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   Nov 09

Mexican herbal supplement helps type 2 diabetes mellitus

(foodconsumer.org) — Not so many food consumers are aware of aqueous extract of Annona macroprophyllata, a supplement that is commonly used in Mexico and other countries to help type 2 diabetes mellitus. But a new study confirms that this herbal supplement can indeed help treat diabetes by inhibiting a key enzyme that otherwise breaks down carbohydrate to release glucose and increase postprandial glycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

In the study published in BioMed Research International, the extract of Annona macroprophyllata was found to inhibit α-Glucosidase, which is released in intestines to help hydrolyze starch and other polysaccharides into monosaccharide glucose or blood sugar. In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, sugar cannot be metabolized easily due to insulin insensitivity leading to the development of hyperglycemia, which can damage cells and tissue and eventually cause cardiovascular disease and kidney disease among other complications if the condition is not well managed.

Inhibition of α-glucosidase is actually one strategy to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and drugs have been developed to inhibit this enzyme in the clinic to control blood glucose increase, especially postprandial, in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Unfortunately, these α-glucosidase inhibitors can cause side effects including abdominal distention, meteorism, flatulence, and diarrhea although they are very effective at inhibiting α-glucosidases.

Authors of the current study F. Brindis from Unidad de Biomedicina, Facultad de Estudios Superiores-Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico and colleagues cited previous research as indicating that these side effects can be caused by excessive inhibition of pancreatic α-amylase, leading to abnormal bacterial fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in gut microflora.

Some plants in the Annona genus have been used in folk medicine to treat diabetes mellitus already. The current study was intended to test an aqueous extract prepared from Annona macroprophyllata (Annonaceae, also known as A. diversifolia) leaves for its inhibitory effect on α-glucosidase in yeast and sucrose tolerance in Wistar rats.

The study shows that the extract inhibit “the yeast α-glucosidase with an IC50 = 1.18 mg/mL, in a competitive manner with a = 0.97 mg/mL, a similar value to that of acarbose ( = 0.79 mg/mL).” Acarbose is a drug that inhibits α-glucosidase. This result suggests that the herbal supplement is more potent than the antidiabetic medication. The extract was also found in rats to have an antihyperglycemic effect at doses of 100, 300 and 5000 mg/kg.

The study substantiates use of A. macroprophyllata in Mexico as a folk medicine to control postprandial glycemia in people with diabetes mellitus.

Something about Annona cited from the original study report.

Annonaceae is a family of plants consisting of 2300 to 2500 species included in more than 130 genera; in fact, it is the largest family of the order Magnoliales. Only four genera (Annona, Rollinia, Uvaria, and Asimina) produce edible fruits such as annona. Annona macroprophyllata Donn. Sm. is a species belonging to the Annona genus; it is a common tree in central México known as “ilama” (States of Colima, Guerrero, and México); whereas in the southeast (Tehuantepec region and Yucatán) it is called “papauce” or “anona blanca” . The fruits of this plant are used as food, but its leaves are employed as anticonvulsant, as well as analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents in traditional Mexican medicine.

In México, it has been reported the use of A. muricata, A. glabra, and A. cherimola as antidiabetic species, which suggested to us that A. macroprophyllata is an interesting species to study, since it may have the same metabolic pathways that synthesize the compounds as the other members of the genus and thus may show their therapeutic properties.

The researchers concluded “our results indicate that A. macroprophyllata aqueous extract has potent antihyperglycemic effect, and according to the in vitro studies it acts as a competitive inhibitor of the α-glucosidase.”

“This study provides scientific support to use A. macroprophyllata leaves in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of DM2 (type 2 diabetes mellitus).”


F. Brindis, M. E. González-Trujano, M. González-Andrade, E. Aguirre-Hernández, and R. Villalobos-Molina, “Aqueous Extract of Annona macroprophyllata: A Potential α-Glucosidase Inhibitor,” BioMed Research International, vol. 2013, Article ID 591313, 6 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/591313

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