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Flavonoids for Diabetes?

Researchers investigate compounds which may improve and stabilize secretion of insulin…. 

Flavonoids are bioactive compounds found in fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and some vegetables that are thought to have molecular roles in cell development. More recently, research has focused on the use of flavonoids and related compounds for antidiabetic properties. Some evidence suggests that flavonoid compounds may improve and stabilize the secretion of insulin from pancreatic beta cells.

In a recent article, researchers pointed out that flavonoids have various functions that make them an ideal candidate for a novel antidiabetic treatment. Among diabetic animal models, flavonoids typically lead to reduced aldose reductase, regeneration of pancreatic beta cells, and increased insulin release. The authors term these "insulinomimmetic" activities of flavonoids, which are beneficial and desirable effects for diabetics.

The trouble with isolating flavonoids for novel antidiabetic treatment however, is that the compounds are poorly soluble and bioavailability would be lacking. Researchers hypothesize a nanoparticulate system for the purpose of flavonoid isolation in order to improve the solubility and enhance bioavailability and intestinal absorption. Development of such systems may result in creation of a novel class of antidiabetic drug with less toxicity than, fewer side effects than, and potential for synergism with, many of those currently existing antidiabetics on the market.

Practice Pearls:
  • Flavonoids are bioactive compounds found in plants that have been shown to enhance insulin release and regeneration of pancreatic beta cells.
  • Researchers are investigating flavonoids for novel antidiabetic treatment, via the use of nanoparticulate system for enhanced bioavailability.
  • Flavonoids may result in a new antidiabetic drug with less toxicity and potential for synergism with currently existing antidiabetics on the market.

Mohan, S., Nandhakumar, L. Role of various flavonoids: Hypotheses on novel approach to treat diabetes. Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas. 2014;8:1-6