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Bioactive Brief: Investigating the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Compounds in Apples, Tea, and Ginger

February 02, 2016

Scientists from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, one of the research partners at the NC Research Campus, published a study this month in the journal Phytomedicine examining the prevention of diabetic complications from cytotoxic compounds and their anti-diabetic effects.

Shengmin Sang, PhD

Shengmin Sang, PhD

A compound called methylglyoxal can cause formation of advanced glycation-end products (AGEs) that become toxic to cells after reacting with amino acids. This reaction causes inflammation from oxidative stress, and exacerbates diabetes-related complications.

The NC A&T scientists together with scientists from Qatar University studied human retina epithelial cells to evaluate AGE formation and identify compounds from apples, tea, and ginger that most effectively reduce or prevent AGE formation. The polyphenols associated with apples, tea, and ginger are known to reduce the risk of cancer, hyperglycemia, and heart disease. The team from NC A&T and Qatar University focused on eight major bioactive compounds, looking to identify the exact cytoprotective mechanisms that inhibited AGE formation.

They found four of the compounds to be the most cytoprotective and least cytotoxic, most effectively preventing carbonyl stress in the retinal cells:

  • (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate (tea)
  • phloretin (apples)
  • 6-Gingerol (ginger)
  • 6-Shogaol (ginger)

As compared to a known therapeutic agent for reducing AGEs, aminoguanidine (AG), these four compounds effectively reduced blood glucose through promoting glucose metabolism in diabetics, showed antiglycation activity, and exhibited other unidentified anti-diabetic effects.

To read the full article, click here. For more on ginger and anti-diabetic effects, click here.

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