AsianScientist (Aug. 9, 2012) – Ginger, an ancient Asian remedy and common spice, may help manage the high levels of blood sugar which create complications for long-term diabetic patients, says a new report.
The study, published this month in the journal Planta Medica, reveals the potential power of ginger to control blood glucose by using muscle cells.
University of Sydney Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Basil Roufogalis who led the research says ginger extracts obtained from Buderim Ginger were able to increase the uptake of glucose into muscle cells independently of insulin.
“This assists in the management of high levels of blood sugar that create complications for long-term diabetic patients, and may allow cells to operate independently of insulin,” said Roufogalis.
“Under normal conditions, blood glucose level is strictly maintained within a narrow range, and skeletal muscle is a major site of glucose clearance in the body.”
The researchers extracted whole ginger rhizomes obtained from Buderim Ginger and showed that that one fraction of the extract was the most effective in reproducing the increase in glucose uptake by the whole extract in muscle cells grown in culture.
Analysis showed this fraction was rich in gingerols, the major phenolic components of the ginger rhizome, particularly the - and -gingerols.
The team showed that the gingerols increased glucose uptake through an increase in the surface distribution of the protein GLUT4. When the protein localises on the surface of muscle cells it allows transport of glucose into cells.
In type 2 diabetic patients, the capacity of skeletal muscle to uptake glucose is markedly reduced due to impaired insulin signal transduction and inefficiency of the GLUT4.
“It is hoped that these promising results for managing blood glucose levels can be examined further in human clinical trials,” Roufogalis said.
Source: University of Sydney.
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