Diabetes

New study shows Rhodiola rosea root might be beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes

“Characterized by insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent endocrine disease in the world today, responsible for more than $200 billions of healthcare costs annually in the U.S. alone,” says corresponding author Mahtab Jafari, UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “Our findings show Rhodiola rosea might be beneficial for treating this disease and is a good candidate for further investigation.” Credit: Steve Zylius / UCI

University of California, Irvine researchers discovered that treatment with an extract taken from the roots of Rhodiola rosea plants might be effective in managing type 2 diabetes. This suggests that it could be a safe and effective nonpharmaceutical option.

The study was published online in recent days. Scientific ReportsResearchers found that Rhodiola rosea, in a mouse model for human type 2 diabetes, lowered fasting sugar levels, increased insulin sensitivity, modulated bacteria composition, and decreased inflammation.

“The incidence of type 2 diabetes has increased steadily over the past decade, as have associated health costs. Our study shows that Rhodiola rosea, a plant and natural product used by humans to treat disease, is a good candidate for further research,” Dr. Mahtab Jafari (UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences), was the corresponding author. “Current treatment recommendations include lifestyle modifications as well as intravenous medication and oral medications. These drugs can have serious side effects or limitations, which makes it more important to find new therapeutic options.

To test whether Rhodiola rosea can improve glucose homeostasis, the team used a genetically engineered mouse model with obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar. This is similar to advanced human type 2. The study involved a group of male and female mice who were age-matched. They were randomly assigned to one or both of two groups: experimental, which received Rhodiola Rosea extract, or control.

Jafari stated that Rhodiola rosea may be beneficial in treating type 2 diabetes. This is because it acts through changes in the microbiome, which results in increased gut barrier integrity. Also, inflammatory molecules are less likely to be transferred into the bloodstream. “Gut barrier integrity is important for body weight and insulin response. This botanical product may improve liver and muscle responses to insulin produced from the pancreas.

The next steps for the team are to conduct a larger study in a mouse model of obesity-induced diabetics to confirm their findings and to examine the molecular mechanisms. Jafari hopes that Rhodiola rosea clinical trials will be conducted in patients with type-2 diabetes.

“Our research supports the importance of high-quality preclinical studies that are based on sound methods to evaluate the efficacy and safety of standardized plant extracts. Jafari stated that we have set the stage to conduct human clinical trials with the ultimate goal to improve the health outcomes of type 2 diabetes patients.

The team consisted of students and faculty from UCI, UCI Health, and Brigham Young University in Provo (UT).


Type 1 diabetes patients are more likely than ever to be obese.


More information:
Mahtab Jafari and colleagues, The impact Rhodiola rosea biomarkers of diabetes, inflammation and microbiota in a mouse model with leptin receptor-knockout mice model Scientific Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-14241-7

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University of California Irvine


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A new study suggests Rhodiola rosea root could be beneficial in managing type-2 diabetes (2022, August 15).
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