Results of a recent animal study1 show that Pterocarpus marsupium extract lowers diabetic rats’ blood glucose and HbA1c levels while increasing their levels of insulin. The American Medical Association places the prevalence of diabetes in the North American population at 9.4%, making the study results noteworthy.
Water-soluble Pterocarpus marsupium extracts from the Indian Kino tree have long appeared in the Ayervedic armamentarium as a tool for controlling blood sugar. Practitioners would either soak pieces of the wood overnight in water to extract the actives, or have patients drink water from a tumbler made of the wood itself to deliver the water-soluble actives.
However, the molecular mechanism whereby the extracts exert their effects had heretofore remained uninvestigated. In this study, researchers administered two fractions of a Pterocarpus marsupium extract made by Sami Labs (the manufacturing arm of Sabinsa Corporation; East Windsor, NJ) at 2.5% and 5% to diabetic rats at doses of 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg body weight for 45 days.
Results pointed to the 200 mg/kg body weight dose of the 5% fraction as the most effective at generating pronounced reductions in blood glucose (95.65 mg/dL) and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (0.41 mg/g Hb) levels, as well as increases in plasma insulin (16.20 µU/mL) levels. It also altered the activities of key lipid-metabolism enzymes and significantly reverted lipid profiles in the diabetic rats to near-normal levels.
Further, researchers found the 200 mg/kg body weight dose of the 5% fraction reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and of interleukin-6 (IL-6) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), while also reducing protein expression and apoptotic markers, such as caspase-3 enzyme, in the hepatic tissue. Histological studies, such as improvement in pancreas and liver, supported the biochemical findings. Thus, the researchers conclude, “Pterocarpus marsupium could effectively reduce the inflammation and hyperglycemic condition in diabetic rats; hence, it could be a useful tool in the management of diabetes.”
These results also reinforce clinical trial results published earlier by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a research institute supported by the Indian government. Sami licensed-in the product and patents on an exclusive basis from ICMR.
- Leelavinothan P et al., “Molecular action of inflammation and oxidative stress in hyperglycemic rats: Effect of different concentrations of Pterocarpus marsupiums extract,” Journal of Dietary Supplements, vol. 0, no. 0 (October 5, 2017): 1-19