Aged Garlic Extract Helps Preserve Insulin-Producing Cells in Diabetes

Greg Howard
23rd May, 2024

Aged Garlic Extract Helps Preserve Insulin-Producing Cells in Diabetes

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study from SKUAST-Kashmir found that aged garlic extract (AGE) significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic rats
  • AGE did not improve insulin sensitivity but effectively managed post-meal blood sugar levels
  • AGE promoted the regeneration of pancreatic β-cells and prevented their death, potentially restoring insulin production
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is characterized by peripheral insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. A recent study conducted by Sher-E-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST-Kashmir) explored the therapeutic effects of aged garlic extract (AGE) on DM, with a focus on pancreatic β-cell functioning[1]. This research builds on existing knowledge about diabetes and its management, potentially offering new insights into alternative treatments. The study aimed to understand how AGE affects diabetes by examining its impact on specific biochemical pathways in a rat model induced with streptozotocin (STZ), a compound commonly used to induce diabetes in animals. The researchers employed various sophisticated techniques such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to characterize the AGE. They identified several bioactive compounds, including phenylalanine, alliin, and S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC), which are believed to contribute to AGE's therapeutic effects. One of the significant findings of the study was that AGE supplementation led to a notable reduction in blood glucose levels during the intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT), compared to the disease control group. However, the intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test (ITT) showed no significant difference in insulin sensitivity between the AGE group and the DM control group. This suggests that while AGE effectively lowers blood glucose levels, it does not significantly enhance peripheral insulin sensitivity. Interestingly, the study found that AGE did not significantly affect fasting glucose and serum insulin levels, but it did cause significant hypoglycemia in postprandial (after eating) blood glucose and insulin levels. This indicates that AGE may help manage blood sugar levels more effectively after meals, which is crucial for diabetes management. The research also delved into the molecular mechanisms behind AGE's effects. AGE was found to restore intracellular calcium levels by modulating the SERCA/Ca2+ pathway and inhibiting the NF-κB/TLR-4 pathway. These pathways are critical for maintaining pancreatic β-cell function and preventing apoptosis (cell death). The study showed that AGE interacts with and inhibits the DR-5/caspase-8/3 apoptotic complex, which is involved in the programmed cell death of pancreatic β-cells. Microscopic studies revealed that AGE supplementation led to the regeneration of pancreatic β-cells and inhibition of apoptotic pathways. This is particularly significant because the loss of functional β-cells is a hallmark of diabetes. By promoting β-cell regeneration and preventing their death, AGE could potentially help restore the body's ability to produce insulin. These findings are in line with previous studies that highlight the importance of managing diabetes through various means. For instance, a study from the National Noncommunicable Disease Monitoring Survey (NNMS) in India found that the prevalence of diabetes and impaired fasting blood glucose (IFG) is high among adults, with low levels of awareness, treatment, and control[2]. The NNMS study emphasized the need for multifaceted approaches, including better awareness and adherence to treatment, to combat diabetes effectively. The current research on AGE offers a potential new avenue for treatment that could complement existing strategies. Moreover, the findings from the AGE study could have implications for women with gestational diabetes, who are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life[3]. Increased awareness and early intervention, as suggested by the meta-analysis of cohort studies on gestational diabetes, could be enhanced by incorporating alternative therapies like AGE to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, the study from SKUAST-Kashmir presents promising evidence that aged garlic extract (AGE) can improve glucose homeostasis and promote pancreatic β-cell regeneration, offering a potential alternative therapy for diabetes mellitus. By targeting specific biochemical pathways, AGE could help manage diabetes more effectively, especially in conjunction with other treatment strategies.



Main Study

1) Aged garlic extract preserves beta-cell functioning via modulation of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB)/Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 and sarco endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA)/Ca2+ in diabetes mellitus.

Published 22nd May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment and Control of Diabetes in India From the Countrywide National NCD Monitoring Survey.

3) Type 2 diabetes mellitus after gestational diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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