As FoodFacts.com reports on new findings regarding the increase in Type 2 diabetes in our population, we always keep in mind that almost 400 million people worldwide are living with chronic diabetes – 90% of whom are suffering from Type 2 diabetes which is largely lifestyle-related. Today we read promising new information regarding the effects of the amino acid arginine as it relates specifically to the treatment of this common form of the condition.
New experiments conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen show that the amino acid arginine — found in a wide variety of foods such as salmon, eggs and nuts — greatly improves the body’s ability to metabolise glucose. Arginine stimulates a hormone linked to the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and works just as well as several established drugs on the market. The research findings have just been published in the scientific journal Endocrinology.
In new experiments, researchers from the University of Copenhagen working in collaboration with a research group at the University of Cincinnati, USA, have demonstrated that the amino acid arginine improves glucose metabolism significantly in both lean (insulin-sensitive) and obese (insulin-resistant) mice.
“In fact, the amino acid is just as effective as several well-established drugs for type 2 diabetics,” says postdoc Christoffer Clemmensen. He has conducted the new experiments based at Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. He is currently conducting research at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Centre for Environmental Health in Munich.
To test the effect of the amino acid arginine, researchers subjected lean and obese animal models to a so-called glucose tolerance test, which measures the body’s ability to remove glucose from the blood over time.
“We have demonstrated that both lean and fat laboratory mice benefit considerably from arginine supplements. In fact, we improved glucose metabolism by as much as 40% in both groups. We can also see that arginine increases the body’s production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an intestinal hormone which plays an important role in regulating appetite and glucose metabolism, and which is therefore used in numerous drugs for treating type 2 diabetes,” says Christoffer Clemmensen, and continues:
“You cannot, of course, cure diabetes by eating unlimited quantities of arginine-rich almonds and hazelnuts. However, our findings indicate that diet-based interventions with arginine-containing foods can have a positive effect on how the body processes the food we eat.”
The new findings provide optimism for better and more targeted drugs for treating type 2 diabetes; the outlook is long-term, but promising.
FoodFacts.com is always excited by the prospect that future treatments for Type 2 diabetes – and any other debilitating health condition – may actually become dietary in nature. Whole, fresh, natural foods contain the nutrients we need to help us maintain optimal health … and they may just prove to help our bodies in ways we are just beginning to realize.