New Weapon Against Diabetes? Understanding dahlia’s role in controlling blood sugar levels
Dahlias are much more than just beautiful symmetrical flowers. A new study pinpoints the petals of dahlias as a source of three molecules that may considerably improve blood sugar regulation in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
One of the molecules, butein, is a dietary flavonoid that could reduce brain inflammation and eventually improve blood sugar levels. The other two boost its efficacy.
A whopping 96 million Americans have prediabetes and another 37.3 million have diabetes, according to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC). The World Health Organisation says diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2019.
Uncontrolled diabetes can cause heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness and even lower limb amputation. Continual monitoring, lifestyle changes and insulin or drugs known to help with blood sugar regulation, therefore, are necessary.
The realisation that dahlias might be the source of butein was random, according to study author Dr Alexander Tups. The researchers then formulated an extract containing the molecule and tested it successfully on mice.
Next, a collaboration with plant chemistry experts led them to the other two molecules that could make butein more effective. It was later determined in a preclinical setting that all three molecules will be necessary for better blood sugar regulation.
The extract, when tested on humans, was effective and produced no observed side effects. The researchers have since patented their discovery, published the promising findings and brought a product for improving blood sugar regulation to the market called Dahlia4.
But the US Food and Drug Administration is yet to evaluate it.