Did You Know…that a hormone found in plant and animals may help lower blood sugar levels?
We’ve got another promising treatment for diabetes on the horizon. Abscisic acid is a hormone found in both plants and mammals. In plants, abscisic acid plays a role in various developmental processes and protects against environmental stressors such as drought or severe cold. In animals, abscisic acid helps promote healthy cell function.
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, previous research has shown that abscisic acid exerts an anti-inflammatory effect and demonstrates potential as an advanced diabetes treatment. It’s also been shown to help control genes that regulate metabolism and cell signaling. With piqued interest, Italian researchers set out to discover the effects low doses of abscisic acid have on blood sugar and insulin levels in rats and humans.
What Science Shows
Researchers first tested the effects of abscisic acid in rats. They fed three groups of rats one of the following:
- Synthetic abscisic acid
- Abscisic acid-rich fruit extract
- A placebo
At the same time, the researchers gave the rats an oral glucose load. They then compared their glycemia profiles (concentration of sugar in the blood) and insulinemia profiles (concentration of insulin in the blood). An analysis of results revealed that abscisic acid lowered levels of both blood sugar and insulin in rats. Researchers then tested the effects of abscisic acid in humans. They gave either a placebo or an abscisic acid-rich fruit extract to participants, along with an oral glucose load or a standard breakfast and lunch. They compared blood sugar and insulin levels with and without abscisic acid, and found that abscisic acid lowered levels of both glucose and insulin in humans as well.
The results of both tests suggest that in lowering blood sugar, abscisic acid helps reduce chronic stimulation of beta cells that release insulin. This means it protects these cells from undue wear and tear so that they last longer and perform better.
Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, explains: “High blood sugar levels predict the later consequences of diabetes, and while this hormone may not be a cure for diabetes, it should prove very useful in helping to control progression of the disease.”
Researchers are quick to add that more abscisic acid studies aimed at the development of new pharmacologic approaches to diabetes treatment and prevention are warranted.
Eat Your Way to Health
It will be awhile before we see abscisic acid supplements on the shelf. In the meantime, you can eat your fair share of the hormone with a diet rich in raw vegetables and sprouts, and nuts and seeds. Foods particularly rich in abscisic acid include:
And these foods are terrific anti-cancer agents as well!