Natural products as possible treatments for Type II Diabetes Mellitus and its complications
Farrar, Johnetta L.
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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by inherited and/or acquired deficiency in production of insulin by the pancreas, or by the ineffectiveness of the insulin that is produced. Such a deficiency results in increased concentrations of glucose in the blood, which in turn damages several physiological systems, in particular blood vessels and nerves. Recently compiled data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that approximately 150 million people have diabetes mellitus worldwide, and that this number may well double by the year 2025. Protein glycation, or the reaction of biological amines with reducing sugars to form a complex family of rearranged and dehydrated covalent adducts, is implicated in the formation of diabetic complications. Although some plant extracts have been shown to inhibit glycation, the effect of extracts of food products on protein glycation has not received significant attention. In this dissertation, the effect of ethanolic extracts of muscadine grapes, sorghum bran, and Japanese knotweed on protein glycation are investigated. A very high antioxidant capacity is common to these three products. These studies show that each of these strongly inhibit protein glycation. Possible mechanisms for this inhibition are scavenging of free radicals that are produced in abundance in a hyperglycemic state during protein glycation or the complexing of metal ions that mediate the glycation reaction. This research, therefore, supports the rationale to incorporate muscadine grapes, sorghum bran, and Japanese knotweed into “functional foods” as a preventive of the complications of diabetes.