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Diabetes: the blood glucose-lowering effects of an Asian algae

ecklonia Two new studies have demonstrated positive findings for the control of diabetes. Incidence of this chronic disease has been on the rise in recent years, such that many research laboratories now consider it a key priority1. Two teams of scientists recently demonstrated blood sugar-lowering effects for a type of brown seaweed well-known in Asia called Ecklonia cava. Read on to learn more about their research and the dual action of this Asian algae.

Controlling blood sugar by inhibiting neoglucogenesis

In April 2017, a study published in the scientific journal Marine Drugs highlighted the powerful, blood sugar-lowering effect of the algae Ecklonia cava2. The team of Korean scientists behind the study showed that the compounds in this Asian algae inhibited the activity of two enzymes involved in neoglucogenesis, a sequence of metabolic reactions that results in the production of glucose in the body. They found that by inhibiting the enzymatic activity of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose-6-phosphatase, the compounds in Ecklonia cava helped to control blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of hyperglycaemia. According to the researchers, this anti-diabetic action is linked to the presence in Ecklonia cava' of powerful polyphenols called phlorotannins and more specifically, phloroglucinol. Widely-studied, this natural nutrient offers significant therapeutic potential.

Controlling post-prandial glycaemia by influencing sugar digestion

As well as regulating glycaemia by inhibiting neoglucogenesis, the phloroglucinol in Ecklonia cava helps control post-prandial glycaemia – the amount of glucose in the blood following a meal. In diabetics, post-prandial hyperglycaemia has a tendency to persist. A study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology showed that the phloroglucinol in Ecklonia cava controlled post-prandial glycaemia by inhibiting enzymes involved in sugar digestion3. To confirm this blood sugar-lowering action, the researchers compared the effects of phloroglucinol supplementation with those of acarbose, a drug used to treat diabetes. Blood tests showed that the phloroglucinol had a greater inhibitory effect than the acarbose. These new findings therefore suggest that the Asian algae Ecklonia cava could be used to control post-prandial hyperglycaemia in diabetics.

These two new studies support the findings of previous research into the anti-diabetes effects of Ecklonia cava. They suggest this Asian algae could be used to control blood sugar through its inhibition of both neoglucogenesis and sugar digestion enzymes. These promising results also confirm the considerable therapeutic potential of Ecklonia cava. Studied for its benefits in diabetes control, this algae is also attracting scientific interest for its potential role in the cardiovascular system, brain, immune defences and joints. Its many therapeutic virtues are now available from the SuperSmart catalogue in the form of the nutritional supplement Ecklonia cava Extract.

> Sources :
1. Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS), Diabète, Aide-mémoire N°312, Juillet 2017, www.who.int
2. Yoon JY, Choi H, Jun HS, The Effect of Phloroglucinol, A Component of Ecklonia cava Extract, on Hepatic Glucose Production, Mar Drugs, 5 avril 2017, 15(4).
3. Lee HA, Lee JH, Han JS, A phlorotannin constituent of Ecklonia cava alleviates postprandial hyperglycemia in diabetic mice, Pharm Biol, Décembre 2017, 55(1):1149-1154.
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