Boosting Low-Dose Metformin with Astragalus Extract by Enhancing Gut Bacteria

Jim Crocker
5th June, 2024

Boosting Low-Dose Metformin with Astragalus Extract by Enhancing Gut Bacteria

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Capital Medical University found that APS-D1 from Astragalus membranaceus can enhance the effectiveness of low-dose metformin in treating type 2 diabetes
  • APS-D1 significantly improved inflammation markers and regulated gut bacteria, enriching beneficial bacteria like Staphylococcus lentus
  • The combination of APS-D1 and low-dose metformin boosts diabetes management by promoting beneficial metabolites like l-carnitine, improving blood glucose control and reducing side effects
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition affecting millions worldwide, characterized by elevated blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production. Conventional treatments often involve medications like metformin, which helps control blood sugar levels. However, there is growing interest in enhancing these treatments with natural substances to improve efficacy and reduce side effects. Researchers from Capital Medical University have recently explored the adjuvant potential of a specific polysaccharide derived from Astragalus membranaceus, known as APS-D1, in conjunction with low-dose metformin[1]. This study could pave the way for more effective and safer diabetes treatments. Astragalus membranaceus has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, primarily used to boost the immune system and improve overall health. Its primary bioactive component, Astragalus polysaccharide (APS), has been shown to possess numerous pharmacological properties, including immunomodulation, antioxidant, and antitumor activities[2][3]. The current study focuses on a purified form of APS, named APS-D1, to determine its potential as an adjuvant therapy for diabetes. The researchers purified APS-D1 using DEAE-52 cellulose and Sephadex G-100 column chromatography. They characterized its chemical structure through various methods, including molecular weight distribution, monosaccharide composition, infrared spectrum, methylation analysis, and NMR. The results revealed that APS-D1 has a molecular weight of 7.36 kDa and consists primarily of glucose, with smaller amounts of galactose and arabinose. In vivo experiments demonstrated that APS-D1 significantly improved inflammation markers such as TNF-α, LPS, and IL-10. More importantly, when combined with low-dose metformin, APS-D1 enhanced the drug's effectiveness without causing adverse effects. This combination therapy regulated several gut bacteria, notably enriching Staphylococcus lentus, which produces l-carnitine. This metabolite is known to improve diabetes outcomes by promoting fatty acid oxidation and inhibiting gluconeogenesis, processes critical in managing blood glucose levels. Previous studies have highlighted the potential of polysaccharides from various natural sources in treating diseases. For instance, polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus have shown immunomodulating, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective activities[4]. Similarly, APS from Astragalus membranaceus has demonstrated significant pharmacological actions, including immune regulation, anti-aging, and antiviral effects[2][3]. The current study builds on these findings by showing that APS-D1 can enhance the efficacy of conventional diabetes treatment, offering a promising new therapeutic strategy. The study's findings suggest that APS-D1, when used alongside low-dose metformin, can significantly improve diabetes management by modulating gut microbiota and enhancing the production of beneficial metabolites like l-carnitine. This approach not only boosts the effectiveness of metformin but also minimizes potential side effects, making it a safer alternative for long-term use. In summary, the research conducted by Capital Medical University provides compelling evidence that APS-D1 from Astragalus membranaceus can serve as an effective adjuvant therapy for type 2 diabetes. By enhancing the curative effects of low-dose metformin and promoting beneficial gut bacteria, this combination therapy offers a novel and promising approach to diabetes management.



Main Study

1) Structural characterization of Astragalus polysaccharide-D1 and its improvement of low-dose metformin effect by enriching Staphylococcus lentus.

Published 2nd June, 2024

Related Studies

2) A Review of the Pharmacological Action of Astragalus Polysaccharide.

3) Structural features and biological activities of the polysaccharides from Astragalus membranaceus.

4) Recent developments in Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides: extraction, purification, structural characteristics and biological activities.

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