, green and black teas, allspice, bay leaves, nutmeg, cloves, mushrooms, and brewer's yeast. The glucose oxidation enhancing bioactivity was lost from cinnamon, tea, witch hazel, cloves, bay leaf and allspice by poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) treatment, indicating that the active phytochemicals are likely to be phenolic in nature. The activity of sage, mushrooms, and brewers's yeast was not removed by PVP. Some products such as Korean ginseng, flaxseed meal, and basil have been reported to be effective antidiabetic agents; however, they were only marginally active in our assay. Our technique measures direct stimulation of cellular glucose metabolism, so it may be that the active phytochemicals in these plants improve glucose metabolism via other mechanisms or that this in vitro screening is not a reliable predictor of hypoglycemic effects in vivo for some products. In summary, the positive effects of specific plant extracts on insulin activity suggest a possible role of these plants in improving glucose and insulin metabolism.


Protective effect of secoisolariciresinol diglucoside against streptozotocin-induced diabetes and its mechanism.

Journal of Molecular Cell Biochemistry - March, 2000

Prasad K, Mantha SV, Muir AD, Westcott ND.

Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

OBJECTIVES: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated in the development of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes mellitus. Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) isolated from flaxseed is an antioxidant. An investigation was made of the effects of SDG on the development of STZ-induced diabetes in rat, to determine if SDG can prevent/reduce the development of diabetes and if this prevention/reduction is associated with reduction in oxidative stress. DESIGN AND METHODS: The rats were divided into 4 groups: Group I, Control; Group II, SDG (22 mg/kg body wt, orally) for 24 days; Group III, STZ (80 mg/kg intraperitoneally); Group IV, SDG in the dose similar to Group II three days prior to STZ and 21 days thereafter. Oxidative stress was assessed by measuring serum and pancreatic lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde (MDA), pancreatic antioxidant reserve (pancreatic-CL) and oxygen free radical producing activity of white blood cells (WBC-CL). A diagnosis of diabetes was made on the basis of glucosuria and was confirmed at the time of sacrifice (21 days after STZ treatment) by the presence of hyperglycemia. At the end of the protocol blood samples were collected for estimation of glucose, MDA and WBC-CL, and pancreas were removed for estimation of MDA and antioxidant reserve. RESULTS: Incidence of diabetes was 100% in Group III and 25% in Group IV. SDG prevented the development of diabetes by 75%. Development of diabetes was associated with an increase in serum and pancreatic MDA, and in WBC-CL, and a decrease in pancreatic antioxidant reserve. Prevention of diabetes by SDG was associated with a decrease in serum and pancreatic MDA and WBC-CL and an increase in pancreatic antioxidant reserve. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that STZ-induced diabetes is mediated through oxidative stress and that SDG is effective in reducing the STZ-induced diabetes mellitus.

Antioxidant Activity of Secoisolariciresinol Diglucoside-derived Metabolites, Secoisolariciresinol, Enterodiol, and Enterolactone.

Prasad K.

Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), an antioxidant isolated from flaxseed, is metabolized to secoisolariciresinol (SECO), enterodiol (ED), and enterolactone (EL) in the body. The effectiveness of SDG in hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis, diabetes, and endotoxic shock could be due to these metabolites. These metabolites may have antioxidant activity. However, the antioxidant activity of these metabolites is not known. The antioxidant activity of SECO, ED, and EL was investigated using chemiluminescence (CL) of zymosan-activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs) [PMNL-CL]. Other antioxidants (SDG and vitamin E) were also used for comparison. SDG, SECO, ED, EL, and vitamin E, each in the concentration of 0.5, 1.0, 2.5, 5.0 and 10.0 mg/ml, produced a concentration-dependent reduction in zymosan-activated PMNL-CL. SDG, SECO, ED, EL, and vitamin E, in the concentration of 2.5 mg/ml, produced a reduction of zymosan-activated PMNL-CL by 23.8%, 91.2%, 94.2%, 81.6% and 18.7%, respectively. Activated PMNLs produce reactive oxygen species and luminol-dependent CL reflects the amount of oxygen species generated from activated PMNLs. The reduction of PMNL-CL, therefore, reflects the antioxidant activity of the compounds studied. These results suggest that the metabolites of SDG have antioxidant activity. The antioxidant activity was highest with SECO and ED and lowest with vitamin E. The antioxidant potency of SECO, ED, EL, and SDG was 4.86, 5.02, 4.35, and 1.27 respectively, as compared to vitamin E. SECO, ED and EL are respectively 3.82, 3.95, and 3.43 more potent than SDG.

Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition - September, 1999

Simopoulos AP.

Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Washington, DC 20009 cgnh@bellatlantic.net

Human beings evolved consuming a diet that contained about equal amounts of n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acids. Over the past 100-150 y there has been an enormous increase in the consumption of n-6 fatty acids due to the increased intake of vegetable oils from corn, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cottonseed, and soybeans. Today, in Western diets, the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids ranges from approximately 20-30:1 instead of the traditional range of 1-2:1. Studies indicate that a high intake of n-6 fatty acids shifts the physiologic state to one that is prothrombotic and proaggregatory, characterized by increases in blood viscosity, vasospasm, and vasoconstriction and decreases in bleeding time. n-3 Fatty acids, however, have antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, antiarrhythmic, hypolipidemic, and vasodilatory properties. These beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids have been shown in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and, in some patients with renal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Most of the studies were carried out with fish oils [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)]. However, alpha-linolenic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, rapeseed, and walnuts, desaturates and elongates in the human body to EPA and DHA and by itself may have beneficial effects in health and in the control of chronic diseases.