Preventing Diabetic Nerve and Brain Issues with Herbal Remedies

Jenn Hoskins
1st July, 2024

Preventing Diabetic Nerve and Brain Issues with Herbal Remedies

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by NUST focused on hyperglycemic mice to evaluate the benefits of Nigella sativa (NS) and Cassia angustifolia (CA) in preventing diabetes-related nervous system issues
  • Mice treated with NS and CA showed improvements in memory, reduced myelin loss, and better synaptic protein expression despite ongoing hyperglycemia
  • NS was particularly effective in preventing memory impairments, demyelination, and synaptic dysfunction, suggesting these herbs could help manage complications of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM)
Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, has become a global epidemic, with significant increases in incidence over the past century driven by changes in human behavior and lifestyle[2]. This rise in diabetes has also led to a surge in complications such as diabetic neuropathy, a condition characterized by pain and loss of sensory function in the lower extremities[3]. The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) recently conducted a study to evaluate the potential benefits of Nigella sativa (NS) and Cassia angustifolia (CA) in preventing diabetes-associated nervous system deficits in hyperglycemic mice[1]. The study focused on nodal regions, which are areas of intensive contact between Schwann cells and axons. These regions are particularly vulnerable to diabetes-induced changes due to their exposure to metabolic implications of diabetes. Insulin receptors, glucose transporters, Na+ and K+ channels, and mitochondria are abundant in these nodes, all of which have been linked to the development and progression of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) and cognitive impairment associated with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). The researchers at NUST developed a T1DM mouse model through Streptozotocin (STZ) injections to induce hyperglycemia. They then administered NS and CA immediately upon the induction of diabetes to evaluate their potential protective effects. Behavioral analysis, histopathological evaluations, and assessment of molecular biomarkers (NR2A, MPZ, NfL) were performed to assess neuropathy and cognitive impairment. The results were promising. Mice that received NS and CA showed improvements in memory, myelin loss, and the expression of synaptic proteins, despite retaining hyperglycemia. NS was particularly effective in preventing memory impairments, demyelination, and synaptic dysfunction. These findings suggest that incorporating these herbs into the diets of diabetic and pre-diabetic patients could reduce complications associated with T1DM, such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy and cognitive deficits. This study aligns with previous research indicating the need for effective management strategies to control diabetes and its complications. For example, the second National Diabetes Survey of Pakistan highlighted the urgent need for national strategies for early diagnosis and effective management of diabetes, given its epidemic proportions in the country[4]. Additionally, the global prevalence of diabetic neuropathy underscores the necessity for new approaches to prevent and treat this disorder[3]. The NUST study contributes to this body of knowledge by providing evidence that natural compounds like NS and CA can offer protective benefits against diabetes-related nervous system deficits. This is particularly relevant given the modest effects of glucose control in halting the progression of diabetic neuropathy in type 2 diabetes patients[3]. In summary, the NUST study offers a promising new avenue for the prevention and treatment of diabetes-associated complications using natural herbal products. By improving memory, reducing myelin loss, and enhancing synaptic protein expression, NS and CA could play a crucial role in managing the complications of T1DM. This research supports the need for integrated, international approaches to diabetes management and highlights the potential of natural compounds in mitigating the adverse effects of this widespread disease.



Main Study

1) Prevention of Chronic Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetes-Associated Cognitive Impairment Using Medicinal Herbs (Cassia Angustifolia and Nigella Sativa).

Published 1st July, 2024

Journal: The Yale journal of biology and medicine

Issue: Vol 97, Issue 2, Jun 2024

Related Studies

2) Global and societal implications of the diabetes epidemic.

Journal: Nature, Issue: Vol 414, Issue 6865, Dec 2001

4) Prevalence of diabetes, pre-diabetes and associated risk factors: second National Diabetes Survey of Pakistan (NDSP), 2016-2017.

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